As part of the Chicago Schools international graduate student symposium, architectural historian Gwendolyn Wright will deliver the keynote talk, Mapping Chicago History: Looking for Clarity and Complexity.

Gwendolyn Wright is Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP where, in 1985, she was the first woman to receive tenure. She also holds appointments in Columbia's departments of history and art history. She received her M.Arch. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. Academic awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Getty Fellowship, and election to the Society of American Historians which honors literary quality.

Wright has focused principally on American architecture and urbanism from the late-nineteenth century to the present day. She has also written extensively about transnational exchanges, especially colonial and more recent neo-colonial aspects of both modernism and historic preservation. She is the author of six books and many articles.

Her most recent book is USA: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion Books/University of Chicago Series, 2008), which recasts established ideas about American modernism by highlighting key shifts and conflicts about work, homes and public life from 1865 to the present. Architecture and the entire built environment provide a matrix that interweaves social norms and individual imaginations, high art and popular culture, prevailing conditions and visions of change.

Image: Sigfried Giedion's lecture slide of the Gage Group Buildings by Holabird and Roche. A facade by Louis Sullivan graces the rightmost structure. (Image source: gta archives/ETH Zurich [Estate Sigfried Giedion])