Architectural historian Tara Dudley delivers FSU’s 2024 James P. Jones Distinguished Lecture in American History

The Florida State University Department of History is pleased to announce architectural historian and University of Texas at Austin assistant professor Tara Dudley will deliver the 2024 James P. Jones Distinguished Lecture. Dudley will present “Building the Nation: Enslaved and Free Architects, Builders, and Artisans,” Thursday, March 7, at 4 p.m. in Room 404 of the Bellamy Building. Attendees may also join via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend via Zoom.

From New Orleans’ antebellum free people of color community to freedmen builders and craftsmen in Texas, Dudley will highlight her research and scholarship on African American architects and “nontraditional” contributors’ influences on American architecture. Dudley, who teaches interior design history and architectural history courses at UToA, will consider these contributors’ displacement from architectural history pedagogy, historiography, and from the practice of historic preservation while discussing the resulting impact on both the current state of the field of architectural history and her own personal academic interests and professional career.

Approaching the study of cultural resources through an interdisciplinary lens and focusing on nineteenth-century American design, African American architectural history, historic preservation and material culture, Dudley engages untold histories and works to demystify the process, paths, and methods of marginalized contributors to the built environment and reassert their historic agency, with an emphasis on African American builders and architects in the southern United States. Dudley is also well-versed in the integration of scholarly inquiry and professional practice and has expertise in the preparation of historic furnishing reports, National Register of Historic Places nominations, historic resource surveys, and interpretive planning for historic sites.

Dudley holds a doctorate and master’s in historic preservation from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Princeton University. She currently serves as chair of the Texas State Board of Review, advising the State Historic Preservation Officer regarding National Register nominations, and is the author of “Building Antebellum New Orleans: Free People of Color and Their Influence,” winner of the Association of American Publishers 2022 Prose Award in Architecture & Urban Planning, the 2022 Summerlee Book Prize in Nonfiction from the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast), the 2022 Best Book Prize Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH), and the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning 2022 On the Brinck Award.

The James P. Jones Distinguished Lecture Series honors the memory of Professor Jim Jones, beloved teacher and scholar in the FSU Department of History for 57 years. The series brings a prominent historian of the United States to campus each year to lecture and work with students and faculty. The lectures are free and open to the public, and those interested are invited to email Katherine Mooney at to be put on the lecture mailing list.


Thursday, March 7 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Bellamy Building (BEL), 404
113 Collegiate Loop, Tallahassee, FL

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Colleges, College of Arts and Sciences, History, Anthropology, Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Religion, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Latin American and Caribbean Studies





Free but registration is required for the Zoom.

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Katherine Mooney

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