Visiting Assistant Professor Amber Wiley was awarded the 2014 Bishir Prize from the Vernacular Architecture Forum for her article “The Dunbar High School Dilemma: Architecture, Power, and African-American Cultural Heritage” published in Buildings & Landscapes 20 no. 1 (Spring 2013).
The Bishir Prize, named for longtime member and influential scholar Catherine W. Bishir, is awarded annually to the scholarly article from a juried North American publication that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. In judging the nominated articles, the jurors look for an article that is based on primary research, that breaks new ground in interpretation or methodology, and that contributes generally to the intellectual vitality of vernacular studies.
The committee selected her article from a competitive pool of first-rate articles due to the ways that the research contextualized material and architectural history in broader urban and African-American history, as well as its insightful and complex treatment of preservation issues.
The article brought the story of Dunbar High School to life for future scholars and students who are interested in how buildings and landscapes shape experience, are expressions of power, and sit at the intersection of racial understandings of self, community, and nation. Wiley will be formally recognized at the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Annual Conference in May 2014.