Cultural Landscapes Blog
Liz Sargent HLA is pleased to announce that Jennifer Trompetter has joined the firm as Principal. Jen brings more than fifteen years of experience in the area of park planning and design, with expertise in sensitive design interventions for historic properties. Jen holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia, and has worked throughout the United States in her previous positions with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and D.I.R.T. studio.
Liz Sargent HLA is a landscape architecture firm based in Charlottesville, Virginia, providing expertise in the areas of historical landscape architecture, preservation planning, and conceptual design. LSHLA offers more than twenty-five years of experience in the field of cultural landscape studies for clients ranging from the National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, state and local governments, and colleges and universities, as well as private clients and non-profit organizations. The firm regularly collaborates with architects, landscape architects, historians and archaeologists in devising plans and reports that provide clients with comprehensive products that successfully meet their needs. Principal Liz Sargent, FASLA, is an award-wininng designer, as well as a landscape historian, and can offer the unusual capability of translating planning projects into built work. Additionally, Liz Sargent HLA is a small, woman-owned business.
Liz and Jen recently teamed up to prepare Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) documentation for Emancipation (Lee) Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. The entry won First Place in the 2017 HALS Challenge.
The Center for Cultural Landscapes congratulates landscape architects, Liz Sargent and Jen Trompetter, both graduates of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, for winning first prize in the 2017 Historic American Landscape Survey Challenge (HALS) for their entry for Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park) in Charlottesville, Virginia. The National Park Service and the Historic American Landscape Survey sponsor the competition, which focuses on a specific theme each year. The 2017 theme was “Documenting City and Town Parks.” Sargent and Trompetter’s work on Emancipation Park documented the park at a time it gained national attention as the object of heated debate, and the site of multiple demonstrations, acts of intimidation, and violence. The HALS documentation will help communicate the site’s history to a broader audience, and to situate the park and its statue in in temporal, political and design context.
Liz Sargent is Principal of Liz Sargent HLA, and an affiliate member of the Center for Cultural Landscapes. Jen Trompetter is also Principal of Liz Sargent HLA.
The HALS challenge for 2018 will focus on the theme “Memorialization, Commemorating the Great War.” Information about the HALS Challenge can be found at: https://www.nps.gov/HDP/competitions/HALS_Challenge.html
Paid interships are available at national parks, museums, archeological sites, historic sites, libraries, digital databases, and archives. Students from any discipline or school may apply. Students who graduate in May are eligible for these internships. Employers seek expertise in American history, art and architectural history, archaeology, education, and website development. Skills in writing, photography, research, and digital media are also prized. Undergraduates are paid between $7.25 and $10 an hour, and graduate students between $12.50 and $15 an hour.
Internships are located in Charlottesville, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Scottsville, Northern Virginia, the Eastern Shore, and Charleston, S. C. Participating employers include the National Park Service, Monticello, the Library of Virginia, and the Virginia Historical Society. Several UVa programs and institutions, including the Law Library, the Nau Center from Civil War History, and JUEL also offer paid internships.
Applications are due by 11:50 p.m. on Friday February 9. For further information, contact Lisa Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org
The New York Botanical Garden
The Humanities Institute – LuEsther T. Mertz Library
Call for Fellows 2018
The Humanities Institute, a research division within the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at The New York Botanical Garden, is pleased to offer a full-time, residential Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for 2018 for current Ph.D. students or recent post-doctoral researchers. Candidates are invited to submit a proposal for independent research in the environmental humanities.
Fellows will conduct research that involves innovative interdisciplinary approaches to areas such as landscape and garden design; urban planning and social history; cultural anthropology; the history and philosophy of botany; botanical exploration; and arts and illustration, with a primary focus on areas of inquiry that connect nature to the human experience. Specific collections at NYBG should also be taken into consideration as part of the research topic. Recipients will be given full access to the unique, historical collections of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the Archives, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and the Living Collections, including the 250-acre historic landscape. Recipients are also encouraged to take advantage of the cultural and educational resources of New York City.
Eligibility: Current Ph.D. candidates and recent post-doctoral researchers (no more than four years since graduation) who would like to further their studies in a large, international plant-based research center. Students from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities are encouraged to apply.
Tenure of Fellowship: Nine months (tenure can be activated as early as April 1, 2018, and no later than September 6, 2018). Deferral of a student’s Mellon Fellowship is not permitted. Fellowships at NYBG’s Humanities Institute are full-time residential awards that place great emphasis on the exchange of ideas among fellows and the spirit of community within the larger institution. Fellows are expected to devote themselves fully to their studies, and give a presentation about their own research. They are also requested to participate in the Humanities Institute’s activities, including symposia, colloquia, and workshops, as well as important lectures and exhibits held Garden-wide.
The Center for Cultural Landscapes hosted Dana Nelson as part of its ongoing series of Restoration round tables during the 2017-2018 school year. This set of discussions aims to examine the concept of restoration in multiple disciplines across built, natural, historic, political and literary environments.
Nelson began with remarks critically interrogating the appeal of prevailing conceptions of the commons. Many kinds of commons are touted as a mode of radical resistance against the forces of globalization and market capitalism. Intellectual organizations like Creative Commons and Wikipedia, and sharing economies like LendingClub, Uber and Air BnB are popping up across the American scene. Some thinkers, like Naomi Klein, Herbert Reid, and Betsy Taylor have noted that emerging commons are a sign of the spontaneous resistance to neoliberalist globalization.
Nelson rejects these claims that commons work in opposition to prevailing structures of power. She argues that we need to look elsewhere for the commons’ enduring utility, and that romanticized notions of commons rest on two mischaracterizations. First, while commons are often characterized as durable, many successful commons actually originate from situations of scarcity. The second misconception is that commons are open to all takers when functioning commons draw clear boundaries of who is “in,” and who is “out.”
She also criticizes leftist melodramatic appeals for the centrality of the commons. Notions that commons are pure, menaced, and desperately in need of saving blinds societal actors to the genuinely useful aspects of the commons. These types of dramatic appeals set the commons in terms of simplified antagonisms: victor vs. victim, conquerer vs. conquered. While these arguments come from understandable desires for moral clarity, they entrench powerlessness as a proof of righteousness, and rhetorically prevent actors from participating in the systems they seek to change.
On the evening of November 14, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection and the UVA Native American Student Union (NASU) hosted a remarkable panel discussion entitled “Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments.”
Kasey Keeler, Native American Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Studies Program, moderated the discussion, and briefly described her research, which deploys federal Indian policy, housing policy, land, property, suburbanization, place making, public memory and public history to explore suburbs as spaces of continuous American Indian presence.
Panelist Karenne Wood is a member of the Monacan Indian Nation and director of the Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for Humanities. Her presentation focused on native modes of marking spaces of significance, and how those traditions differ from European modes of memorialization. She argued that indigenous commemorative forms are communal rather than singular or heroic, and that constructions like burial mounds serve as multi-dimensional symbols, reinforcing both the communal aspects of tribal life, and the physical and spiritual connections between the human body and the land. Wood also highlighted the numerous instances of desecration, destruction, and conscious raiding of native sacred sites in Virginia by European farmers and notable figures like Thomas Jefferson. While these purposeful erasures have led to a myth that native people are a relic of the past, Wood concluded with stressing the importance of interpreting Native presence into the present, that Monacans and other Virginia tribes are still here, still an active part of the social fabric of Virginia.
Jeffrey Hantman is a professor in the UVA department of Anthropology, and his presentation focused on his efforts with Karenne Wood and other American Indian collaborators to write new texts for the Virginia Historical Highway Markers Program. He spoke of a path to sanctification of sites associated with state violence and injustices perpetrated against native peoples, and that highway markers can be a first step toward recognition of these difficult histories.
The Center for Cultural Landscapes is pleased to announce the appointment of Alissa Diamond and Weaam AlAbdullah!
Alissa earned a B.S. in Architecture in 2002 and MLA in 2008, and is currently a student in the PhD program in the Constructed Environment, all at the University of Virginia. Alissa’s recent professional experience includes Associate at Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in Charlottesville. There she managed design projects at Centennial Park in Nashville, and Memorial Park in Houston. Her current research is focused on the potential of landscape design to reckon with racial histories in the United States.
Weaam earned a B. Arch. from the University of Arizona in 2013 and an MLA from Harvard University in 2016, and is currently a 2nd year PhD student housed in the Department of Landscape Architecture at UVA. Her research examines the role of landscape architecture amidst a series of unresolved socio-cultural tensions in Kuwait City’s past, present, and future. She is currently looking at urban parks as emblems of each time period and its specific tensions, highlighting issues of authenticity, identity, and heritage.
From October 18-21, the Slave Dwelling Project partnered with the University of Virginia President's Commission on Slavery and the University to present a symposium entitled Universities, Slavery, Public Memory and the Built Landscape as part of the University's bicentennial events. The event aimed to broaden conceptions of the university histories, introduce dimensions of moral accountability to the study of campus spaces across the country, and study implications of these threads for the built environment.
In the opening address "Ghost Values and the Remains of Slavery," Daina Ramey Berry highlighted the commodification of black bodies even after death through the medical domestic cadaver trade in the 19th century. Her concept of soul value highlights the inner life of black Americans that resists and transcends the forces of commodification and dehumanization facing African-Americans, even as they reverberate into our present. Following the keynote address, the Slave Dwelling Project led a facilitated conversation on the Lawn, and the largest overnight sleepover in the organization's history in Garden IX.
Associate professor Andrew Johnston, also director of the University Of Virginia School Of Architecture’s Historic Preservation Program, emphasized the immense power of modern technology in relation to studying heritage and cultural landscapes. With UVA’s strength in the digital humanities, Johnston highlighted the cross disciplinary engagement with other members and groups within the university, including the Dean of the Libraries, John M. Unsworth, and the Scholar’s Lab and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities. The multiple technologies used to study buildings and landscapes, include digital scanning, the use of drones, photogrammetry, ground penetrating radars, virtual reality, and 3d printing. Not only has data quality been revolutionized due to these tools for data collection, but these tools are allowing for a reconstruction of what was once a physical reality in a very accurate manner. For instance, Johnston highlighted the potential in constructing a virtual reality, perhaps with different tools and disciplines like archaeology, in order to allow visitors to see and understand what may have existed in the past. While not returning to an original time, these tools are capable of leading to an understanding of the embedded histories within the landscape.
These digital tools can help us with thinking about the cultural landscapes, and the larger narratives and relationships that go beyond a building or structure. Johnston highlighted the ways in which the data could even be combined with other software like GIS, to begin to look at the larger landscapes and not just at the isolated buildings. Johnston’s project, the Birdwood Plantations, which he worked on with his students, focused on understanding the various elements of the site as a layered cultural landscape. As well, the research focuses on a long history of the site, from early colonial occupations, through the construction of the grand manor house, the structures and workspaces associated with the enslaved population, and the subsequent decline of the plantation economy. New technologies, combined with new research questions stemming in large part from the field of cultural landscape studies, enables the construction of more inclusive narratives.