The winner of the 2018 Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize for the publication that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes is Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, author of California Mission Landscapes: Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage. Although they have long been the focus of romantic conceptions of California life before the U.S. conquest, California’s missions are among the least known of American historic sites. Kryder-Reid begins by evoking that nostalgic vision of mission life, but quickly introduces us to the brutality of that life for indigenous Californians. Through an astute examination of physical remains, spatial practices, visual images, documentary sources, and even contemporary art works, she depicts the missions as complexes of living and working, as well as religious, spaces. Kryder-Reid then deftly demonstrates the process by which these landscapes of colonialism and conversion were transformed in the memories of Anglo Californians in a land of indolent leisure, a vision that has only recently been challenged by descendants of indigenous Californians and Latino Californios.
The Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize, named after the founding president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, is awarded annually to the publication that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. In judging the nominated books, the jurors look for a publication that is:
- based on primary research,
- emphasizes fieldwork,
- breaks new ground in interpretation or methodology, and
- contributes generally to the intellectual vitality of vernacular studies in North America
Entries may come from any discipline concerned with vernacular architecture studies. Books published from January 2016 through December 2017 are eligible for consideration. Edited collections of previously published materials are not eligible.
The nomination deadline for the 2019 Cummings Prize will be announced soon.
There is no application form, but a cover letter should include a complete mailing address, phone number and email address in order to notify the candidate should the nominated work receive the award.
Books should be sent directly by the author or publisher to each of the three committee members for the Cummings Prize. Please contact the committee chair with any questions at email@example.com.
2019 Cummings Prize committee:
Emma Hart, chair