Adrienne Brown's The Black Skyscraper—Architecture and the Perception of Race introduces the notion of scale to ponder how perceptions of race were transformed during the late nineteenth century and first third of the twentieth century. The central phenomenon she examines is the construction of skyscrapers, a building-type of unprecedented height that changed the experience of looking and being looked at. Simultaneously, the ongoing process of multiracialism and the extraordinary domestic and international migrations also changed the notion of scale in urban everyday lives and contributed to transforming the perception of race. Brown analyzes a number of canonical and non-canonical narratives to explore the anxiety derived from these changes, and the ambivalence with which both black and white writers approached the high-rises. The Black Skyscraper has the great virtue of employing an unexpected interdisciplinary methodology coming from three different fields—architecture, literature, and race—in a solid and eloquent manner.


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pp. 182-185
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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