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Landscape Art of the Americas: Sites of Human Intervention across the Nineteenth Century: An International Symposium

Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. May 20th and 21st, 2021

Landscape, for Alexander von Humboldt, was “the totality of all aspects of a region as perceived by men.” It references an area whose character is the result of the interaction of human and natural factors. All too often, however, the Americas are characterized as “Edenic,” untouched by the hand of man, the proverbial “Natural Paradise.” Taking the long nineteenth century as its focus, this conference seeks papers that examine landscape art of the Americas in which human intervention is evident. There is a history of this mode of landscape art that has yet to be fully explored. Not only Euro-Americans but also Indigenous peoples left their marks on the land that also deserve investigation. Evidence for this line of inquiry might be explored in oil paintings, photography, prints, maps, sketchbooks, books of picturesque travel, and three-dimensional artifacts. In sum, we seek papers that serve to problematize prevailing interpretations of the terrain of the Americas, bringing the natural landscape into dialogue with the cultural landscape. Considering landscapes from across the western hemisphere allows us to identify parallels, confluences and divergences in subject and approach that provide further insights, consistent with a Humboldtian worldview.