Seminar in American Architecture: Methods in Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures



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Seminar in American Architecture: Methods in Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures

Art History 867 (Spring 2014)

Thursdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m., Elvehjem Building L170
Description. The core course in the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Program seeks graduate students who actively interrogate the material and geographical world to understand its past and present meanings. Participants will critically examine methods of studying the everyday built environment, which includes ordinary buildings, cultural landscapes, and material objects. Students will analyze and compare a wide array of theories and methodological approaches from the last four decades including the work of scholars from the disciplines and fields of Art History, Geography, Landscape History, Environmental History, Urban Studies, Literature, Historical Archaeology, Material Culture, and Folklore. Discussions encourage students to explore the intellectual boundaries of these overlapping academic disciplines while also cultivating their own identities in their chosen fields of study. The course is open to all students and may particularly interest those in Urban Planning, History, Geography, Landscape Architecture, and Design Studies. Distance learning options are possible for students from UW-Milwaukee, who can, for most sessions, participate via video-conferencing.

However, the class is not simply theoretical; students also enlist the ideas in the class as they work on projects. This term our focus will be on American “suburban” landscapes, and we will be focusing a lot on one of Madison’s early twentieth-century suburbs: Westmorland. Students in Madison will conduct fieldwork in Westmorland, whose diverse housing stock and suburban landscape has much to say about suburban history, national architectural trends, and local fashion and customs. On-the-ground investigations will include making measured drawings of floor plans and elevations, neighborhood mapping, GIS production and analysis, and photographic methods of documentation, as well as considering texts like letters and newspapers, historic sound and foodscapes, interior furnishings, oral histories, and interviews. UW-Milwaukee students may work collaboratively and collectively on a Milwaukee neighborhood with approval of instructor and in collaboration with UWM BLC faculty (Professors Sen and Sobti). Final projects will contribute to the BLC’s on-going online documentation projects.



Objectives

This course is a graduate level theory/methods/application course geared toward learning and applying a variety of qualitative methods derived from different academic fields and disciplines. By the end of the course, students should be expected to:



  • Attain a basic, working familiarity with (primarily) qualitative approaches to buildings and landscapes from a variety of humanistic disciplines (namely history, folklore, archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, art history, and material culture studies). To an extent, this involves some “historiography” – that is, understanding how the study of the material world has evolved over time (which partly involves understanding the rise of interdisciplinarity during the past few decades along with the interest in “critical theory”).

  • Apply these approaches to a well-researched case study – suburban building, building type, landscape, etc. – chosen in consult with the Instructor and researched throughout the course of the semester, and which shows their advanced ability to create an original interpretation that synthesizes different forms of evidence and considers the case study in the context of broader literature in the field(s). The principal product of the seminar will be a research paper – no shorter than 15-20 double-spaced pages – of scholarly (publishable) quality, which hopefully will be able to be published or otherwise developed into a scholarly product (i.e., conference paper).

Course Requirements:
It should go without saying that this is a graduate course, and as such, your participation is essential to success. All students should comport themselves professionally; we are colleagues embarking on a shared endeavor. Also, please check your email regularly and respond promptly and please use the learn@UW site (at UW-Madison) for communication purposes.
Weekly Reading Assignments. Due to the scope of this course, the reading load is very heavy. Most of the REQUIRED texts are available through the learn@UW site. I will also assemble them into a COURSEPACK/READER that will be available for purchase at Bob’s Copy Shop at 616 University Avenue (about 1.5 blocks east of the Chazen Museum). You are expected to read ALL of the required readings, and come to class prepared and willing to discuss them. In addition to the REQUIRED readings, I also have listed some RECOMMENDED READINGS on the CALENDAR should you feel you have time or interest in knowing more.
Weekly Annotations. To ensure students keep up with and understand the readings, they will be asked to submit weekly annotations on each reading. Guidelines are simple; they should be 2-3 sentences long. One sentence should focus on summarizing the content and/or main point (thesis) of the reading; the second should focus on the significance of the essay/article in relation to the week’s theme. Students may miss one week of annotations and still receive full credit, but will be docked for the second missed one (and more beyond that).
Facilitating Discussion. As a practical exercise in learning how to lead scholarly discussion, each week, one or more students will be designated to lead class discussion (class periods will be divvied up the first week of class). As discussion facilitator, your task is threefold. You should provide a SUMMARY of what you see as the driving argument and significance of each reading; then you should draw a conclusion about how you see them fitting together; and finally (and most significantly), you will pose questions to the class about the readings to generate class discussion. Should you choose, you can also assign a reading related to your week’s theme ON TOP OF the one’s assigned. Should you choose to do this, please let me know at least a week in advance. You will be graded on how well you engage the readings and prompt/promote class discussion. You are encouraged to meet with me in advance to help you plan your session.

Class Presentation. At the end of term, all students will be asked to give 10 minute presentations on their research. These presentations should be illustrated with slides or a PowerPoint/keynote/pdf presentation. A one-page handout to be distributed to other students should include a title, a description of the project and its thesis, and a list of critical sources. More details will follow at a later date.



Progress Reports. At points through term, students will submit progress reports on their individual research project. They will be graded on completeness; thus, even if the Instructor suggests revisions, credit will be given provided an honest and thorough attempt is made to complete the assignment.
Research Paper/Project. Each student is required to submit a research paper (and/or project, whose parameters are agreed upon with the Professor in advance). The paper will be AT MINIMUM 15 double-spaced pages in length. More important than length, the paper should be based on original and substantive research; it should use some form of primary sources as well as relevant secondary sources. The goal is to have something that is of publishable or deliverable quality (as a paper at a conference). Students should meet with the Professor regularly to discuss their research projects.

Distribution of Grading

Weekly Annotations 10%

Progress Reports 15%

Class Presentation 15%

Research paper/project 40%

Class Participation (incl. discussion leading) 20%



100%
Attendance/Make-up Policy: Failure to attend this class regularly may result in a failing grade. If you cannot attend class on the day you are scheduled to present or when a progress report is due, you should make every effort to contact me BEFORE the class period you will miss to discuss arrangements. Failure to comply with this policy could result in a grade of “0” for the assignment in question. Late final papers may be docked.
Communications Policy (including use of email): I welcome questions and I am eager to discuss any thoughts you have related to material covered in class; please visit me during my office hours or make an appointment to see me. To make an appointment outside of office hours, please contact me by e-mail or talk to me after class. I make it a policy not to discuss issues relating to a student’s performance in the course over email; this includes requests to reconsider grades or hand in an assignment late. Please refrain from contacting me by cell phone (including text messaging). I do send out information on email regularly, and you should check your email daily for any important information. To insure you are receiving emails, please update your email address through MY-UW (as I will use the automatically generated UW classlist).

Special Needs and Accommodations: If you have special educational needs, you should register at the McBurney center (UW-Madison) or the UW-M Accessibility Center and contact me DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF CLASS to make arrangements. Madison students: For help with your writing, you are encouraged to contact the Writing Center, 6171 Helen C. White Hall, 263-1992. In addition to one-on-one consultations, they also offer non-credit classes of one or a few sessions each, to help you with a range of writing issues such as “the ten most important things to know about academic writing,” and “writing resumes and cover letters.” See http://writing.wisc.edu.

Academic Integrity Policy. All work you do in this class must be your own. You are expected to be responsible to know what constitutes academic dishonesty. The two most common types of academic dishonesty are “cheating” and “plagiarism.” Cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain academic work through the use of dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent acts. Plagiarism is representing the work of someone else as one’s own and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements; this includes borrowing ideas, words, sentences or paragraphs from books and periodicals as well as from the Internet without properly citing your sources. Also, all work in this class should be written during this semester; DO NOT REUSE PAPERS FROM PAST CLASSES and cite your own work as relevant. If you commit an act of cheating or plagiarism, there are serious repercussions; on the consequences, please see the http://students.wisc.edu/doso/misconductflowchart.html. If you have any questions, please speak with me.
PRELIMINARY CALENDAR

Subject to change at Instructor’s Discretion




JAN. 23 Introduction, expectations, course overview


Familiarize yourself with Westmorland: A Great Place to Live before class
JAN. 30 THINKING WITH BUILDINGS-LANDSCAPES-CULTURES

Yi-Fu Tuan, “Thought and Landscape: The Eye and the Mind’s Eye,” in The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes, ed. Donald Meinig (Oxford Univ. Press, 1979), 89-102.

Arthur Bernard Knapp & Wendy Ashmore, eds., “Archaeological Landscapes: Constructed, Conceptualized, Ideational,” in Archaeologies of Landscape: Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Wendy Ashmore and A. Bernard Knapp (Malden: Blackwell, 1999), 1-32.

Dell Upton, “Understanding New Orleans’ Architectural Ecology,” in Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, ed. Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 275-87.

Arijit Sen, “Staged Disappointment: Interpreting the Architectural Facade of the Vedanta Temple, San Francisco,” Winterthur Portfolio 47 (Winter 2013): 207-44.

WORKSHOP: SUBURBAN QUESTIONS

UNIT 1: DISCIPLINARY POSSIBILITIES & DEBATES
FEB. 6 MATERIAL CULTURE

Cary Carson, “Material Culture History: The Scholarship Nobody Knows” in American Material Culture: The Shape of the Field, ed. Ann Smart Martin and J. Ritchie Garrison (Winterthur, 1991), 401-27.

Carl Lounsbury, “Architecture and Cultural History,” in Oxford Handbook of Material Culture, ed. Dan Hicks and Mary C. Beaudry (Oxford, 2010), 484-501.

Ed Chappell, “Fieldwork,” in The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg, ed. Cary Carson and Carl R. Lounsbury (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press), 29-47.

Jennifer L. Roberts, “Lucubrations on a Lava Lamp: Technocracy, Counterculture, and Containment in the Sixties,” in Jules David Prown and Kenneth Haltman, ed. American Artifacts: Essays in Material Culture (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2000), 167-189.

WORKSHOP: OBJECT ANALYSIS
FEB. 13 ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY & CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY

William Cronon, "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narrative," Journal of American History 78, no. 4 (March 1992), p. 1347-76

Mart A. Stewart, "Environmental History: Profile of a Developing Field," The History Teacher 31, no. 5 (May 1998): 351-68.

John B. Rehder, Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1999).

Don Mitchell, They Saved the Crops: Labor, Landscape, and the Struggle over Industrial Farming in Bracro-Era California (Athens and London: Univ. of Georgia Press, 2012), 1-13, 49-73.



WORKSHOP: MAPS AND MAPPING RESOURCES
FEB. 20 PUBLIC HISTORY, FOLK HISTORY, AND FOLKLORE

Henry Glassie, “Folklore and History,” Minnesota History 50:5 (1987): 188-192.

Gerald Pocius, Chapter 1 from A Place to Belong: Community, Order and Everyday Space in Calvert, Newfoundland (University of Georgia Press, 1991), 3-25.

Carol Kammen, Introduction and Chapter 4 of On Doing Local History: Reflections on What Local Historians Do, Why, and What It Means (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1986).

Dolores Hayden, Introduction and Chapter 5, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Boston & London: MIT, 1997).

Video on the New York Tenement Museum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB7Kim2qYBE

Review Westmorland: A Great Place to Live and Westmorland: A Walking Tour

WORKSHOP: ARCHIVAL SOURCES
UNIT 2: THEORIES AND METHODS FOR STUDYING SUBURBAN LANDSCAPES
FEB. 27 SUBURBAN BUILDINGS-LANDSCAPES-CULTURES

Dolores Hayden, Chapters 1 and 2 of Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth (New York: Pantheon, 2003).

Robert Fishman, “Introduction” and Chapter 6 “Los Angeles: Suburban Metropolis” in Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 3-17, 155-81.

Adam Rome, Introduction and Chapter 1, “Levitt’s Progress,” The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Cambridge, 2001), 1-43.

Kenneth Jackson, Introduction and Chapter 16, “Retrospect and Prospect,” from Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Oxford, 1985).



WORKSHOP: GOVERNMENTAL SOURCES I: CENSUS ROLLS
MARCH 3 NO CLASS – ATTEND ONE “METHOD WORKSHOP” (TBA)
MARCH 10 QUALITATIVE VERSUS QUANTITATIVE METHODS

Russell Barber and Francis Berdan, Chapter 8 from The Emperors Mirror: Understanding Culture through Primary Sources (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998), 178-201.

Konrad H. Jarausch and Kenneth A. Hardy, Quantitative Methods for Historians (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), Chapter 1, “The Scope of Quantitative History,” pp. 1- 11.

Powerpoint on Qualitative Methods www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/david.harvey/AEF801/MBQualMeth.ppt‎

James Mayo, “Effects of street forms on suburban neighboring behavior.” Environment and Behavior 11 (1979): 375-97.

Annmarie Adams, “The Eichler Home: Intention and Experience in Postwar Suburbia,” In Gender, Class ad Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, V, ed. Carter Hudgins and Elizabeth Collins Cromley (Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press), 164-78.



WORKSHOP: GOVERNMENTAL SOURCES II: TAX RECORDS AND PROPERTY DEEDS
MARCH 19 SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS
MARCH 27 SUBURBAN SCALES – MICRO/MACRO, LOCAL/GLOBAL

TED talk on big history



http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history.html

Dell Upton, “Starting from Baalbek: Noah, Solomon, Saladin, and the Fluidity of Architectural History,” JSAH 68 (December 2009): 457-465.

Anthony King, Introduction and Chapter 4, The Bungalow: The Production of a Global Phenomenon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

Anna Vemer Andrzejewski, “Building Privacy and Community: Surveillance in a Postwar American Suburban Development in Madison, Wisconsin.” Landscape Journal, vol 28, no. 1 (January 2009): 40-55.



WORKSHOP: NEWSPAPERS
APRIL 3 PRODUCTION OF SUBURBAN SPACE(S)

Henri LeFebvre, The Production of Space, 1974 (read at least Chapter 1 – link online only). http://selforganizedseminar.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/lefebvre_production_space.pdf

Dolores Hayden, “Urban Landscape History,” In Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), 14-43.

Alan Walks, “Suburbanism as Way of Life,” Urban Studies 50 (2013): 1471-88.



ANOTHER ARTICLE TBA

WORKSHOP: TYPES AND TYPOLOGIES

APRIL 10 EVERYDAY TACTICS IN SUBURBAN SPACES

READ: Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the City” and “Spatial Stories,” from The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley and London: Univ. of California Press, 2011 (reprint)). ONLINE ONLY http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/theory/DeCerteau-Practice-Excerpts.pdf

Rich Schein, “The Place of Landscape: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting an American Scene,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87 (December 1997): 660-80.

Sarah Fayen Scarlett, Crossing the Milwaukee River:
A Case Study in Mapping Mobility and Class Geographies, in Landscapes of Mobility: Culture, Politics and Placemaking, ed. Arijit Sen and Jennifer Johung (London: Ashgate, 2013), 87-104.

Thomas J. Sugrue, “Jim Crow’s Last Stand: The Struggle to Integrate Levittown,” in Second Suburb: Levittown, Pennsylvania, ed. Dianne Harris (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), 175-200.

WORKSHOP: BUILDING GIS DATABASES
APRIL 17 POWER/DIFFERENCE IN THE SUBURBS

Sharon Zukin, “The Mill and the Mall: Power and Homogenaiety in Westchester County,” Landscape of Power: From Detroit to Disney World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 135-77.

Dianne Harris, Intro and Chapter * from Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2013).

Setha Low, Excerpts from Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America (2003), reproduced in The Suburb Reader, ed. Becky M. Nickolades and Andrew Wiese (New York and London: Routledge, 2006), 460-67.



workshop: presentations and research papers
APRIL 24 PRESENTATIONS
MAY 1 PRESENTATIONS
MAY 8 PRESENTATIONS


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