Cultural Landscapes Blog

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 lg6t@virginia.edu

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 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 Fellowshipfor 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.

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. 

Commons are popping up everywhere—internet sites, federal lands, seed banks, land trusts, professional platforms, neighborhood networks—and everyone wants to be part of one. But what makes commons endure over time? Scholar and author Dana Nelson urges us to reject romantic framings of the commons, while also studying them self-critically, as the first step toward redemption. 

Dana D. Nelson is Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she is currently Chair of the English Department. Her intellectual interests are wide-ranging, moving from the history and literature of the British colonies all the way through our contemporary moment. A founding co-editor of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, she has written widely on literature, history, politics and culture, and is a frequent guest expert on public radio and television shows. Her most recent book is Commons Democracy: Reading the Politics of Participation in the Early United States. Previous books include Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People and National Manhood: Capitalist Citizenship and the Imagined Fraternity of White Men. 

 

The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation (AHLP) is pleased to announce its 2018 annual meeting theme of Cultural Crossroads: Heritage Landscapes of the Sonoran Desert, “Landscapes of Abundance & Landscapes of Scarcity” to be held in Tucson, Arizona. The Program Committee invites proposals for papers and summaries of works in progress that will promote lively and thoughtful discussions about cultural landscape conservation. In particular, submissions that address expressions of Spanish and Mexican culture and heritage, Native American sites, and places of importance to other indigenous peoples, cattle ranching and other forms of food production and land management, expressions of mid-century modernism, topics concerning industries of extraction, tourism and urban renewal are all actively encouraged. These themes will be reinforced by a field trip along the Kino Mission Trail (including Tumacacori, San Xaiver and the Mission Garden), a tour of Tucson including a landscape designed by Garrett Eckbo, a visit to the El Tiradito Shrine and Barrio as well as a visit to Tumamoc Hill (a significant site for the Tohono O’Odham), and, of course, a visit to the famous Empire Ranch. Questions and proposals should be sent to Kimball Erdman at kerdman@uark.edu. The deadline for all submissions is November 27, 2017. For more information regarding the conference, and the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation please visit their website: www.AHLP.org

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