Natchitoches in the Red River Valley: A Confluence of Cultures

by Brenda Williams, ASLA

Front Street, Natchitoches
Front Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana / image: Brenda Williams

The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation
Natchitoches, Louisiana, April 2-4, 2020
Deadline for Paper and Poster Submissions: January 10, 2020
Deadline for Student Scholarship Applications: January 17, 2020

The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation (AHLP) is pleased to announce its 2020 annual meeting theme of Natchitoches in the Red River Valley: A Confluence of Cultures, to be held in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Program Committee invites proposals for papers and summaries of works in progress that will promote lively and thoughtful discussions regarding cultural landscape conservation and preservation. In particular, submissions that address the role and significance of transnational immigration, cultural exchange and adaptation (especially from French, Caddo Indian, Spanish, African and American cultures), landscapes of segregation, enslavement and the establishment of free communities, topics regarding political and religious landscapes, and examples of best practices regarding the conservation and preservation of historic and cultural landscapes are all actively encouraged.

These themes will be reinforced by organized visits to locations such as Los Adaes, the former capitol of Spanish Texas; the Melrose Plantation, founded by a free person of color and transformed into an artist colony; the Magnolia Plantation, where we will experience a bousillage demonstration; and a trip to downtown Natchitoches to tour the national historic landmark district, including stops at the Kaffee-Frederick General Mercantile, the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and the Lemee House.

We also encourage a wide range of proposals concerning topics associated with the conference theme, such as, but not limited to:

  • Natchitoches along the Cane River: confluence of cultures.
  • The significance of rivers and roads as networks of exchange.
  • “Last Landscapes” – the role of cemeteries, churchyards and burial grounds as places of mourning and grief, but also as celebrations of life and renewal.
  • Landscape conservation and preservation – current issues, best practices, and innovative policies.
  • Topics concerning race, ethnicity, racial equality, social justice, civil rights, and the landscape.
  • Issues regarding landscapes of production and consumption.
  • Global climate change and the implications on landscape conservation and preservation.

While presentations that address these topics are especially welcome, this should not discourage those wishing to address any issue relating to the theory and practice of landscape preservation and conservation.

Double row of former slave/tenant farmer houses with remnant gardens at Magnolia Plantation, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Derry, Louisiana / image: Brenda Williams

Proposals are invited within three categories of presentations; however, because of time constraints, individuals may submit one proposal only for the first two categories:

  1. Papers: 25-30 minute papers addressing issues in landscape preservation theory, practice, or education.
  2. Summaries of Works-in-Progress: 10-15 minute discussions of on-going projects.
  3. Posters: Graphic presentations of projects using appropriate illustrative techniques (one 30″ by 40″ panel is recommended).

Papers:
Please submit an abstract of 500 words or less outlining the topic of the paper, its context within theory, practice, or education, its timeliness, principal findings or conclusions, and questions for discussion.

Summaries of Works-in-Progress:
Please submit a proposal of 250 words or less outlining the work-in-progress, its context and potential significance, and questions for discussion.

Posters:
Please submit a proposal of 250 words or less outlining the project, its context and significance, and questions for discussion.

All abstracts and proposals must be submitted electronically as email attachments—these should be Microsoft Word documents arranged as follows:

  • Title page: this should note the type of presentation proposed, then give the title of the presentation, the author’s name and complete mailing address, institution/firm affiliation, phone number and email address.
  • Content pages: these should note the type of presentation and the title, and then provide an abstract or proposal within the word limits set out above—please do not include your name or any identifying personal information on content pages.

The deadline for all submissions is January 10, 2020.

Questions and proposals should be sent to Kimball Erdman. For more information regarding the conference and the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, please visit AHLP.org.

The Selection Process:
A panel will evaluate all proposals using a blind, peer review process. The program selection will be based on the following criteria, listed in order of importance:

  1. Originality of content and approach,
  2. Likelihood of the topic stimulating interdisciplinary discussion, and
  3. Relevance to the theme of the meeting.

Those submitting proposals will be notified of the decision of the panel by January 31, 2020.

Presenters must pre-register for the meeting and must take out memberships in the Alliance if they are not already members. The Alliance will provide boards to which posters of the recommended size can be attached, but those presenting posters are responsible for the transportation of their posters to and from Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Outbuildings and live oak tree at Oakland Plantation, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Natchez, Louisiana / image: Brenda Williams

Student Scholarships

The AHLP invites students to participate by presenting papers or sharing summaries of their work regarding cultural landscape conservation and preservation. We especially encourage students to submit proposals that focus on the landscapes of the Red River Valley its environs, but we also welcome proposals that address broader conference themes such as the role and significance of transnational immigration; cultural exchange and adaptation (especially from French, Caddo Indian, Spanish, African and American cultures); landscapes of segregation, enslavement and the establishment of free communities; topics regarding political and religious landscapes, and examples of best practices in the conservation of historic and cultural landscapes.

The Alliance welcomes proposals from students and some scholarships are available for those whose proposals are accepted. Students wishing to apply for a scholarship should send their proposals together with scholarship application materials to the AHLP Education Committee (please see contact information below).

Scholarship Details:
Up to two scholarships are available to assist students in attending and presenting research at the annual meeting:

  1. One student will be invited to present his or her studies in cultural landscape conservation as part of the conference paper sessions.
  2. One student will be invited to present his or her studies as a poster during the poster sessions of the conference program.

Each scholarship includes a waiver of the conference registration fee, and an award of $1,000 to offset travel and lodging expenses. Currently-enrolled upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in any discipline related to cultural landscape conservation may apply.

To apply, please send the following materials via email to the Education Committee members listed below as PDF or Word (.docx) files:

  • A letter addressed to the Education Committee clearly stating your interests in attending the AHLP annual meeting in Natchitoches,
  • Your current curriculum vitae,
  • A one-page abstract of your proposed conference presentation, and
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a professor.

The deadline for the receipt of student scholarship applications is January 17, 2020. Selected students will be notified on or before January 31, 2020.

Applications from U.S. students should be sent to:

Eric MacDonald, eamacdon@uga.edu
University of Georgia
706-542-0118

Applications from Canadian students should be sent to:

Ted McLachlan, ted.mclachlan@umanitoba.ca
University of Manitoba
204-237-6125

For a recap of the 2019 AHLP Conference, see Detroit as a Cultural Landscape Palimpsest on The Field.

Brenda Williams, ASLA, is the Director of Preservation Planning at Quinn Evans, a consulting firm dedicated to preservation and sustainable stewardship with a perspective informed by history and place. Her career has focused on the conservation of cultural landscapes, through interventions that preserve historic character, enhance visitor learning and enjoyment, and provide sustainability. She facilities a collaborative approach to planning for places of cultural significance and building common ground among stakeholders to develop inspirational visions and inspiring plans. Over the last decade she has led several projects emphasizing integration of voices of marginalized communities into the planning process for significant landscapes including the Cultural Landscape Master Plan for Xe’/Blood Run, in northwest Iowa, which was awarded a 2018 ASLA Honor Award winner in Analysis and Planning.

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