IASTE 1998 Conference Description


Conference Description
Amidst the monotony of global high capitalism, there is an increasing demand for built environments that promise unique cultural experiences. Many nations are resorting to heritage preservation, the invention of tradition, and the rewriting of history as forms of resistance against the homogenizing forces of modernity and globalization.  While this interest in local heritage may have been initiated during the era of colonialism, it was principally forged in the crucible of the independence struggles. In its early years, the nation-building enterprise generated a demand for historic monuments and symbolic buildings. Today, as these recently independent nations complete in an ever-tightening global economy, they find themselves needing to exploit their natural resources and vernacular built heritage to attract international investors. Tourism development has consequently intensified, producing entire communities that cater to almost wholly to, or are even inhabited year-round by, the “other.”

Understanding both heritage preservation and tourism development requires a contextual grounding in history and political economy. For example, studies of colonial urbanism have provided us with valuable insights into the politics of how heritages are defined and preserved. Similarly, the macro-economy of global production and investment provide a critical backdrop to the dynamics of tourism. This economy has generated consumers seeking “difference” and “hospitality” as economic goods,  as well as suppliers who make their living catering to this demand.

What does this mean for the study of the built environment? Although both the First and the Third Worlds may have equally strong desires to share in the culture of the “other, their approaches to conservation and development are not similarly motivated. The Third World, on one hand, attempts to emulate the “progress” of the First World and to adopt its developmental practices, but wishes to do so without the consequent destabilization of its local cultures. The First World, on the other hand, appears more interested in consuming the cultures and environments of Third World societies, and often advocates their preservation as part of a larger universal built heritage.

IASTE has always been dedicated to studying traditional dwellings and settlements as a means of exploring the conflicts brought about by the necessity of adaptation and change. Once again, it invites specialists from such disciplines as architecture, art history, anthropology, archaeology, folklore,  geography, history, planning, sociology, urban studies, and related areas to propose papers and panels which address the following themes:


  • The role of the state and institutions of civil society in the politics and discourses of preservation and conservation
  • Invocations of vernacular tradition in the architecture of new tourism development and the uses of culture in the development of new communities
  • The preservation of the vernacular built environment and traditional lifestyles in the project of development
  • The rise of multiculturalism as a new paradigm in social practice and the resulting struggles over urban form
  • Invocations of ethnicity, nationalism, and religion as mechanisms of resistance against global commodification
  • Built environments as simulated representations of the historic and cultural Other
  • Transformations in traditional urban settings: Global forces and local trends


  • Sustainable tourism development and the possibilities of ecologically sensitive architecture
  • Globalization, the emergence of an information society, and the rise of placeless cultures
  • Invocations of tradition in the practice and pedagogy of architecture
  • Vernacular sets: The built environment as prop for staged events
  • Tourism development: Ideology and myth making
  • The appearance and realities of ecotourism
  • Changes in traditional rituals as a consequence of tourism

Interested colleagues are invited to submit short, 500 word (one page, single-spaced) abstract accompanied by a one-page curriculum vitae. Authors should specify one of the above session topics for their paper. Proposals for complete panels and poster sessions are also welcome. All papers must be written and presented in English.

Following a blind peer-review process, papers may be accepted for presentation and/or publication. Contributors whose abstracts are accepted will be asked to prepare a full-length paper (20-25 pages, double-spaced including diagrams, photographs and drawings), and to pay conference registration fees in the amount of US $300 (hotel accommodations, travel, and optional excursions will not be covered by registration fees).

Deadline for receipt of abstracts and CV: February 15, 1998
Notification of accepted abstracts for conference presentation: April 15, 1998
Deadline for registration &  receipt of papers for possible publication in the IASTE Working Paper Series: Sept 15, 1998
Conference dates: December 15-19, 1998

Under the auspices of Dr Farouk Ismail, President, Cairo University, Honorary Conference Chair

Nezar AlSayyad, Conference Director, University of California, Berkeley
Dalila El-Kerdany, Conference Local Co-Director, Cairo University, Egypt
Jean Paul Bourdier, Conference Co-Director, University of California, Berkeley
Ananya Roy, Conference Executive Coordinator, University of California, Berkeley
Nora Watanabe, Conference Administrator, University of California, Berkeley
Nassamat Abdel Kader, Conference Consultant, Cairo University, Egypt
Sayed Ettouney, Conference Consultant, Cairo University, Egypt
Basil Kamel, Conference Liaison, University of California, Berkeley/Cairo University, Egypt

Hisham Amr Bahgat; Gamal Bakry, CG; Mohsen Barada, FURP, Medhat Dorrah, SPACE; Samir Gharib, CDF;  Zaki Hawwas, Ain Sham University; Abdel Baki Ibrahim, CAPS; Bernard O’Kane, AUC; Magda Metwally, GOGBPR; Amr Noema, CU; Ali Raffat, CU; Huda Sakr, GOPP; Mohamad Sameh, CU; Zakia Shafie, CU; Mohsen Zahran, Alexandria University.

Tarek Abu Zekry, Dieter ACkernecht, Nadia Al-Hasani, Saleh Al-Hathloul, Mohammed Awad, William Bechhoefer, Juan Fernando Bontempo, Hugh Burgess, Giancarlo Cataldi, Pierre Clement, Jefferey Cook, Howard Davis, Aly Gabr, Vivienne Japha, Mui Ho, Anne Hublin, Heng Chye Kiang, A nthony King, Done Krueckberg, Michael Landzelius, Morna Livingstone, Robert Mugerauer, Paul Oliver, Attilio Petruccioli, Marcela Pizzi, Ahmad Refaat, Shahdan Shabka, Manuel Teixeira, Gunawan Tjahjono, Naila Toulon, Dell Upton, Tarek Waly, Carol Martin Watts, Donald Watts, John Webster.

Cairo University (Office of the President/Department of Architecture;
Ministry of Higher Education; Ministry of Culture; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Housing and New Communities, Arab Republic of Egypt; University of California, Berkeley (Center for Environmental Design Research/ Center for Middle Eastern Studies); Cultural Development Fund, Cairo; Mohandes Bank, Cairo; Med Tours, Cairo; General Organization for Physical Planning, Cairo; The Architecture Committee, High Council for Culture, Cairo; CPC Contractors, Cairo; Arab Contractors Company, Cairo; Office of his Excellency, Mohamad Said Farsi, Jeddah; Arab Urban Development Institute, Riyadh.

The conference will be held at the Hotel Sofitel Maadi, Cairo, Egypt. In order to avail of special conference rates, hotel reservations- accompanied by full payment will have to be made with the designated travel agent by September 1, 1998. Additional excursions to Sinai (St. Catherine’s) and the Red Sea (Sharm el Sheikh) and/or Nile cruises from Luxor to Aswan will also be available at IASTE starting February, 1998.

Send all inquiries to:
IASTE ’98 Conference, Center for Environmental Design Research
390 Wurster Hall, University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1839, USA
Phone: 510.642.6801/510.642.2896
Fax: 510.643.5571

E-mail: iaste@ced.berkeley.edu