L a n d s c a p e   a n d   P o w e r

A l o n g   C a l i f o r n i a ' s   H i g h w a y   99


Landscape and Power: This seminar explores various ways "landscape" has historically worked as an agent of cultural power. The readings selected for discussion in this course depart from the traditional "treatment of landscape aesthetics in terms of fixed genres (sublime, beautiful, picturesque, pastoral), fixed media (literature, painting, photography) or fixed places treated as objects for visual contemplation or interpretation." Instead these readings "examine the way landscape circulates as a medium of exchange, a site of visual appropriation, a focus for the formation of identity." (W.J.T. Mitchell, Landscape and Power, p. 2) Recognizing the study of landscape as a discursive, interdisciplinary practice, we will explore representations of landscape in various media and draw on various theoretical frameworks to explain landscape practices. The landscape theories discussed in this seminar will be of interest to graduate students in various disciplines (eg, geography, art history, community development, literary theory, cultural studies). The focus of the seminar this year (2006) will be Highway 99 in California's Central Valley. This historic highway, which traverses the length of the valley, has long been the major connector in the region, serving as a cultural and physical spine, of sorts, providing structure to the regional landscape in various ways. The product of this seminar will be a "guide" to the landscape along Highway 99. As contributors to this guide, students will be encouraged to apply theories from the course readings in developing papers on subjects of their own choosing, exploring various relations between landscape and power that have evolved, and continue to evolve, along this historic highway.

This course will meet Wednesdays, 1-5 p.m., in 202 Walker Hall, beginning Oct. 2. PDF of syllabus here.  Bibliography here, paper assignment here, prospectus here (Word docs).

For additional information, call or e-mail Heath Schenker (hmschenker@ucdavis.edu or 752-7681).


Highway 99 general information:








Route 99 Master Plans:

Fresno County:








Great Valley Center (Greenstop Competition)

The Mother Road:  Historic Route 66




Graduate Seminar - Landscape Architecture - LDA 260 - Fall Quarter, 2006 - Instructor: Heath Schenker

updated 10/25/06