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Nel Cuore di Tufo: Landscape, Stone, and Regional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Tuscia

Katherine Coty, University of Washington, Junior Fellow 2019–2020

My time at Dumbarton Oaks was split between researching and writing my dissertation concerning the gardens of sixteenth-century Tuscia. Months of uninterrupted reading meant that I was able to take the time and care to completely reimagine and restructure the outline of my project and to elevate my arguments into a form that best complements the subject matter. It does not seem coincidental that my decision to frame my examination of this clutch of gardens as an erudite, Renaissance-style discorso about landscape, nature, and identity came about while at Dumbarton Oaks. Daily conversations with other scholars were instrumental in pushing and shaping my thinking and forcing me to reconsider how Renaissance patrons spoke among each other about both their gardens and villegiatura in general.

Over the course of the fellowship, my dissertation grew from nascent arguments as expressed in a proposal to several substantial chapters. I wrote key sections that set the foundation for the bulk of the dissertation and blocked out the rest of the chapters in detail. The library’s resources were invaluable to me at this pivotal stage in my project, helping me transform inchoate hypotheses into measurable progress toward the completion of my dissertation.