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Dumbarton Oaks | Landscapes in the Making

May 7, 2022 @ 8:15 am - 4:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on May 7, 2022 at 8:15 am

Symposiarchs: Stephen Daniels (University of Nottingham), Dell Upton (University of California, Los Angeles), and Thaïsa Way (Dumbarton Oaks)

How might historians narrate landscape design within broader human stories? How might alternative histories of landscape creation read, of its manifold makings and meanings in various periods and places focused on the people who imagine and shape the land? This symposium seeks to identify research that looks beyond canonical histories of design and architecture to include the people, particularly socially marginalized communities, who are involved day-to-day in its making and meaning, including commemorating its past and planning its future. It engages projects that generate counternarratives that reveal how alternative views of the past shape visions of the present and the future.

This is the third symposium in a five-year series exploring what it would mean to curate histories of making landscapes. Building on symposia exploring landscapes of segregation and resistance in 2020 and the Land Back movement and Indigenous readings of land in 2021, this symposium seeks to interrogate stories of labor, craft, and stewardship as the work of making landscape, foregrounding those who have so often been silenced, including women, LGBTQ+ people, Black and Indigenous people, immigrants, and working-class laborers. We consider that the making of landscape engages ongoing social, cultural, and physical processes, including labor, craft, maintenance and stewardship, as well as materials and production. We recognize that human making is more than a matter of people shaping “materials,” and this is surely true of many cultures and cultural practices of working with the natural world, notably those which actively seek to sustain it. We are interested in the boundaries and tensions between the formal design and ongoing production of landscapes, including questions of materials, economies, livelihood, technologies, power, dispossession, and topographies.


  • Dane Carlson (Principia College), “Tied across Time: The Future of Making Landscape in the High Himalaya”
  • Jay Cephas (Princeton University), “The Labor of Landfills: A Social History of the Bronx Salt Marshes”
  • Michelle Arevalos Franco (The Ohio State University), “Migration and Maintenance: Mesoamerican Making of Landscapes in ‘El Norte’”
  • Ann Huppert (University of Washington), “The Making of Il Gesù in Rome: Labor in the 16th-Century Urban Landscape”
  • Lisa Johnson (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), “Multilocality of an Ancient Maya City: Archaeology, Tourism, and Indigenous Landscapes of Palenque, Mexico”
  • Olanrewaju Lasisi (College of William and Mary), “Common Space, Different Place: Interpreting the Dynamics and Fluidity of Ijebu Palatial Urbanscape”
  • Sarah Lopez (University of Texas at Austin), “Mexican Makers: Quarrymen, Stonemasons, Construction Workers, and Clients”
  • Mars Plater (Dickinson College), “The Poor People’s Park: Downtown Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century New York City”
  • Andrea Roberts (Texas A&M University), “Landscapes Remembered: Visual Cultures of African American Placemaking in Texas”
  • Colleen Stockmann (Gustavus Adolphus College), “Stewarding a Fractured Landscape: Potted Plants in Tenement Housing”
  • Desiree Valadares (University of California, Berkeley), “The Law of the Land: Homesteads, Canneries, Internment Camps, and Marine Parks in Southeast Alaska”
  • Antonia Weiss (University of Amsterdam), “A Garden of Scrawls and Scribbles: Amsterdam’s Notarial Records as Evidence of Everyday Landscape Creation in the 18th-Century City”

There will be no registration fee this year.


May 7, 2022
8:15 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Dumbarton Oaks
(202) 339-6400
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