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Brian Bockelman

“Palm Modernism (and its Critics) in Urban Landscape Architecture: From Old World to New, 1820s–1920s”

Brian Bockelman

Fellow (Spring 2023), Garden and Landscape Studies

Building on a nearly completed microhistory that examines a boisterous cultural and political conflict over the planting of palm trees in the central plaza of Buenos Aires in 1883, Brian is using the Garden and Landscape collections at Dumbarton Oaks to investigate the rise of palms as city trees on both sides of the Atlantic in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is particularly interested in the role played by colonial/post-colonial cities in this history; the changing symbolism of the palm in modern landscape architecture; and the strong satirical and nativist reactions to its appearance in urban environments.

Brian Bockelman is Professor of History at Ripon College in Wisconsin. He received his BA in Religion and Latin American Studies at Dartmouth College and his MA and PhD in History at Brown University. Before arriving at Ripon in 2008, Brian taught at Brown University, Harvard University, and Dickinson College. His research, which focuses on the cultural, intellectual, and environmental history of modern Argentina, has been supported by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, and a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.