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City: An EHP dissertation workshop with Rachel Bolten

Date and Time: 
Monday, June 3, 2019. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Workshop: 
Environmental Humanities Project 2018
Meeting Description: 

Please join us for the Environmental Humanities Project's final event of the 2018-2019 academic year. On Monday, June 3rd at 6pm in the Humanities Center board room, we will host the latest installment of our ongoing dissertation workshop series. Rachel Bolten, PhD candidate in the Department of English will present work drawn from her dissertation on cultures of description in 19th century America.

Rachel's chapter, entitled "City," describes the lives and afterlives of the panorama in California. From the rolling canvases of the 1840s and 50s, to daguerreotypes made by Eadward Muybridge, to newspapers illustrating the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, Rachel considers the relationship of the panorama to place, and to conservation and loss. In the late 19th century, San Francisco was vulnerable to fire, and panoramas crowding the windows of daguerreotypists pictured neighborhoods leveled and rebuilt; in this way the panorama becomes a kind of archive, interested in preservation and futurity, but equally invested in catastrophe. Rachel finds echoes of the form in the 1930s: in the novels The Day of the Locust, Ask the Dust, and Mildred Pierce, in the disaster musical San Francisco, and in the culture of the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island. The chapter ends with a meditation on a photograph of a group of women visiting a scale model of San Francisco built for that event, a miniature that calls for attention and care but also invites us to destroy, with the female fairgoers as movie monsters looming over the little city.

Workshops Calendar

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