Elsie B. Smith Professor of Liberal Arts.
Departments of Classics, Art History and Art, and Cognitive
A native of England, Charles Burroughs
is a historian of built environments and visual culture in Italy
and, more recently, in the New World. He was trained in Classics
and the Classical Tradition at Balliol College of Oxford University
and at the Warburg Institute of London University. He has published
two books. One is a highly archival study of changing patterns
of spatial practice as well as the actual or planned transformation
of architectural and wider settings in Rome at the very beginning
of the modern age (mid fifteenth century). The other, more theoretical,
project deals with the emergence in late medieval and early modern
Italy, both in discourse and in practice, of the cultural as well
as architectural concept of facade. Focusing on secular, mostly
residential architecture, the book follows the recognition—or,
more typically, lack of recognition— of the facade as a
an element linking as well as separating the evolving public and
private domains, and it examines the aesthetic and semiotic functions
and implications of diverse models of elaboration applied to the
fronts of buildings.
Charles Burroughs has also published widely on Renaissance art
and architecture, with articles on such major figures as Alberti,
Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Domenico Fontana, Michelangelo (as painter
as well as architect), and Palladio, as well as on some key patrons
of the era. Currently he is engaged on a book on Botticelli's
Primavera as a political painting, in relation to claims made
for the natural basis for the formation of social and economic
structures as well as political regimes, or at least principles.
He is also working with an international and interdisciplinary
group of scholars from the US, Brazil, and Cuba on plantation
landscapes and architecture, as well as representations of these,
in the New World in the era of the "second slavery,"
i.e., the early and mid nineteenth century, following the association
of slavery with new technologies and forms of organization, often
in previously unexploited territories.
In terms of his association with the Cognitive Science Department,
Burroughs looks forward to developing his interest in the semiotics
built environment, with regard both to actual and virtual instances.
hopes to develop work on the spatial settings and conditions for
processes as well as various kinds of enunciation and (self-)
representation, whether on the part of various social agents or
institutions, that occur in and by means of the immediate spatial
architectural matrix. He is planning a course on Architecture
Sign, with particular emphasis on the elaboration and appropriation
"classical language of architecture" in a range of settings,
and on the
interplay between the history of architectural writing and that