May 25, 2021

John Davis Publishes Military Landscapes

Knowlton School Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture John Davis's new book examines human interaction with the landscape through the lens of war.

Knowlton School Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture John Davis has published Military Landscapes, with co-editor Anatole Tchikine, Curator of Rare Books at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC. The book is the latest volume of the Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture.

Among the various human interventions in landscape, war has left one of the most lasting and eloquent records, literally inscribed on the face of the earth. Military landscapes can assume different forms and functions; yet, by controlling vision and movement, they impose shared strategies of seeing upon geography and the environment.

Built around such fundamental concepts as representation, scale, nature, gender, and memory, Military Landscapes seeks to reevaluate the role of militarization as a fundamental factor in human interaction with land. Moving beyond discussions of infrastructure, battlefields, and memorials, it foregrounds the representational role of military landscapes across different historical periods, geographical regions, and territorial scales, covering a wide range of subjects, including the home front and refugee camps. It contributes to scholarship by shifting the focus to often overlooked factors, such as local knowledge, traditional technology, and physical labor, highlighting the historical character of militarized environments as inherently gendered and racialized. By juxtaposing and synthesizing diverse disciplinary perspectives, this volume seeks to develop a more inclusive and nuanced definition of military landscapes under the framework of landscape theory, based on their understanding as a physical reality as well as a cultural construction.

Military Landscapes is available at Harvard University Press and Amazon.