Among various human interventions in landscape, war has left one of the most lasting and eloquent records, literally inscribed in the face of the earth. Military landscapes can assume different forms and functions: vertical, as the Great Wall of China, or horizontal, as the Federal Interstate Highway System; overground and geometrically controlled, as the earthworks of the Renaissance trace italienne, or sunken and disguised by local topography, as the trenches of World War I. They could be high-security sites, as the Pentagon, or tourist attractions, as Himeji Castle in Japan; curated, as the Gettysburg Battlefield, or neglected, as the outskirts of the Savannah River nuclear reservation site. In their most familiar form, they are national memorials as sites of remembrance and commemoration, which—as places where historical memory becomes translated into myth—continue to have powerful emotional, political, and cultural resonance.
The Garden and Landscape Studies program at Dumbarton Oaks is planning a symposium, to be held on May 4–5, 2018, which aims to reevaluate the role of war as a fundamental form of human interaction with land and a decisive factor in the ongoing transformation of the natural environment. What are the challenges and theoretical implications of understanding military infrastructure as landscape from the disciplinary perspectives of cultural geography, architectural history, and environmental studies? And what is the role of the practice of landscape architecture in shaping, curating, and giving meaning to such landscapes? Please send a 200-word abstract and a short two-page CV, to Anatole Tchikine (tchikinea[at]doaks.org) and John Davis (jdavis[at]fas.harvard.edu).