The word ‘radical’ derives from the Latin radic, meaning ‘root’, and it is a root structure that inspires our approach to History + Theory in the Built Environment 1. In their 1980 work A Thousand Plateaus, the philosophical duo Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari presented ‘the rhizome’. Drawn from biological concepts of the radicle-systems and fascicular roots, they propose ‘the rhizome’ as a new system of valuing knowledge, as an alternative to the largely entrenched dichotomous and hierarchical nature of science and ‘objectivity’. In summary, the rhizome values multiplicity and pluralism.
This philosophy is the approach to history that we will take in History + Theory 1. Whilst there is the one grand and fundamental chronology of years gone past, there is not just one history: there are many. The major history we usually know is the one written by the victor or those with power, but there are many more narratives to uncover and value. The rhizome philosophy forces us to consider the politics, contexts and subjectivities that affect, alter and shape the construction of history. This is our radical work: to actively ‘poke the bear’ of history from all different angles, to aggravate and synthesize new critical reconstructions and interpretations that give fair and equal voice to minorities where possible.