Matthew MULLANE - Tokyo College


Research Field History of art and architecture, Global history Website
01 Description of Research

I am a historian of architecture and through the study of buildings and their contexts, I strive to redefine the problematics of “global history” from an East Asian perspective. While at Tokyo College, my central research project historicizes and theorizes the creation of “world architecture history” as a distinct field of history and design in Japan during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I am particularly interested in the ways that architects, scientists, philosophers, and imperial bureaucrats used architectural objects to confront and solve difficult epistemological problems associated with making global history. For example, how does one know causality over such long distances and time spans? How does one’s perspective in the present affect the ways that the past is interpreted? And how can you train common people to recognize themselves as actors in global history? My research reveals the novel ways that figures in Meiji-era Japan used buildings new and old to answer these questions and create knowledge that secured their country and its empire a place in world history. In addition to this project, I am currently preparing a book chapter on the Japanese reception of racially prejudiced theories of world history from Europe, an article on the history of reconstruction in Japanese architecture from a globally comparative perspective, and a second book project dedicated to the history of “expression” in Japanese art and architecture.

My interest in global history also extends to contemporary political and environmental issues that impact us at a global scale. Through my experience organizing conferences, book projects, and working with the History of Building Habitat group based in Japan, I believe that global history can only aid us if it is exercised through interdisciplinary and cross-media collaboration. I look forward to continuing this type of collaboration with scholars at Tokyo College.

02 Short Biography

2022- Assistant Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at Radboud University
2021-2022 Postdoctoral Fellow, Tokyo College
2020-2021 Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
2019-2020 Postdoctoral Fellow, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University
2019 PhD in Architecture History and Theory, School of Architecture, Princeton University
2012 MA in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2009 BA in Art History, Hiram College

03 Publications and Other Research Activities

(Forthcoming, 2022) “A World of Errors: James Fergusson’s Histories and Their Critics in Japan” in World Histories of Architecture: The Emergence of a New Genre in the Nineteenth Century (The MIT Press), edited by Petra Brouwer, Martin Bressani and Christopher Drew Armstrong.

(Forthcoming, 2022) “Termites, Torii, and the Un-Making of Japanese Colonial Architecture,” Journal of Architecture, Special issue on “Un-Making Architecture,” eds., Elizabeth Petcu and Jason Nguyen

(Forthcoming, 2021) “The Lab and the Nation: Kenzo Tange and Japanese Architecture Education” in Radical Pedagogies (The MIT Press), edited by Beatriz Colomina, Anna-Maria Meister, Evangelos Kotsioris, Federica Vannucchi and Ignacio G. Galan.

2020 “World of Boundaries: A Conversation with Nakatani Norihito,” Log 49 (2020).
2018 “The Cryptoshed,” in Log 43 (2018), 53-57.
2017 “Mysteries at the Warehouse: Tokyo’s Archi-Depot,” in Log 39 (2017), 39-43.
2016 “Hendrik Christian Andersen’s World Conscience,” in AA Files 73 (2016), 40-47.
2016 “The Alien Anxieties of Tokyo’s Olympic Architecture” in Art Papers (2016), 19-23.
2015 “The Architectural Fossil: James Fergusson, Geology and World History,” in Architectural Theory Review 20.1 (2015), 46-66.