Greater Gulf Symposium

The Built and Unbuilt Gulf

From the Yucatán Peninsula to the Florida Keys, the many cultures of the greater Gulf have inscribed the region with their distinctive architectures, re-formed landscapes, and imagined spaces—sometimes in the spirit of harmony and collaboration but more often in conflict with each other, with time, and with the natural environment. Where once the Karankawas constructed the willow and rush ba’ak, myriad ethnic groups made their mark with the establishment of rural and urban settlements. Now, the petroleum industrial complex sprawls with its refineries, tank farms, and shipping depots. In the US Gulf, the Corps of Engineers attempt the massive reshaping of the region’s hydrography to hold back storm surges, while the Fish and Wildlife Service actively manages wetlands in over thirty refuges.

The Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast will convene an interdisciplinary symposium at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, on April 15-16, 2024, to consider the many built and unbuilt cultures of the greater Gulf and publish this work in a themed issue of The Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record. Topics on “built” cultures may include but are not limited to architecture, visual art, agricultural and industrial forms, disaster preparation, environmental management, landscape design, mortuary practices, preservation, spatial studies, urban planning, and many others. The Center suggests that “the unbuilt” might consist of alternate designs, demolition, modification, un-started projects, visions of the future, and other constructions un-made and imagined. 

Dr. Tara A. Dudley of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture will serve as Symposium Chair. In addition to assisting the Center with selecting Fellows and participating in the workshops, she will give a keynote talk. Professor Dudley has two decades’ experience as an architectural historian and preservation consultant. She is the award-winning author of Building Antebellum New Orleans: Free People of Color and Their Significance (2021).   

The Center invites paper proposals from established and emerging scholars, practitioners, preservationists, and curators who actively seek intersections between art, communications, design, ethnicity and race, gender, history, literature, policy, and other fields of study. The Center and The Record encourages projects with a Southeast Texas focus and welcomes those that conceive of the greater Gulf in regional, national, and international terms.


by November 1, 2023
Submit a 300-word proposal for a single paper and a brief c.v. (2 pages maximum)

by March 15, 2024
Symposium Fellows will submit drafts for pre-circulation.

on April 15-16, 2024
Symposium Fellows will convene at Lamar University, share their work in a brief presentation, and workshop it with other participants, Center-affiliated faculty, and a small number of invited scholars.

by July 15, 2024
After the symposium, participants will revise their papers and submit final drafts of about 8,000-10,000 words (notes included) for peer review.

The Center will provide lodging, food, and $750 (paid upon receipt of pre-circulated draft). Each author will receive contributors’ copies of The Record.

Send proposals as email attachments and direct your inquiries about the symposium, the Center, or The Record to:

Jimmy L. Bryan Jr.
Director, Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast
Editor, The Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record
Professor of History, Lamar University

The Center for History and Culture acknowledges that Lamar University is located on the traditional territory of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation, and we recognize that the region our university serves includes the homelands of the Akokisa, Bidai, Karankawa, Alabama-Coushatta, and other nations. We further acknowledge that, as president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, the namesake of our university, oversaw the forced removal of Caddo, Cherokee, Comanche, Delaware, Kickapoo, Shawnee, and other peoples from their homes. We affirm and respect tribal sovereignty in this land and in all territories.ies.