The canon and the void: Gender, race, and architectural history texts

Meltem Ö Gürel, Kathryn H. Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Architectural history books play a significant role in conveying the culture, norms, and values of the architectural discipline to newcomers. In recent years, numerous publications have spotlighted the importance of women and African Americans as critics, creators, and consumers of the built environment. Yet, to what extent is this recent discourse on gender and racial issues included in architectural history texts? And how gender or racially inclusive are they? Are twenty-first-century architectural educators presenting newly uncovered architectural histories from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Building upon prior research, this article seeks to address these issues by examining history texts currently assigned at fourteen leading architectural schools accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. In textbooks with multiple editions, we compared relevant information in both earlier and later versions. Our analysis of these history texts revealed that contributions of women remain only marginally represented in the grand narrative of architecture. And for the most part, African Americans are omitted altogether. We challenge authors to reassess the next generation of architectural history texts and suggest ways to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Architectural Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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