The 2015 Conference Papers Committee (chair Andrew Sandoval-Strausz, Gretchen Buggeln, and Paula Lupkin) is hard at work reviewing a strong set of 111 paper proposals. (By comparison, 59 proposals were received for the South Jersey conference last year, 90 for Gaspé in 2013, and 120 for Madison in 2012.)
The traditional bread and butter of the VAF is well represented with many potential panels on everyday building types (funeral parlors, gas stations, Mormon stake houses, industrial buildings), as well as numerous papers on historic preservation practice.
The committee is also seeing a solid amount of work on African American landscapes, which may reflect the long history of black neighborhoods in Chicago. More generally, there are lots of other Chicago-area topics
The strength of international submissions and topics continues to grow. There are more proposal on Chinese vernacular architectures and landscapes than ever before, along with a rise of work about the Middle East (most of it from scholars there), and some superb material on South Asia, reflecting
the strength of that subfield.
Many of the paper submitters have not previously attended the VAF conference, so we look forward to welcoming many new scholars—and future members--to the Chicago meeting.