Spring 2015, Volume 29 Number 2

Image of Spring 2015 Centerpiece coverThe spring 2015 issue of Centerpiece focuses on the Center's recent activities, including updates from the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and student programs. The Message from the Executive Director is a self-reflective look at the past twenty-two years that Steven B. Bloomfield has been at the Center. The feature, “Soviet Planning Praxis: From Tractors to Territory” by Christina E. Crawford, examines the relationship between urban theory and architectural practice in the Soviet Union from 1917–1932. And finally, the feature “In Conversation with…,” is an interview with George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature Panagiotis Roilos, that focuses on his current research, his relationship with the Center, and the importance of integrating the humanities with international relations.

Message from the Executive Director
by Steven B. Bloomfield

To explain what we do from day to day, people in jobs like mine search for metaphors from realms of work that are comparatively much more hands-on. That’s because we’ve realized that our friends and families, who don’t often see us on the job, might understand us better by our offering them a concept that’s far more visible or concrete. Secretly, we also harbor a desire to show that we, in fact, just may be making some kind of palpable contribution to the world, that what we do has heft....

Soviet Planning Praxis: From Tractors to Territory
by Christina E. Crawford

Land socialization was one of the first legal acts instituted by the Bolshevik government in 1917, and it was a measure that initiated a feverish period of theorization and construction of new spatial models. If capitalist urbanism was dense, centralized, and exploitative, Soviet physical and economic planners asked, how might socialist space be organized differently to engender fair economic and social relations? While actualized socialist cities of the early Soviet period—known in their time as social-industrial settlements—have been criticized by architectural historians for their failure to instantiate revolutionary forms, my research establishes the import of these sites as vital nodes in a network of living laboratories for urban experimentation.…

In Conversation with…Panagiotis Roilos
Interview by Kristin Caulfield and Megan Margulies

From a very young age, as early as elementary school, Panagiotis Roilos decided that he would study cultural history and literature. He never vacillated from this intellectual trajectory, and Roilos considers himself extremely lucky to have been able to pursue his early childhood dreams. He received his bachelor of arts (Ptychion) in classics, Byzantine, and modern Greek literature at the University of Athens and then earned his PhD from Harvard University. Now the George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies and professor of comparative literature, Roilos is continuing his research by focusing on cultural politics, cognitive and historical anthropology, postclassical Greek literature and culture, comparative poetics, reception studies, and critical theory.…

At the Center

Centerpiece: Spring 2015, Volume 29 Number 21.59 MB