Lecture 1. Domesticity in The Early Petroleum Era: The Contradictions of Residential Architecture in Iran’s Oil Company Towns

created by:

Pamela Karimi

from the module:

Domesticity Across Space and Time

This lecture is prepared for Domesticity across Space and Time Module of GAHTC. Numerous sources have been used for this module. However, the most prominent ones are listed below and they are required reading for this lecture. Although never formally a colony of a Western country, Iran’s strategic location and natural resources made it subject to indirect—what may be called semi-colonial—political and economic intervention by the West. The essence of this semi-colonial character is revealed in the design and function of architecture and urban planning in Abadan and this lecture features the very many ways in which this semi-colonial atmosphere influenced the residential architecture of Iran in the first half of the 20th c. By discussing architecture in both its built form and its representations in the press, photographs and documentaries, this lecture aims to introduce an interdisciplinary methodology where geopolitics, architecture, material culture and visual culture can be brought into a single dialogue. Finally, the lecture emphasizes that the history of oil cities cannot and should not be limited to that of oil revenues. Instead, the oft-troubled history of these company towns must be studied through the lens of architecture, urban planning, and visual & material culture.

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