Session 1: Authorship and Epistemologies

Elisabeth Bronfen, University of Zurich, English Department

The disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism draw from the humanities, the social and natural sciences, which have each developed their own epistemologies that frame particular relations between the author and their subject matter. The author’s adopted epistemologies, along with their role and academic background, influence the way they communicate specific knowledge, and are received as an ‘expert’ (or not).

This session will focus on the concept of authority and the notion of narrative position, which varies greatly from discipline to discipline. While an author’s voice may be recognized within the borders of a specific discipline, as soon as authors place themselves outside the norms established by their peers, the scientific character of their texts is promptly called into question. The difficulty of positioning ourselves at the intersection of a wide diversity of fields of knowledge, each with their own epistemologies, is a challenge but also an opportunity to draw from different traditions.

How do epistemologies define the notion of authorship, and vice versa, how does authorship define different epistemologies? How can different writing formats and styles (monographic, polemic, speculative, experimental) reinforce or challenge epistemologies and ‘expert’ authorship within academia?