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The 'Fusion of Horizon's': affect and the learning subject in architectural history and theory

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 05:33 authored by Van den Berg, K, Loo, S, Stuart KingStuart King

This paper is part of an on-going research project at the University of Tasmania where the School of Architecture & Design contains a significant cohort of culturally and linguistically diverse students who are engaging (often for the first time) with the interpretation of historical and theoretical themes and applying them to design. This paper argues that an understanding of affect and how it can contribute to critical literacies in this context is essential to enable students to interpret different cultural worlds.

Recent 'affectual turns' in other disciplines force a reassessment of the 'learning subject' within architecture and design. Affect has been extensively theorized in relation to education since the 1950s, and foreign language learning, where students develop a sense of their own identity or "voice" in a second language, and confidence in using it to communicate with others (Brown, 1987). Affectual understanding differs from 'subject-centred' cognitive understanding as it eschews the dualist model of the learning subject (the learner as an internal tabula rasa to be inscribed with external knowledge (Gadamer cited in Snodgrass and Coyne, 2006).

Affectual learning, takes on new partners from the edges of subjectivity, resulting in different relations between the human, society and architecture, which according to Thrift, "constructs new forms of empathy, enabling identification with 'another'" (2006). Cognition and emotion are thus engaged simultaneously to produce richer discursive engagements in history and theory of architecture and design.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia


H Elkadi, L Xu and J Coulson






School of Architecture and Design


School of Architecture & Building, Deakin University

Place of publication

Geelong, Australia

Event title

Architecture @ the Edge

Event Venue

Geelong, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2011 Deakin University

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives


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