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Interpreting Landscapes of Enslavement

October 25, 2019, 8:45 a.m.– 5:30 p.m. | Garden and Landscape Studies Colloquium

Anticipating a symposium on the legacies of segregation and spatial inequality in cities around the world in spring 2020, the fall 2019 colloquium focuses on strategies for revealing and interpreting histories of slavery and the legacies of racial injustice that are slavery’s aftermath as they are found in the landscapes of eastern North America. Featuring curators from such historic sites as Montpelier, Monticello, and Georgetown University, as well as scholars, journalists, and photographers investigating Confederate memorials and antebellum industrial landscapes, the colloquium explores ways of recovering and sharing the landscape narratives of enslaved humans, and the violence perpetrated on their descendants, in site histories and public education. The event features both prepared talks and roundtable discussions. Graduate students researching related topics also have an opportunity to share their work and receive feedback from significant scholars in the landscape disciplines. If appropriate, selected presentations from this colloquium might be considered for inclusion in the publication of papers from the spring 2020 symposium.

We are assembling scholars, journalists, and activists to engage in roundtable discussions in addition to a small number of scholarly presentations. Opportunities to discuss emerging research and lessons learned by those sharing the work are emphasized.


  • Niya Bates, African American History and Getting Word Oral History Project, Monticello
  • Elizabeth Chew, Museum Programs, Montpelier
  • Brandon Dillard, Special Programs, Monticello
  • Elgin Cleckley, Design Thinking, University of Virginia
  • Jillian Galle, Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
  • Hilary N. Green, Department of Gender and Race Studies,  The University of Alabama
  • Fraser D. Neiman, Department of Archaeology, Monticello
  • Brian Palmer, Brian Palmer Photography/Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Ashley Rogers, Museum Operations, Whitney Plantation
  • Adam Rothman, Georgetown Slavery Archive, Georgetown University
  • Ibrahima Seck, University Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar, Senegal) / Whitney Plantation


Speaker Biographies

This colloquium is by invitation only.

Programs in urban landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks are supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant focuses on “Democracy and the Urban Landscape: Race, Identity, and Difference.”

Image: Detail from engraving by B. Tanner, 1827 (Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia).