Lines on the land can determine our political rights, our ethnic identities and our inhabitation abilities. Landscapes and everyday spaces become the records of the powers of statecraft, the instruments of territorial division, the customs of inhabitants, the contests of politics, the social construction of races and the symbols of society. This course examines the development of landscape as the record of the political subject against the nation state — the ways in which ordinary inhabitation of land entangles each of us with large political structures. This entanglement is productive – cultural agency can change, topple or expand nations. The inquiry tracks borders and boundaries from the US/Mexican border to former Yugoslavia to internally within the American city. Students will review interpretive practices including cultural geography, historic preservation, political economy, critical landscape study and artistic production. Field outings will draw out the power structures that create, sustain, erase and alter landscapes with national identities.


Spring 2019 Syllabus