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Carol Reese is an art historian who has taught in the School of Architecture since 1999. At Tulane, she offers courses on architectural and urban history and theory, with a particular focus on the Americas. She has taught at the University of California in San Diego, UCLA, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and the University of Maryland in College Park.
Professor Reese is a co-author of Object, Image, Inquiry, a study of the working methods of art historians published by the Getty Information Institute, the author of Paul Cret at Texas, an award-winning study of university planning and architectural representation in the early 20th century, and The Architect’s Sketchbook, a study of imaging techniques in contemporary architectural practice.
In 1989, she initiated the Getty Research Institute’s project to document Frank O. Gehry Partners’ design of the Walt Disney Hall Concert Hall, the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has published on the 1988 competition for Disney Hall, the design process of the building, and the social and architectural history of the Hollywood Bowl, including its association with the Philharmonic, where Gehry made additions to the famed shell in 1970 and 1980. Her essay discussing the impact of Disney Hall on the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles appeared in the book published by the Philharmonic at the opening of the concert hall in October 2003.
Professor Reese’s current research includes studies of 20th-century Latin American architecture and urbanism, particularly in Argentina, Mexico, and Panama. Her research methodology focuses on the role of “images” in the 20th-century urbanization of Latin America, asking how “representations” form and communicate the nature of a given city’s “modern” identity. In case studies of Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Panama, she examined the urban dimensions of architecture and planning as they related not only to concepts of “modernity,” but also to those of trans-national exchange and discourse, specifically national self-promotion in the international marketplace of ideas and capital investment. She collaborated in the curatorial team that produced the exhibition “Buenos Aires 1910, Memories of the World to Come,” which opened at the Abasto in Buenos Aires in 1999 and traveled subsequently to New York and Washington, D. C. Her essay on the urban development of Mexico City appeared in Planning Latin America’s Capital Cities, 1850-1950(Arturo Almandoz, ed., Routledge, 2002), which won the 2004 prize of the International Planning History Society for the best book in Latin American urban history. She published the initial planning for a research and exhibition center in Panama designed by Frank Gehry at the Pacific gateway of the Panama Canal. During the summer of 2002, she was the principal investigator of a Fulbright-Hays one-month group seminar that included 18 faculty and teachers who focused on the ecological, economic, ethical, and social challenges to community planning presented by the reversion of U.S. occupied areas to the Republic of Panama. In the fall semester of 2005, she was a Visiting Fellow in Princeton’s Program in Latin American Studies. Professor Reese is currently completing, with Thomas Ford Reese, a book on the design and social history of the communities built in the U.S. Canal Zone between 1905 and 1965.
Since 2005, Professor Reese has been actively involved in the reconstruction of New Orleans. For the rebuilding of the decimated “Pontilly” neighborhood, which includes historically black Pontchartrain Park and its white “twin,” Gentilly Woods, she helped to secure grants totaling $67,500 to restore the cultural landscapes there and she published, with Jane Wolff (University of Toronto), the Pontilly Landscape Manual. Her research on the complex political history of the development of this historically significant section of New Orleans has led her into a new area of investigation, “Jim Crow Urbanism,” or the ways in which legally bolstered traditions of segregation shaped U.S. urban - particularly residential - environments in the first half of the twentieth century.
In 2006, Professor Reese founded Project New Orleans with co-organizers Michael Sorkin and Anthony Fontenot, which has produced an exhibition documenting plans for the post-Katrina rebuilding of the city (New Orleans African-American Museum, 2006), and a national conference “New Orleans under Reconstruction, the Crisis of Planning” (Tulane, 2009). The results will be published in a book by Verso (2011). In 2009, Professor Reese was one of six finalists for Campus Compact’s national Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty award, and the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus honored her with their award (one in the state) for Volunteerism and Civic Engagement.