CFP: Beyond the Mall: Retail Landscapes of the Late Twentieth Century (Society of Architectural Historians 2023 Conference, April 12-16, Montreal, Quebec)

Elaine Stiles's picture

Hello Material Culture Studies Colleagues,

We invite you to consider submitting a paper to our session at the 2023 Society of Architectural Historians Conference in Montreal, Quebec.

Beyond the Mall: Retail Landscapes of the Late Twentieth Century (Montréal)

Over the past fifty years, the landscape of retail spaces has changed dramatically, raising new questions about the relationships between space, consumer capitalism, and consumer culture. The storied figures of the mall, the festival marketplace, and the lifestyle center have been challenged, superseded, and reimagined by new and alternative retail forms and spaces responding to new consumer desires and economic realities. Beyond typologies, the very nature of these new retail models has changed the landscape of consumption from the scale of the store interior to the global infrastructures that support these models.

A broad range of retail forms have emerged to serve an increasingly segmented buying public. From swap meets to street vendors, big box stores to dollar stores, pop-up shops to online retail pick-up hubs, these forms have changed the settings and ways in which people buy, sell, and interact with goods and their purveyors. This splintering has also resulted in a range of new spatial, visual, and social strategies to persuade, engage, and respond to consumers.

This session seeks papers that interrogate these new and alternative retail spaces in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, looking at typologies, spatial practices, designed and crafted interiors, and connection to or rejection of earlier models of retail space. We also invite submissions that look at how designers, developers, real estate professionals, and independent entrepreneurs have restructured buildings, cities, and landscapes to encourage or capitalize on emergent consumer behaviors. We are particularly interested in research on how these practices have reconfigured social norms, racial dynamics, and power relations. Interdisciplinary work that engages with economic and business history, design history, media and visual studies, urban and cultural geography, ethnic studies, and sociology are especially encouraged.

Session Chairs: Elaine Stiles, Roger Williams University, and Alec Stewart, University of Pennsylvania

To submit an abstract, please visit Deadline is 11:59 p.m. CDT on June 7, 2022.