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Why study the architecture of the colonial and early republican United States? Because it illuminates processes that made the modern world.

This website contains research done in fall 2012 by students in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University in the course ARC337/637.  In this architectural history elective we study FACTORIES and PLANTATIONS to contrast industrial and agricultural modernizations, exploring the lives of workers and capitalists, slaves and masters; of African‐Americans, women, and immigrants alongside those of founders and elites. We investigate Foucault’s theories of DISCIPLINE and BIOPOLITICS by visiting buildings that made space an instrument of power and control. With Occupy Wall Street in mind, we revisit UTOPIA and the architecture of DISSENT.

The course features SITE VISITS to a water‐powered mill, a Federalist plantation house, Underground Railroad stations, the nation’s longest‐lasting utopian community, and one of the world’s first penitentiaries as we explore national history through regional landmarks. Coursework combines academic research with SOCIAL MEDIA as forums for discussing and interpreting architecture. We generate and publish our interpretations via blogs, wikis, online maps, and social media apps, creating entries for a selective and imaginative HISTORICAL ATLAS OF UPSTATE NEW YORK.

Banner showing landmarks from the courseFor more information, please comment on the blog or email me via jmassey [at]

— Jonathan Massey, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, Syracuse University