Erin Sassin

Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture

 
 work(802) 443-5830
 Spring Term 2022-Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., and by appointment
 Mahaney Arts Center 211

Erin Sassin received her PhD in the History of Architecture from Brown University in 2012. She joined the faculty at Middlebury College the same year and has been teaching courses such as “Faust's Metropolis” (art, architecture, and urbanism of Berlin), “Gender and the Making of Space,” “Bloom and Doom” (architecture and design in Vienna circa 1900—culminating in an exhibition at the Middlebury Museum of Art), “Architectural Utopias,” and a survey of Modern Architecture, among others. 

Her research is closely linked to her teaching interests: she has published articles on the public/private world of middle class women in the German Empire and the intersection of architecture, power, and ethnicity in Upper Silesia. Her book, titled "Single People and Mass Housing in Germany and Beyond (1850-1930)—(No) Home Away from Home" is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic.

Awarded a 2019 fellowship from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, it is the first complete study of single-person mass housing  in Germany and the pivotal role this class- and gender-specific building type played for pre-war German architectural culture and society, the transnational Progressive reform movement, and Architectural Modernism in the 1920s, as well as its continued relevance. She has presented her research at CAA, GSA, SAH, and VAF, among other forums.

Currently, she’s planning an exhibition on the Bauhaus at the Museum of Art, working with Sophie Hochhäusl (UPenn) on the feminist implications of ephemeral and ad-hoc architecture constructed during World War One, and collaborating with Florence Feiereisen (German Department) on a digital project involving the infamous Berlin tenement Meyershof, “Sounding Out the Spaces of Berlin’s Working-Class Life.” Though she has been working interdisciplinary for years, she’s particularly excited that research in the Digital Humanities explicitly fosters collaboration with people from outside of her own field.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ENVS 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Fall 2019

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FYSE 1407 - Gender & the Making of Space      

Gender and the Making of Space
In this seminar we will investigate the complex relationship between gender and architecture, examining how the design of the built environment (buildings, urban spaces, etc.) can reinforce or undermine ideas about the respective roles of women and men in society, from the creation of masculine and feminine spaces to the gendered nature of the architectural profession. By looking at both visual evidence and textual sources, we will also uncover how the social construction of gender roles and gendered spaces are—and continue to be—inflected by race, class, and sexuality. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2020

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HARC 0100 - Intro to Global Visual Culture      

An Introduction to Global Visual Culture
This course is an introduction to the visual cultures of the world, with an emphasis on how images, objects, and monuments are made, experienced, exchanged, and used by groups of people with diverse religious, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds. We will focus on themes that have been taken up by different cultures and adapted over time, such as monumentality, the sacred, embodiment, science, and technology. Through a close study of these themes, we will consider how materials, cultures, and histories are transformed and negotiated through making and viewing works of art. In the process, we will challenge the art historical canon by shedding light on marginalized periods, regions, and artworks. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. ART CMP

Fall 2022

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HARC 0230 - Modern Architecture      

Modern Architecture
Rotating skyscrapers, green roofs, and avant-garde museums: how did we arrive in the architectural world of the early 21st century? In this course we will survey the major stylistic developments, new building types, and new technologies that have shaped European and American architecture since the late 18th century. Students will learn about the work of major architects as well as key architectural theories and debates. Special emphasis will be placed on the cultural and political contexts in which buildings are designed. 2 hrs. Lect./1 hr. disc. ART HIS

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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HARC 0338 / GSFS 0338 - Gender and the Making of Space      

Gender and the Making of Space
In this course we will investigate the complex relationship between gender and architecture, examining how the design of the built environment (buildings, urban spaces, etc.) can reinforce or undermine ideas about the respective roles of women and men in society, from the creation of masculine and feminine spaces to the gendered nature of the architectural profession. By looking at both visual evidence and textual sources we will also uncover how the social construction of gender roles and gendered spaces are, and continue to be, inflected by race, class, and sexuality. Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1407. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP HIS

Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

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HARC 0339 - Home: The Way We Live      

Home: The Why Behind the Way We Live
In this course we will examine the development of numerous housing types in America (with references to Europe). The prevalence of the single-family home today and its importance as the symbol of the “American dream” was never a forgone conclusion. In fact, the American home has been the focus of and battleground for cooperative movements, feminism, municipal socialism, benevolent capitalism, and government interventions on a national scale. 3 hrs. sem. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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HARC 0341 / GRMN 0341 - Faust's Metropolis: Berlin      

Berlin: History, Architecture, and Urbanism in Faust’s Metropolis (in English)
In this course we will investigate the rich and complicated built environment of Berlin. By looking at both visual evidence and textual sources we will uncover how the city has been transformed from a cultural backwater during the early modern period to the current capital of a reunified Germany. By the conclusion of this course, you will be comfortable “reading” buildings and spaces and will be able to navigate both the physical city of Berlin and the many layers of history buried within. 3 hrs. sem. ART EUR HIS

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

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HARC 0364 - State of Emergency/Aftermaths      

The State of Emergency and its Aftermaths: Kitchen Design to Counter-History
In this class we will uncover how architecture and design have mitigated and exacerbated the human tragedy of modern industrialized war in the 20th century. Taking the First World War and its inheritances as a through line to the present-day refugee crisis, we will discover how conflicts have manifested spatially (refugee camps to military installations, villages to capital cities), how design cultures of education, care, and memory emerged from battle and conditions of scarcity, and how war often blurred the meaning of what constitutes “architecture.” Shifting the focus from trenches, monuments, and imperial building projects to the architecture of the everyday, we will think about the politics of food systems and garden design, urban (and rural) recovery and reconstruction efforts, the creation of ephemeral and ad-hoc architectures, the role of mechanization, technology, and governmentality, and the gendered implications of states of emergency. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* ART EUR HIS

Fall 2022

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HARC 0375 / GRMN 0375 - Exhibiting the Bauhaus      

Exhibiting the Bauhaus
The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was an experimental school, a modern laboratory for artistic innovation. In three different German cities over a period of 14 tumultuous years three different artistic directors, their colleagues, and students challenged the traditional hierarchy of the arts by placing the fine arts, design, and architecture on equal footing. With the help of primary and secondary source readings, we will not only consider the Bauhaus’ far reaching influence on the practice and teaching of art, design and architecture, but also its enormous social and political impacts. Taking these ideas as our point of departure, our class will work with select works from the holdings of the Sabarsky Foundation in New York City (including those by Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Anni Albers and Oskar Schlemmer). A major part of our inquiry will involve the planning of an exhibition of these original artworks at the Middlebury College Museum in the spring of 2020. 3 hrs. sem ART EUR HIS

Fall 2019

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HARC 0530 - Independent Architect. Design      

Supervised independent work in architectural analysis and design. (Approval Required)

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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HARC 0710 - Senior Thesis Research Seminar      

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
In this course students will conceive, undertake research, and plan the organization of their senior thesis in art history or senior museum studies projects. Seminar discussions and workshops will focus on research strategies, conventions in art historical writing, project design, and public presentation skills. (HARC 0301; Approval Required) 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2018

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HARC 0711 - SNR Thesis: Research/Writing      

Senior Thesis: Research and Writing
This course is a continuation of HARC 0710 which consists of ongoing, supervised independent research, plus organizing, writing and presenting a senior thesis. (HARC 0301 and HARC 0710). WTR

Winter 2019, Winter 2021

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Department of History of Art & Architecture

Edward Vazquez, Chair


Michaela Davico, Department Coordinator

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753