Thursday, March 05, 2009

House Stories: Introduction

In my History of Domestic Architecture class, we are not only surveying a chronological history from Neolithic settlement to the present submortgage crisis, but we are also exploring the complexity of narratives surrounding houses more generally. We take theoretical digressions into Freud's un-homely (unheimlich/uncanny), Marx's fetish, Heidegger's being-dwelling-thinking and Alfred Hitchcock's films (where houses become characters). In order to open up the discussion, I asked all the students to write a personal narrative involving a memorable house experience. These House Stories were inspired by Studs Terkel's oral histories, by StoryCorps, by Dave Eggars’ 826 Valencia and by other interviews that I have been collecting. The result was so impressive that I am compelled to post the essays. It’s hard not to envision a published anthology sometime in the future. My class is taught at Wesleyan University Graduate Liberal Studies Program. The graduate students have a variety of professional experiences; they range from high-school teachers, to museum curators, librarians, fundraisers, physical plant specialists and artists. I want to thank the students for giving me permission to post their stories.

Click here to read all the House Stories.

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States