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Lay Ritual Practices in Gardens and Landscapes

Garden and Landscape Symposium, Spring 2003

This symposium will aim at better understanding the reception of gardens and landscapes by focusing on a limited number of lay ritual practices in gardens and landscapes in a large variety of cultural contexts. It will give rise to discussions of the formative functions of gardens and landscapes for cultural and social life.

The symposium will draw examples from very different times and cultures: Chinese landscapes under Mongol rule; Caribbean and African-American landscapes; public parks in Japan; Japanese gardens in America; gardens in France and Holland in the 17th and 18th century; aristocratic gardens, kitchen gardens, and public gardens in Great Britain from the 18th century to the present; and freemason gardens in 19th century Italy. It will discuss a few very different rituals, ranging from walking or bathing to burial, marriage and political slandering. Thus it will offer an unusual perspective for cross-cultural discussion of social practices in gardens and landscapes. It will also introduce a very rich picture of the variety of garden practices that deserve scholarly attention.