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Permanence and the Built Environment Atlantic World




This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars studying the survival and the demise of structures, infrastructures, and cityscapes with those interested in the impact of buildings on historical memory. The long eighteenth century in the Atlantic world is a critical time and place for a conference on permanence and the built environment because of the period’s transatlantic obsession with the subject—the mania for brick construction in town and countryside, the emergence of fire insurance, the proliferation of imperial building projects in the ports of western Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and creole efforts to meet metropolitan architectural standards. These developments came into conflict with the need for shelter on the part of a growing eighteenth-century population on both sides of the Atlantic and American Indian anxieties over the preservation of landscape. They also were challenged by a series of punishing natural disasters and devastating wars for empire. As the study of both historical memory and vernacular architecture has exploded over the past decade, we anticipate lively discussions around these papers, which will be precirculated.