Fall 2016 Cultural Landscape Courses

With the Fall 2016 semester upon us, we have compiled a list of courses on cultural landscape topics across the University, many of which are taught by affiliate members of the Center for Cultural Landscapes. These courses give a sense of the breadth of disciplines and approaches that make up Landscape Studies, as well as the significant resources at UVA in this field across multiple departments. 

American Studies

AMST1559: Wilderness, Resource, and Real Estate

MW 2-3:15pm

Jessica Sewell

This course examines the physical and metaphorical landscape of America across time, exploring how we have shaped the landscape, used to it define ourselves as a nation, and asked it to serve as resource, religion, symbol, and setting.


ANTH5590: The Nature of Nature

M 4:30-7:00pm

James Igoe

Nature is a cultural construct paradoxically imagined as existing outside the realm of culture. As such Nature has a special kind of power. It is an unanswerable explanation for why things are as they are (e.g. That's just human nature).  And it is a place to escape unpleasant aspects of civilization (e.g. I'm looking forward getting back to Nature this weekend). Nature presents reality both as it supposedly is and as it ideally should be.  At the same time, in our present historical moment, a growing number of analysts are proclaiming "the end of Nature." In this seminar we will explore the evolution of Nature as a concept and a realm of reality, particularly with respect to various aspects of globalization. We will look at what kinds of work Nature has done over the years, what it may mean in other cultural contexts, and some of the implications of imagining that Nature is now coming to an end.

Architectural History

ARH1700: Thomas Jefferson Architect

MWF  9-9:50am

Richard Guy Wilson

To Thomas Jefferson architecture was an art that encompassed more than simply shelter but embodied cultural and political values. This course will focus on his architectural and other designs (gardens, landscapes, interiors, towns, campuses) as well as his interest in the arts and how they relate to Jefferson’s other accomplishments.

ARH5602: Community History, Design, and Planning Workshop: Gordonsville Transformations

Andrew Johnston

F 9:30am-12pm

This year we will partner with the mayor, town council, and a variety of stakeholder groups of the town of Gordonsville, VA to explore ongoing challenges in their community, and propose possible futures from the varied perspectives of each of our disciplines. Part studio course and part seminar, the Community History Workshop is both an in-depth historical analysis of the architecture, urban form, and planning of a selected community, and a forum for speculative futures and plan making for the community, informed by a methodologically-driven in-depth analysis of the community. This heritage-focused course explores the existing significance of the built landscape as an element in, and an expression of, the social and cultural life of the community and as key for plan-making and design for the future.

This course, open to all graduate and advanced undergraduate A-School students, is required for the graduate Historic Preservation Certificate.


ENCR 4500-001: Race, Space, and Culture (Cross-listed with AMST 4500)

Tu 6:30-9pm

Kenrick Grandison & Marlon Ross

Co-taught by K. Ian Grandison and Marlon Ross, this interdisciplinary seminar examines the spatial implications at work in the theories, practices, and experiences of race, as well as the cultural implications at stake in our apprehensions and conceptions of space.  Themes include: 1) the human/nature threshold; 2) public domains/private lives; 3) urban renewal, historic preservation, and the new urbanism; 4) defensible design and the spatial politics of fear; and 5) the cultural ideologies of sustainability.  The seminar foregrounds the multidimensionality of space as a physical, perceptual, social, ideological, and discursive phenomenon.  This means melding concepts and practices used in the design professions with theories affiliated with race, postcolonial, literary, and cultural studies.  We’ll investigate a variety of spaces, actual and discursive, through selected theoretical readings from diverse disciplines (e.g., William Cronon, Patricia Williams, Philip Deloria, Leslie Kanes Weisman, Gloria Anzaldua, Oscar Newman); through case studies (e.g., Indian reservations, burial grounds, suburban homes, gay bars, national monuments); and through local site visits.  Requirements include a midterm and final exam, one site visit response paper, and a major team research project and presentation.

ENSP 4500-003: Plants and Empire

TR 2-3:15pm

Mary Kuhn 

This course examines how botanical projects and their cultural representations shaped the material and political landscapes of empire. Combining literary analysis with environmental history and the history of science, we'll explore the intertwined social and ecological impacts of imperialism. A wide range of sources, from poems and novels to seed catalogues, herbariums, and UVa’s botanical gardens, will help us to see how the workings of empire in the 18th and 19th centuries shaped today's ideas about the environment.


HIUS 3853 From Redlines to Subprime: Race and Real Estate in the U.S.

MW 2-3:15pm

Andrew Kahrl

This course examines the relationship between race, real estate, wealth, and poverty in the United States, with an emphasis on the period from the New Deal to the present.  We will learn about the instrumental role homeownership and residential location has played in shaping the educational options; job prospects, living expenses, health, quality of life, and wealth accumulation of Americans in the twentieth century, and how race became--and remains --a key determinant in the distribution of the homeownership's benefits in American society.  We will study the structure and mechanics of the American real estate industry, the historical and contemporary dynamics of housing markets in urban and suburban America, and the impact of governmental policies and programs on the American economy and built environment.  We will look at how the promise of perils of homeownership has shaped ideas of race and belonging, and informed the political ideologies and material interests, of both white and black Americans.  We will learn how and why real estate ownership, investment, and development came to play a critical role in the formation and endurance of racial segregation, and in the making of modern American capitalism.  And we will explore how legal challenges and political mobilizations against racial exclusion and economic exploitation in housing markets came to shape the modern black freedom movement as a whole.  As we do, we will acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of how real estate shapes our lives and lies at the heart of many of the most vexing problems and pressing challenges facing America today.  

Landscape Architecture

LAR5120: Advanced History of Landscape Design I

TuTh 9:30-10:45am

Michael Lee

This course surveys the pre-modern history of gardens and designed landscapes. The sessions follow a roughly chronological sequence, with a thematic focus appropriate to each landscape culture, e.g. water infrastructure & agricultural systems, public & private space, theater & performance, court rituals, horticultural display, natural philosophy & aesthetic theory, visual representation, and the professionalization of landscape design. Graduates only.

LAR5500: Landscapes of (In)Authenticity: The Not-So-Simple Life

W 9-11:30am

Michael Lee

The fast pace of contemporary culture has inevitably given rise to calls for a “return” to simplicity. Within landscape architecture, these ideas have most often found expression in the widespread preference for despoiled and neglected sites. Often described as “gritty” or “real,” they are held up as avatars of authenticity, and offered as antidotes to the superficial spaces of corporate capitalism. This seminar will examine a variety of attempts to construct the simple life and the “authentic” landscapes that support it.

Urban & Environmental Planning

PLAN6811: Gender and the Built Environment

TuTh 9:30-10:45am

Jessica Sewell

This class explores the wide range of approaches that have been taken to the complex relationships between body, sex, gender, and the built environment.  Some see buildings as a direct expression of sexed bodies (phallic towers and breast-like domes), while others see buildings and settlements as expressions and reiterations of the gender structures of a culture.