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Field School in Buildings, Landscapes and Cultures
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When: 6/4/2012
Where: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
United States
Contact: Prof. Arijit Sen

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Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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

This 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.” Students will receive training in site documentation (including photography, measured drawings, digital documentation, audio-visual production), historic interpretation of buildings and landscapes (focusing on how to "read” buildings within its material, political, social, cultural and economic contexts), and primary source research (including oral history, archival research, architectural analysis). They will create site reports on historic buildings and cultural landscapes that will become part of the historical record of Wisconsin.

This summer, our focus will be on the Thurston Woods Neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Originally part of the Town of Granville, Thurston Woods was annexed by the City of Milwaukee in 1956. While the neighborhood had reached higher densities due to infill development between the 1930s and 1950s, many still associate Thurston Woods with a pastoral landscape. Thurston Woods has a rich collection of vernacular housing types, including Arts and Craft, Cape Cod, Craftsman, and mid-century modern. Berryland Public Housing Development was originally built for veterans returning from the Second World War. Other local spaces of historical and cultural significance include Agape Community Center, Christ Memorial Lutheran School, Jared C. Bruce Academy and Thurston Woods Campus School. Thurston Woods is also a perfect case study for a park system. Examples such as McGovern Park, Schoenecker Park, Smith Park, and Havenwoods State Forest show how parks reflect our cultures changing values and outlook towards spaces of recreation, wilderness, leisure, health, commodity and spirituality.

The five-week course calendar covers a broad array of academic skills. Week 1 will focus on drawing documentation with a workshop on technical drawing; no experience is necessary. Week 2 will involve on oral histories and ethnography workshops. Week 3 is centered on mapping, archives, and multimedia analysis. Week 4 and 5 will be devoted to producing final reports and digital documents. Nationally recognized faculty directing portions of this school include Jeffrey E.Klee, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Michael H. Frisch, Professor and Senior Research Scholar, University at Buffalo, Jasmine Alinder, Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Michael Gordon, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Matthew Jarosz, Associate Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Group travel, documentary equipment, and supplies, will be provided, but students must be able to fund their own meals and modest lodging accommodations while in the field.

For more information, please contact Prof. Arijit Sen at


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