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Creating the Kangxi Landscape: Gardens and the Mediation of Qing Imperial Identity at Bishu Shanzhuang

Stephen Whiteman, Stanford University, Junior Fellow 2009/10

During my extraordinary term at Dumbarton Oaks, I have focused primarily on completing my dissertation, which explores the role of landscape and garden building in the formation of imperial identity in the early Qing dynasty. Although distracted at times by an extensive (and ultimately successful) job search, nonetheless I have accomplished a great deal during my appointment.

Thanks to the efforts of library staff and the unparalleled electronic resources available through Harvard, I have been able to delve much more deeply into primary sources, particularly texts, prints, and maps. I have also written substantially, finishing two full chapters and parts of three more, as well as creating numerous maps, completing several substantial annotated translations, and starting a growing database of site-specific data. Collectively, this volume of work, made possible through the support of Dumbarton Oaks, will permit me to defend my dissertation this coming fall. Most importantly, Dumbarton Oaks has provided me the opportunity to think deeply about my work, to conceive of new connections, to formulate and reformulate ideas. The program in Garden and Landscape Studies offered me something I had not previously enjoyed, colleagues who are deeply knowledgeable about the history and theory of landscape and who were eager to share their expertise with me. Thanks to their input, advice, and criticism, as well as that of many others at Dumbarton Oaks, the scope and depth of my project have been greatly expanded.

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