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Hi, I'm Charlotte. I'm currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Yale University. I also work part-time at the landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand. I am presently completing my final required semester of teaching at Yale. I serve on the Yale Environmental Humanities Steering Committee and in past semesters, I helped to coordinate the Yale Environmental History working group.

 

My academic work sits at the nexus of landscape history and environmental history. I research, write and teach about historical struggles for social and environmental justice; about designed landscapes and perceptions, representations, and repercussions of environmental change in the early modern and modern periods; and about adaptations and uses of coastal sites, with a particular focus on multi-century landscape transformations in the Northeastern Dawnlands region.

 

I have strong interests in the plant humanities, climate history, energy history, landscape history, urban studies, discard studies, visual and spatial history, and environmental justice. Mostly, I just want the planet to be habitable for future generations.

 

For me, "doing" (and learning, and teaching) history sometimes functions as a form of escapism: a means of retrieving and imagining the worlds we have lost the art or wisdom of inhabiting. But it is also more than that. It is a practice of inquiry and of empathy, and it is a philosophy and ethic. It is a way of being in the present, and of acting toward the future. Living landscapes have histories that take place in layered, non-linear dimensions. Living with the outcomes and ongoing path-dependencies of these layered histories—with an ethos of reciprocity and care; and with a sense of time, place, plant, and planet that goes beyond the ticking clock and the carbon sink—is, to my mind, the riddle of our settler colonial present.

I am currently completing a dissertation about the energy histories and landscape cultures of the area we now know as the "New Jersey Meadowlands." At the moment I am developing two chapters. The first chapter considers the energetic and more-than-human cultures of salt hay (Spartina patens) that flourished along the New York-New Jersey Bight in the Age of Sail, while another examines the relationships between the petroleum industry, wetland development, environmental regulation, and parkland provisioning in the Meadowlands and points beyond during the Age of Oil.

 

Having been raised in Northern New Jersey, on the traditional homelands of the Lenape people and on land later divided during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under a legal system that encouraged the trafficking and bondage of enslaved African peoples, I approach history-writing as one medium through which to recover and share complex, challenging stories about land, people, plants, animals, and the social and political struggles and spatial and cultural transformations they have engendered.

Prior to beginning doctoral studies in History, I completed Masters degrees at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at Princeton University. I also worked for various design offices, nonprofits and municipalities, including: SCAPE Landscape Architecture in New York City; Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont; the Urban Farming Institute of Boston; and the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works, Urban Forestry Division.

While completing my Master in Design Studies and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees at Harvard, I contributed to the research, public programming and design of several exhibitions on landscape-related topics, including ‘The Bauhaus and Harvard’ at the Harvard Art Museums (Feb. 8–Jul. 28, 2019) and ‘Hudson Rising’ at the New-York Historical Society (Mar. 1–Aug. 4, 2019). At Harvard, my 2019 MDes. Thesis received the Best Paper on Housing Prize from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. These engagements and others are listed on my CV.

Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your interest in my work.