Learning from Rome

Author: School of Architecture

The School of Architecture recently hosted a two-day colloquium, “Learning from Rome: The Influence of the Eternal City on Art, Architecture, and the Humanities.” Scholars from the School of Architecture, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Department of English, Department of Art, Art History and Design, and the Department of History celebrated forty years of academic programs in Rome and discussed how the Rome experience remains an essential pillar of each curriculum. 

Architecture historian Ingrid Rowland, a School of Architecture professor currently teaching in Rome, delivered the keynote address. She began by explaining that she had only recently figured out why she loves Rome: “Rome is like the hoarders you hear more and more about. Rome is a city that doesn’t throw anything away. It has survived millennia and can’t bear to throw anything away.” After her keynote, Rowland signed copies of the new publication The Vatican and Saint Peter’s Basilica of Rome, for which she wrote the forward. 

Professor Samir Younés spoke on “Rome and Enduringness,” examining the many ways that the city prompts aesthetic appropriation—from inciting desire for beautiful forms to mythologizing forms to urbane possession. Professor Robin Rhodes discussed another kind of “possessing” Rome, giving a talk on “The Grand Tour and Interdisciplinary Studies in Rome.” “The Grand Tour,” Rhodes pointed out, “provides a physical context for bridging the past and the present—walking the city is a means of making antiquity and the classics real in a way mere reading never can.” 

Additional speakers included Ted Cachey, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; Joseph Buttigieg, Department of English; and Robert Randolf Coleman, Art, Art History & Design.