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From Turnips to Lawn Chairs: Allotment Gardens in Europe, 1920 to 1975

Micheline Nilsen, Indiana University South Bend, Fellow 2014–2015

This project is a chronological continuation of a published study of allotment gardens in Britain, France, and Germany between 1870 and 1919. Under advance contract with the University of Virginia Press, I had begun preliminary literature research and, during the summer of 2014, had conducted archival work in England. For the fellowship term, my first priority was to access and consult the physical and digital items that are available at Dumbarton Oaks or at Harvard and not as readily available elsewhere. In addition to this bibliographic research, I read key texts for content and references to additional sources. I shifted from exploratory reading to preparing to write in early November, when I was able to articulate in greater detail and fill in from notes and readings the outline for each book chapter. From the point of view of content, some topics encouraged further analysis and reconsideration. These include, for instance, the rich theoretical landscape discourse steeped in the classical tradition in France as of the 1980s, the complex role of allotments within the East German political context, the role of design professionals in the creation of allotments outside of Britain, France, and Germany, especially in Denmark and Austria, and the complicated history of allotments in the low countries (Belgium and the Netherlands).