[PAST EVENT] Art & Art History welcomes Professor Louis Nelson
Access & Features
- Open to the public
University of Virginia's Vice Provost, Louis Nelson, will lecture on "The Architecture of Democracy in a Landscape of Slavery: Design and Construction at Jefferson's University"
The University of Virginia is rightly celebrated as a monument in the history of American and even world architecture. Designed by revolutionary Thomas Jefferson, the university’s architectural importance has been acknowledged through its adoption by UNESCO as a world heritage site. And much has been said of the design’s variation of pavilions so that each might be “neat and chaste” examples “for the architectural lecturer.” It was and is architecture as pedagogy. It was also an “academical village” that forced an innovative living learning community of faculty and students. But what does it mean that this world monument to the enlightenment was also a landscape of slavery? How did it function to educate and graduate scores of students toward a life of public service in defense of a nascent democracy while also depending on the institution of slavery that denied that same democracy to half its population? This talk is an exploration of this contradiction seen through the lens of both the university’s original construction drawings, through a careful analysis of the early historical record, and a close examination of the landscape as a series of spaces dedicated to the everyday activities that supported Jefferson’s academical village.