• Twenty Historically Contested Sites: Race and Ethnicity Shaping the Built Environment
    Catherine Boland Erkkila and Gabrielle Esperdy
    SAH Archipedia and University of Virginia Press, 2021
    Society of Architectural Historians

Calle Ocho with Tower Theater in the Little Havana Historic District, heart of the Cuban American community in Miami, Florida, image,, Photo: Infrogmation

This project collects twenty recently written essays that examine US sites and settlements of under-represented and marginalized groups including members of LatinX, African American, Native American, and Asian diasporic communities. An introductory essay in the form of a conceptual umbrella ties the twenty sites together. The collection is partly historiographic and partly methodological, providing an intellectual roadmap for SAH Archipedia’s ongoing editorial project to revise, update, and expand its content in order to tell the full story of the built environment of the United States. To that end, the introductory essay begins to reckon with the implicit bias in published scholarship. While SAH Archipedia has always embraced an expansive definition of architecture, landscape, and urban form, it acknowledges that the narrow perspective of the dominant culture is too often the focus.

The editorial team managing the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Twenty Historically Contested Sites project includes: Gabrielle Esperdy, SAH Archipedia editor; Catherine Boland Erkkila, SAH Archipedia managing editor; and Pauline Saliga, SAH executive director. Esperdy, a professor of architectural history at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is a peer reviewer for the project. Her publications include American Autotopia: An Intellectual History of the American Roadside at Midcentury (University of Virginia Press, 2019) and An Urban Grammar for Ed Ruscha’s Streets of Los Angeles (Getty Research Institute, 2019). Erkkila, who taught architectural history at Rutgers University, manages peer review, developmental editing, copy editing, and publication of the twenty essays in SAH Archipedia. In her role as managing editor, Erkkila has coordinated the work of more than forty author teams and has published more than 2,000 essays in SAH Archipedia. Saliga has managed the creation of numerous online educational resources for SAH, including SAH Archipedia.

The Society of Architectural Historians promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide for the benefit of all.