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Aaron White

Aaron White is a PhD candidate in Architectural History at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He holds an MA in Architecture from Pratt Institute, where he was awarded the Stanley Katz Award for design excellence; and a BA in Architecture from the University of Idaho. His research focuses on the history of seventeenth-century English architecture, particularly in its relation to colonization efforts in Ireland and North America. His writing has appeared in AD, CLOG, Studio, Urban Omnibus, Think Space Pamphlets, and The Building (Lars Müller, 2017). He currently teaches at Tufts University.

Classicism and Colonization: Architecture and its Discourses in Early-Modern England

This dissertation examines links between architectural and colonial discourse in order to provide a new account of England’s fascination with the all’antica manner in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. I argue that the allure of classicism during this period was directly related to imperial ambitions awakened by the consolidation of the Scottish and English crowns.

Seeking models for their nascent empire, architects and colonial “planters” looked to their own history as a Roman colony. Shared references to antiquity facilitated an unprecedented commerce between artistic and political discourse. Architects in England and colonizers abroad both fashioned themselves as the “new Romans,” reconceiving English identity as a product of Britain’s former subjugation. While classicism provided newly required symbols of empire, it also challenged traditional notions of “Englishness,” embroiling architects in cultural, political, and religious debates that transformed architecture and the status of architects.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6770‑1 Fall 2018
The Arts of Empire: Culture and Colonization in Early Modern England
Aaron White
300 Avery Hall
TU 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Full Semester
3 Points