December 2004 / Paper / ISBN 88-88479-11-2 / 202 pp.
Even today there are problems that plague the history of technology as regards its relationship to the histories of economics, of science, and of culture. A sinister and disquieting unease is felt by anyone who takes an interest in the subject and attempts to define the disciplinary boundaries, making use of categories and shared concepts of knowledge of the longest tradition.
Historians of technology, science, architecture, and engineering (among other fields) were and are ready to establish boundaries and drive stakes to distinguish the pure from the contaminated, to advise on partnerships and discourage dangerous alliances. As always happens in such case, the advisers far outnumbered the good advice and from the disciplinary barracks, often of a small academic nature, flowed volleys of messages that were subtly threatening, as if research feared liberty and should be constrained by written declarations of appurtenance. Contemporaneously on the opposite front are thrown together "insurrectional" proclamations, everyone having to have his say, without getting touching the seriousness of the research and the rigorousness of the methods of investigation.
The Associazione Benvenuto for research in the Science and Art of Building in their historical development is not enrolling in either camp. Rather, we decided to assign to a few international "observers" the task of styling a map of Construction History in their various countries. Obviously, we are not dealing here with an exhaustive map, but rather with a first attempt to identify some of the significant lines of research and to put into contact the individual scholars. A small step towards the constitution of an international scientific community that is interested in architecture as well as mechanics; in construction as well as its history. A community which, up to the present, has not known how to find the essential points of contact and dialogue, and which has avoided the onus of long-term initiatives. It is our hope that the present volume will be helpful in establishing solid collaborative research projects, knowing that this can happen only if the studies are so rigorous and detailed that those emphatic recall to arms of interdisciplinarity, sure signs of problems set forth badly, are rendered superfluous.
This publication was made possible by the Associazione Edoardo Benvenuto