Through Time and the City: A conversation with Kristi Cheramie and Robert J. Clines

The American Academy in Rome hosts a conversation between Kristi Cheramie and Robert J. Clines about Cheramie’s book, Through Time and the City: Notes on Rome.


Jan 25, 2022



Explorations: Fellows who were at the Academy at the same time reflect upon the subject of their research and art. A conversation between 2017 Fellows Kristi Cheramie, Landscape Architecture, and Robert J. Clines, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

Kristi Cheramie and Rob Clines will discuss how their shared time at the American Academy contributed to the shaping of Kristi’s recent book, Through Time and the City: Notes on Rome, which moves beyond disciplinary bounds to build textual and visual stories about a city endlessly entangled by its materials, objects, spaces, agents, ideas, and climates. The book operates as a tool for reading Rome as a continuum: as a thick space that begins some seventy meters below ground where deep tuff deposits from nearby volcanoes meet alluvial deposits from ancient Tiber stream channels and extends several hundred meters above the surface into the atmosphere where sea winds on the east and west coasts of the country trade moisture at the collision point of its Apennine backbone.

In his 1873 Corso di Geologia, priest-turned-soldier-turned-geologist Antonio Stoppani describes Italy as the “synthesis of the physical world.” His words point to a reading of the city – and Rome specifically – as a condition that cannot be understood as separate from natural systems. Within this framework, sites do not exist as singular conditions. Once constructed, each act of building (architecture, landscape, infrastructure) is folded into a matrix of urban relationships, and contributes to the relative health of the urban ecosystem: an abundance or shortage of housing, the data used to monitor urban services and link public space, and the management strategies applied to threatened ecosystems, shifting climates, and extractable resources.

Kristi Cheramie is head of landscape architecture at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School. Rob Clines is associate professor of history at Western Carolina University.