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Learning and Training

What to Read

Vernacular architecture study is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary field of study. Relevant printed works are scattered among a dizzying variety of professional journals and across a broad swath of Library of Congress classifications and subjects. Because of this, identifying good starting places for reading in the field can be a challenge. One good suggestion is always to read the footnotes and bibliography of a work you find of interest, but for something more systematic, VAF offers a number of bibliographic resources:

VAF Reading List
New on this Web site is a bibliography of recommended readings sorted by topic and geared towards providing a comprehensive introduction to the range of work in the vernacular architecture field. Many of the books and articles included in these Reading Lists have been used consistently in teaching, or are cited frequently by vernacular architecture scholars in the course of their work.

VAF Bibliography
The VAF Bibliography is an ongoing project to index new works relevant to the study of vernacular architecture as they appear. A running bibliography published in the quarterly Vernacular Architecture Newsletter (VAN) draws on the contributions of members as well as a bibliography editor. An online searchable database, hosted at the University of Mary Washington, is regularly updated with entries from the newsletter.

VAF Syllabus Exchange
The Education Committee's Syllabus Exchange includes a variety of syllabi on vernacular architecture topics, broadly defined, and offered over a number of years. As a group they provide a terrific resource for self-education as well as for educators—use them to gain a sense of what readings are assigned in which context.

VAF Publications
VAF's own publications are a significant resource for readings in the field. In addition to traditional print formats, journal articles are available digitally via subscription and at most research libraries:

Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture through 13:2 is available via JSTOR.

Buildings & Landscapes is available through Project MUSE.

VAF also sponsors a Special Series in Vernacular Architecture with the University of Tennessee Press.