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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

19th Century American Necrography: Picturesque Influence, Neo-Classical Revival and Necrotourism in Relation to Early American Funerary Landscaping

This presentation details the physical and psychological changes occurring within 19th century American society, particularly in relation to the influence of English Romanticism, Neoclassical Revival, and the Picturesque on rural cemetery construction and function. Throughout the presentation the presenter will examine Mt. Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge, MA) and Mt. Hope Cemetery (Rochester, NY), both noteworthy examples of the new trend in 19th century rural cemeteries. They perpetuated a sort of 'necrotourism,' with the intention of being places for the living to enjoy, rather than for the deceased to be inhumed. Also discussed will be the differential treatment of tombstone iconography and landscape features unique to 19th century rural cemeteries. As public institutions of bereavement, these funerary parks demonstrated a growing culture of sentimentality and a conscious movement away from 18th century pessimism perpetuated by negative associations with death and burial.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Paige Doerner (Graduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 102 Edwards
Time: 3 pm Session IV