John R. Stilgoe is a historian and a Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard University.
Most recently author of Landscape and Images (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Stilgoe conducts research on subjects ranging from the national critical infrastructure in private-policy decision making, the graphic-design context of early cinema actresses, and fantasy origins of designed human and humanoid life forms to steganography, catoptromancy, catoptrics and the submarine locating of firearms. Author of Lifeboat: A History of Courage, Cravenness, and Survival at Sea (University of Virginia Press, 2003), Outside Lies Magic (Walker & Company, 1998), Alongshore (Yale University Press, 1994), Shallow-Water Dictionary (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003), Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene (Yale University Press, 1983), and other books, he is a winner of the Francis Parkman, George Hilton, and Bradford Williams medals,the AIA award for collaborative research, and the Charles C. Eldredge prize for art-history research. His next book focuses on metropolitan sprawl, rural infrastructure, and railroad-route investment. He is a fellow of the Society of American Historians, has taught in VES since 1977, and sails a 1935 ship’s lifeboat he restored himself.
Currently, Stilgoe is wokring on several projects. One involves the growing interfaces among fantasy, advertising, and cyber-space rendering of real and surreal environments.
Another project examines the changing landscape of rural America after 1915 and projects massive changes immediately ahead. In the next several years almost all of his research will deal with the future of large-scale landscapes away from cities: driven partly by the way marketing experts and retired military analysts use cybernetics to discern, predict, and shape patterns, I focus on seeing around the curve of time, always remembering that history on the ground has vast staying power.