David Monteyne's training is in architectural history and cultural studies, but he has always thought of himself as an urbanist, studying buildings, sites, monuments, public spaces, and landscapes in relation to a broadly-defined context.
In 1995, David completed his Master’s degree in the School of Architecture at UBC, then worked five years as a lecturer, heritage researcher, and architecture librarian. In 2000, he began a PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. David chose American Studies as a result of his search for critical, interdisciplinary methods for understanding social space. His dissertation came out as a book in 2011 with the University of Minnesota Press.
Through an engagement with cultural and political history, David seeks to specify the different techniques and processes by which space is produced through social relations. Critical architectural history seeks to research the built environment as a creative cultural phenomenon not limited to singular structures or famous architects. This scholarship has begun to incorporate analytic categories such as race and gender, thereby adding relations of identity and power to its examination of the meanings and uses of spaces and places. In his work, a specific focus has been the relationship between built environments and national identity.
A long-term research goal concerns the most general question of my work, which is the relation between space and subject formation. Much scholarship has addressed the creation of spaces by designers, and the phenomenological experience of spaces by individuals. In contrast, understanding the role of the everyday spatial practice of subjects in producing the built environment is one of the most under-studied questions facing architectural and urban design history. A new research project on Canadian cultural landscapes seeks to address this question through research on spaces of immigration.