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A Bird’s-eye View of Aerial Views of the West

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1908 Lawrence--San Francisco from Captive Air Ship over San Francisco Bay

Thursday, March 14, 2024
4pm to 5:30pm PT

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Building 200, History Corner, 307
450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 200, Stanford, CA 94305
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Event Details:

The Western History Lecture Series presents Jared Farmer, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Jared's talk, "A Bird’s-eye View of Aerial Views of the West" will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2024, and is co-hosted by the Bill Lane Center and the Stanford Department of History. 

In the second half of the nineteenth century, US Americans produced thousands of lithographic “bird’s-eye views” of western towns, reviving and adapting an early modern European graphic tradition of city views. Using that media moment as a starting point, this lecture will consider some of the many ways that built and topographical landscapes of the West inspired new methods of looking from above—including panoramic daguerreotype, kite- and rocket-borne cameras, airplane photography, large-scale relief maps, and digital mapping tools created by Silicon Valley companies. Placing special emphasis on California and San Francisco, this lecture will illustrate how the American West connects to global processes through aerial vision. 

Photo credit: Annette Hornischer and American Academy in Berlin 

Jared Farmer is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of four books, most recently Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees (Basic Books, 2023). "           Jared Farmer           "Jared Farmer is the Walter H. Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His temporal expertise is the long nineteenth century; his regional expertise is the North American West. His recent work has turned to global environmental history across the modern period.

Farmer is the recipient of many grants, fellowships, residencies, and awards, and the author of four books. 

His book *On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape* (Harvard, 2008) won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians for the best-written non-fiction book on an American theme. His book *Trees in Paradise: A California History* (Norton, 2013), won the Ray Allen Billington Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the history of Native and/or settler peoples in frontier, border, and borderland zones of intercultural contact in any century to the present. His most recent book, *Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees* (Basic Books, 2022; Picador UK, 2023), won the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society, for distinguished work in American or European cultural history.

Originally from Provo, Utah, Farmer earned a B.A. from Utah State University, a M.A. from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Stanford.

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