The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation presents a live virtual conversation with Dr. Tara Dudley, assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. Dudley's work reflects an interdisciplinary approach to the study of cultural resources with a focus on nineteenth-century American design, African American architectural history, historic preservation, and material culture.
Her current research projects illuminate the contributions of African American builders and architects to the American built environment with a focus on the antebellum and Reconstruction eras in the US South, including Texas. Her research methodology includes creative utilization of archival resources and normalization of non-traditional academic practices to intersect academia and public access and to encourage preservation as a tool for social justice in her work on preservation-related projects across the country. In tandem with her role as a member of the UT Austin Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative research team, Dr. Dudley has turned her focus to revealing the contributions of Black Austinites to the physical development and construction of the UT Austin’s campus. Dr. Dudley is the author of Building Antebellum New Orleans: Free People of Color and Their Influence (UT Press, 2021), winner of the Association of American Publishers 2022 Prose Award in Architecture & Urban Planning and the 2022 Summerlee Book Prize in Nonfiction. She obtained her doctorate in Architectural History and master’s degree in Historic Preservation from UT Austin and holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Princeton University.
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