Friday, March 21, 2014

Summer 2014 BLC Field School

Picturing Milwaukee: Washington Park

Summer 2014 Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Field School
Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Class Dates: June 9-July 11, 2014; Final exhibit: July 25, 2014
Preparatory Workshop (attendance required), June 2. 2014, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, UWM

We will be accepting a maximum of 15 students.  You may take a maximum of 6 credits by signing up for UW Milwaukee or Madison summer schools.  

For UWM credits, choose from the list below.  
ARCH 190 Special Topics: Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Field School.  –3 cr.
ARCH 534 Field Study. –3 cr.
ARCH 561 Measured Drawing for Architects. –3 cr.
ARCH 562 Preservation Technology Laboratory. –3 cr.
ARCH 391/791 Independent Studies for Undergraduate/Graduate Students (Directed Research). –3 cr.

This summer course provides students an immersion experience in the field recording of the built environment and cultural landscapes and an opportunity to learn how to write history literally “from the ground up.”  The 2014 field school focuses on Washington Park, a racially, economically and culturally diverse neighborhood known for its artist communities and active neighborhood groups.  A recent influx of Somali and Burmese refugees has added to an existing diverse group of white, African American and Hmong residents.

This summer we will study a variety of homes in this neighborhood—everyday residences, boarded up homes, refabricated and reused homes, homes transformed into stores and workplaces, homes as works of art, homes remembered in family histories and homes in domestic worlds.  As cultural resources, saturated with diverse values, memories, stories and imaginations, our homes matter, because they represent how we feel about our community and how we value our environment.   This project seeks to employ the enduring creativity of storytelling, the power of digital humanities, and depth of local knowledge in order to galvanize Milwaukee residents to talk about their homes as repositories of community memory, spaces of caring and markers of civic pride. 

The five-week course calendar covers a broad array of academic skills. Workshops during Week 1 will focus on photography, measured drawings, documentation and technical drawings; no prior experience is necessary. Week 2 will include workshops on oral history interviewing and digital ethnography. Week 3 is centered on mapping and archival research. Week 4 and 5 will be devoted to producing final reports and multi-media documentaries. Students will learn how to “read” buildings within their urban material, social, ecological and cultural contexts, create reports on historic buildings and cultural landscapes and produce multimedia documentaries. Nationally recognized faculty directing portions of this school include Jeffrey E. Klee, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Anna Andrzejewski, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michael H. Frisch, Professor and Senior Research Scholar, University at Buffalo, Erin Dorbin, photographer, documentarian and historian, Jasmine Alinder, Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Michael Gordon, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Steve Wetzel, Assistant Professor of Film, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Arijit Sen, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and Matthew Jarosz, Associate Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Documentary equipment, and supplies, will be provided, but students must be able to fund their own travel, meals and modest lodging accommodations (if they are from out of town). 
For more information please contact Prof. Arijit Sen at

Thursday, August 29, 2013



As you're gearing up for the new academic year, I wanted to bring a particular program to your attention. INOVA will be one of over 30 sites from around the world to live stream the 2013 Creative Time Summit. Creative Time is an esteemed organization dedicated to art's role in shaping public life. This annual conference takes on important topics at the intersection of art and social justice through presentations by artists, thinkers, and activists. This year's theme is "Art, Place and Dislocation in the 21st Century" and features a fantastic, diverse list of participants including keynotes from Lucy Lippard and Rebecca Solnit. You can find more information here:  or on the attached fact sheet.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

BLC Student conducts an arts and community engagement project at Milwaukee

Elsewhere art is expanding around MIlwaukee: ART TRANSFORMS TWENTY BLOCKS OF FOND DU LAC AVENUE
(May 20th, 2013) IN:SITE, an art organization fostering temporary public art, with major support from the City of Milwaukee Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation, will  open a yearlong art initiative June 29th along Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee, from 17th to 37th Street.  “Art on Fond du Lac” is IN:SITE’s most cohesive installation.  It will make this prominent artery more attractive, act as a catalyst for neighborhood development, increase transportation safety, and create cooperation between community partners.

Teams of volunteers from the area will be helping Chelsea Wait paint patterns on and inside windows at multiple sites along Fond du Lac Avenue. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday, November 19, 2012

BLC Affiliate News

UW-Madison archaeologists to mount new expedition to Troy

Troy, the palatial city of prehistory, sacked by the Greeks through trickery and a fabled wooden horse, will be excavated anew beginning in 2013 by a cross-disciplinary team of archaeologists and other scientists, it was announced Monday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BLC at Urban History Association

This past weekend, UW-Milwaukee BLC students Sarah Keogh and Caitlin Boyle and former affiliate Andrea Truitt (M.A. Art History, UW-Madison) represented the program at the Urban History Association conference in New York City. Their panel, “Resolving Cultural Contact Through Placemaking,” engaged the conference theme The Cosmopolitan City by presenting urban placemaking as a process by which cosmopolitanism—defined as conceptual and performative movement between cultural frameworks—is achieved. Truitt examined the historical development of Cass Street Park in Milwaukee as an object of the “suburban ethic” in twentieth century urban planning. She argued that the city led development of the park exemplifies the constant tension posed by governmental definitions of urban space. Next, Keogh used compared two cross sections of the Milwaukee River to show that swimming schools and leisure clubs produced two types of space—picturesque and functional—according to their location and the status of their users. She argued that these institutions created distinct places to ameliorate the class tensions posed by cultural notions of nature and urbanity, and that the swimming schools operated as counter-cultural spaces for their working class users.  Finally, Boyle contextualized the “first annual” Italian Festival in Buffalo, New York in 1976 by comparing the festive uses and mundane concerns for street aesthetics in 1956 and 1976. She argued that the emergence of a self-conscious Italian identity in the latter year was rooted in a longer history of strategies to promote the neighborhood as it struggled amidst post World War II disinvestment. John McCarthy, Associate Professor of History at Robert Morris University, served as chair and commentator of the panel. His comments after the presentations initiated a lively discussion with audience members. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For those working on ecologies, embodiment and material culture

The 26th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)

PLACE: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA)

DATES: Sept 27-30, 2012

From its inception, SLSA has distinguished itself from other humanistic scholarly societies through its sustained interest in the nonhuman.  Not only does SLSA concern itself with nonhuman actants like tools, bodies, networks, animals, climate, media, or biomes but it is also engaged with such nonhumanistic academic disciplines as mathematics, computing, and the natural and physical sciences. SLSA 2012 takes up the “nonhuman turn” that has been emerging in the arts, humanities, and social sciences over the past few decades.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Breakfast Reception for the opening of the exhibition "Advancing Human Progress: Frank P. Zeidler's Vision for Milwaukee"

Dear BLC affiliates and students. The UWM Urban Studies Program invites you to the opening of “Advancing Human Progress: Frank P. Zeidler’s Vision for Milwaukee.” Scroll down to read an email from Dr. Jasmine Alinder describing the project and event. 
Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 BLC student symposium

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM | Architecture Resource Center, AUP 146, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, 2131 E Hartford Avenue, Milwaukee WI 53211, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Friday, April 13, 2012

Job Announcement

Historic Preservation Summer Intern in the Department of Planning and Development

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Material Matters, 2012 Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars

Delaware, April 13 - 14, 2012
Registration deadline: Apr 14, 2012
Material Matters, 2012 Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Field School in Buildings, landscapes and cultures

Field School in Buildings, landscapes and cultures

Field School in Buildings, Landscapes and Cultures
Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Department of History University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Summer 2012
Schedule: Preparatory Workshop (attendance required), June 4, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Class Dates: June 11 - July 14, 2012
Course Listing (subject to additional cross-listings, please inquire): ARCH 534, ARCH 390

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fear of Being Useful

Fear of Being Useful
January 5, 2012 - 3:00am
"When the going gets tough, the tough take accounting." With those succinct words in a June 2010 op ed, New York Times columnist David Brooks summed up the conventional wisdom on the current crisis of the humanities. In an age when a higher education is increasingly about moving quickly through a curriculum streamlined to prepare students for a job, the humanities have no practical utility. As Brooks observes, "when the job market worsens, many students figure they can’t indulge in an English or a history major," a fact that explains why the "humanities now play bit roles when prospective students take their college tours. The labs are more glamorous than the libraries."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Course - Public History Methods

History 715: Research Methods in Local History 
Instructor: Michael Gordon
Thursdays, 4pm-6:40 PM, Holton 341

This course offers training in methodologies that are vital for any individual interested in historically oriented work in museums, historical societies, historical preservation, genealogy, and documentary film. The course is required for students pursuing an MA in public history and is of interest to graduate students in history and other disciplines including architecture, anthropology, geography, sociology, and political science. Students will read five examples of local histories—a frontier town (Jacksonville, Illinois), a mid-nineteenth century changing urban neighborhood (New York’s Five Points), a late nineteenth and early twentieth century urban working-class neighborhood (Chicago’s stockyards area), a city and its environmental context (Seattle, Washington), and a new ethnic community (Los Angeles’s Mexican American neighborhoods).  Workshops will explore methodologies and sources. Students must write critical reviews of two assigned books, do assignments learning how to write for popular audiences, and, as a final class project, conceptualize a local study of a small Wisconsin town or city during the Depression of the 1930s in the form of a proposal for a master’s thesis or seminar research paper. History 715 is the required research methods course for UWM public history students.  Other students are welcome to enroll.  

Dr. Michael Gordon led UWM’s Public History Program until his retirement in 2011. Author of The Orange Riots: Irish Political Violence in New York City, 1870 and 1871 (Cornell U. Press, 1993), His work intersects with the fields of public, oral, labor, and Wisconsin history.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Milwaukee-Madison commute

Commuting between the two campuses? Try this

Monday, October 24, 2011



Sponsored by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) for a 12-Week HABS Summer Research

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BLC cosponsored Class Symposium and Conference

You are invited to attend a BLC class symposium on Wednesday November 2, 2011 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The event precedes a public lecture by Michael Rios at Greene Hall (3:00 -4:30 PM). Rios bio is here:
The BLC cosponsored event continues with an international conference on Critical Refugee Studies on November 3-4, 2011 at the Student Union. On Thursday November 3, at 3:00 PM Rios will be joined by Romola Sanyal at a plenary session on place and politics of displacement. The full conference schedule is here:

Please attend and kindly forward this email to your students and interested colleagues.

Through the Looking Glass: Microscopic Observations, Telescopic Visions
Politics of Ethics, Memory and Placemaking and the Learning From New Orleans Integrated Studio
The Learning from New Orleans Studio has always been an experiment with the myriad ways we read a city and its cultural landscapes. This year we turned our attention to the epistemologies of scale.  Some of us looked at New Orleans through a microscopic vision of everyday life and rebuilding of the social and cultural fabric of the Lower Ninth Ward while others explored the geology of the Mississippi River and its deltaic hinterland.  We examined how our understanding of memory, value and place changes as we look at the same city from different scales. We looked from the two ends of a telescope and struggled to resolve the contradictions arising from the two ways of seeing.
Is it true that the central conundrum facing our profession as it attempts to be relevant in the 21st Century is our inability to resolve how different point of views produce different realities?
In this studio we are committed to enriching the building professions of the 21st Century by challenging students and professionals to rethink the tools with which they think, look, and intervene in the built environment. In doing so we aim to produce cosmopolitan citizen-designers ready to take on emerging challenges of the new century: global warming, environmental disasters, globalization, transnational migrations of people, goods, money, images, and ideas.
We encourage scholars, students and community members to participate in this symposium. We are interested in hearing multiple voices, thoughts and knowledge. Unless we account for local knowledge, academic scholarship, scientific discourse and everyday practices our approach to the issues of the new century remains lopsided, bigoted, narrow and incomplete. In order to begin that discourse this symposium invites community members, scholars, students and teachers to debate how scale and perspectives influence values, memories, and experiences of place and placemaking.
Wednesday November 2, 2011, School of Architecture and Urban Planning Commons
11 AM – 1 PM
(seating is limited, so please come early)
10:00-11:00 AM Student Exhibit
11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Students from the Learning from New Orleans studio narrate how their methods, process, and tools of analysis helped them understand the city even while raising unresolvable questions and contradictions. They will approach this issue as citizens and professionals engaged in life and practice in the 21st Century and comment on how this experience helps them rethink professional practice.
Michael Rios speaks on the topic and comments on student presentations
12:30-1:00 PM Moderated Discussions open to all
This is a Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Event. This event is sponsored by the Center for International Education, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Hmong Diaspora Studies, Diversity and Climate Office, Plymouth Church, College of Letters and Sciences, Union Programming, Center for 21st C Studies, Cultures and Communities Program, The Provost’s Office, Center for Jewish Studies, School of Architecture and Urban Planning

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Please join us at the Milwaukee Art Museum for a lecture by BLC Ph.D. Candidate Sarah Fayen Scarlett.

Lecture: The Chinese Scholar Pattern: Style, Merchant Identity, and the English Imagination

Thursday, September 29, 2011, 6:15 PM

Dig deeper into the Chinese influence on Western culture, with Sarah Fayen Scarlett, PhD candidate, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and former Chipstone Foundation curator.

A gallery walk through the exhibition Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710–1830 and reception will follow.

Sponsored by The Chipstone Foundation

Lubar Auditorium
Free with Museum admission

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Call for Papers, Reviews, Photo-essays and Opinion Essays

South Asia Journal for Culture Volume 4, 2010

Call for Papers, Reviews, Photo-essays and Opinion Essays

On behalf of the Editorial Board of the South Asia Journal for Culture, the Colombo Institute for the Advanced Study of Society and Culture would like to invite all interested individuals to submit papers, reviews, photo-essays and opinion essays for consideration for publication in the fourth issue of the South Asia Journal for Culture. While no page limit is set for submissions, standard academic practices in the social sciences and humanities with regard to stylistic conventions such as references and footnotes are important considerations. More specifically, all references should be inserted in the main text within parentheses (eg. Last name of author, date of publication: page number/s) and the complete reference details of all texts should be presented at the end of the paper within a bibliography. All essays should opt for endnotes where necessary and refrain from the use of footnotes. For additional details on general stylistic matters, potential writers can write to the Colombo Institute or refer the Chicago Manual of Style (15th Revised Edition, 2003).

Volume 5, 2011 ‐ Special Issue on Built‐Space/ Guest Editors: Anoma Pieris & Shanti Jayawardene

Monday, July 18, 2011

CFP VAF 2012 in madison wisconsin

Call for Papers for VAF 2012 Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin

The Vernacular Architecture Forum invites paper proposals for its Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, June 6-10, 2012. Papers may address vernacular and everyday buildings, sites, or cultural landscapes worldwide. Submissions on all vernacular topics are welcome, but we encourage papers that explore topics related to the following conference themes: the relationship between rural landscapes and regional urban centers; placemaking as it pertains to the relationship between work and home; regional trends in modernism (particularly in the Upper Midwest); ethnicity and heritage preservation; and evolution of Midwestern rural buildings and landscapes. We particularly welcome papers that explore the relationship of environmental history and cultural landscapes around these themes. Papers should be twenty minutes in length, although proposals for complete sessions, roundtable discussions, or other innovative means that facilitate scholarly discourse are also welcome.

Proposals must be one page, fewer than 400 words, and include paper title, author's name, and email address. You may include up to two images with your submission. Please state clearly the argument of the paper and explain the methodology and content. Attach a one-page CV to your proposal submission. The deadline for proposals is September 12, 2011.

Presenters must deliver their papers in person and be VAF members at the time of the conference. Speakers who do not register for the conference by April 1, 2012 will be withdrawn. Please do not submit an abstract if you are not committed to attending the papers session on Saturday June 9. There may be limited financial assistance, in the form of Presenter’s Fellowships, to offset registration costs to students and recent graduates.

Electronic submissions of proposals and CVs in Word format are preferred. Please send email proposals to Andrew Dolkart at or hard copies to:

Andrew Dolkart:
Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
413 Avery Hall
New York, NY 10027

For general information about the Madison conference, please contact:

Anna Vemer Andrzejewski
Department of Art History & the Buildings-Landscapes Cultures Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Van Oudenallen, 1944- 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Saturday morning June 18, 2011-Harry, aged 67, slipped peacefully away at home, after a short battle with cancer, surrounded by his family. Harry was a senior professor and scholar associated with the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures area. The faculty and students at BLC remember him for his steadfast support and leadership. He led the urban rebuilding and New Orleans effort as part of the BLC curriculum.

Born in Den Hague, Netherlands in 1944, he moved two years later to Singapore, spent the next four years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and finally moved to Long Island, New York where he graduated from Bethpage HS in 1962. Harry received his BA from Harvard College in 1966, and a Masters Equivalent in Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1971. Unique, absolutely-while at Harvard he played football, and was the first left footed soccer style punter.

His career, service and projects would keep Harry smiling and traveling for the rest of his life. He joined the faculty at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM in 1979, and from the very start excelled as a teacher. There are hundreds of students who were profoundly influenced and mentored by Harry. Among the awards he won in his career, perhaps the ones he was most proud of were, the UWM Undergraduate Teaching Award and the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award. He was, this year, elected by his peers at the ACSA to serve as the Vice Chancellor of this distinguished group of scholars and teachers.

Harry was a contagiously likable person and will be remembered for his enormous smile, and rich laughter. He was, though, a talented and skilled professional with a substantial career. He was a founding member, with Nick Cascarano, in 1996 of Architectura, Inc., an award winning firm that produced outstanding architectural designs. He won many awards-winning or placing in design competitions which included the: Milwaukee Lakefront National Competition, Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Master Plan Competition, Merit Hall Competition, Timber Holdings Competition, Pier Wisconsin Competition, Newark Visitor Center Competition, Denver Public Market Competition, and the Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial.

We will remember you Harry and we will strive at BLC to reach the standards that you expected of us.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fieldschool 2011

We have a blog for this summer's fieldschool. Check it out at

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Manu Sobti Wins Award

Professor Manu P. Sobti's research proposal, "Escaping Flatland: (Re)Writing the Histories, Geographies and Borderland Ecologies of Water", written in collaboration with Timothy J. Ehlinger (Biology) and Ryan B. Holifield (Geography) has been awarded funding under C21's TRANSDISCIPLINARY CHALLENGES FOR 21ST CENTURY STUDIES RFP 2011. The $280,000 funding shall support research for two years on a unique project that examines borderland ecologies at the global scale, including detailed studies of the the Mississippi Basin, the Danube Delta, the Oxus River (Amu Darya) and Aral Sea region, and the Ganges Delta. It shall provide opportunities for doctoral students within theBuilding-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) Program, graduate students and interested faculty, via multiple seminars, a publication series, and the development of a comprehensive course syllabus.
This is the first-ever venture that allows the humanities to converse with the sciences at UWM and make lasting change.