Call for Book Chapter Proposals: Architectures of Extraction in the Atlantic World

Luis Gordo-Pelaez's picture
Call for Publications
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Archaeology, Architecture and Architectural History, Atlantic History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Urban History / Studies





Luis Gordo-Peláez & Paul Niell



Call for Proposals


We welcome proposals for an edited volume on the architectures of extraction in the Atlantic World from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words by August 15, 2021 to and


The development of the Atlantic World after 1492 led to a growth in cities, agricultural districts, populations, trade, and material wealth as a result of mining, agricultural, and manufacturing industries that linked Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas together in completely new ways. This process happened in and through a built environment that allowed it to grow and flourish. Extraction drove construction in a variety of forms from buildings and technologies indispensable for the mining and processing of natural resources (silver refining plants, sugar mills, boiling houses, and water infrastructures) to constructions for storage, commercial exchange, and coining (mints, treasuries, market spaces, and custom houses). Colonial industries were made possible by another complementary architectural body: the residential quarters of those who labored in or benefited from this landscape of extraction (slave barracks, sheds, and country houses of planters and mine-owners). There were also the infrastructures designed to provide some modicum of physical care such as hospitals or those engaged in spiritual matters like churches whatever roles they could be said to play in landscapes of extraction. 


Recent scholarship has considered the multifaceted history of the agricultural and mining industries of Spanish Colonial America with an emphasis on capitalist production and global economic transformation, such as John Tutino’s Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America (Duke, 2011). Scholarship has also examined extraction’s impact on the shaping of urban communities, as in Dana Velasco Murillo’s Urban Indians in a Silver City: Zacatecas, Mexico, 1546-1810 (Stanford, 2016); the cultural production that emerged from mining districts in Lisa Voigt’s Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns (UT Austin, 2016); and the environmental degradation caused by some industries, the subject of Nicholas Robins’ Mercury, Mining, and Empire: The Human and Ecological Cost of Colonial Silver Mining in the Andes (Indiana 2011). Less attention has been given to the architectures and infrastructures that shaped and were shaped by this landscape of extraction. 


In the Caribbean and North America, several studies have reevaluated the landscape and architecture of slavery in its urban and plantation environment, such as that of archaeologist Theresa Singleton in Slavery Behind the Wall: An Archaeology of a Cuban Coffee Plantation (Florida, 2015) and Clifton Ellis and Rebecca Ginsburg, eds. Cabin, Quarter, Plantation: Architecture and Landscapes of North American Slavery (Yale, 2010.) Louis Nelson’s Architecture and Empire in Jamaica (Yale 2016) emphasizes the networks of space constituted through architecture that linked Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe in systems of wealth extraction based on enslaved labor. These studies point to the need to examine the built environment of Atlantic World extraction in a global and comparative sense, considering the function of such architecture and how it was lived and experienced by multiple human actors. The present volume aims to examine the constitution of extractionary landscapes as material networks that brought people, space, and labor together in harvesting raw materials, refining, exchanging, and thereby generating value in the world market and within local economies. 


Questions for all Authors

  • What is the place of extraction in the production of built environments of the Atlantic World from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries in terms of labor regimes, social relations, and dynamics of domination, negotiation, and resistance?
  • What roles did architecture play in the constitution of Atlantic extraction economies?
  • How can a focus on extraction help us to see the history of architecture in new ways, such as the interrelationships between building typologies, technologies of construction, and networks of use and experience not traditionally taken into consideration by the field? 
  • What is the value of a transnational approach that considers the interaction of European empires in the study of Atlantic architecture and extraction?
  • How can the study of the architectures of extraction in the Atlantic world provide a lens for understanding the interaction of local and global forces in sites of production, exchange, and consumption?
  • How can this type of study offer a means to recover subaltern voices, experiences, and agencies?  


Interconnected and Overlapping Sites of Interest


Landscapes and commodity production

Hydraulic infrastructures

Mills and processing facilities

Agricultural plantations and landscapes

Dwellings for enslaved laborers, planters, and overseers 

Plantation outbuildings and sheds

Industrial landscapes

Extractionary landscapes and religious architecture

Prisons, asylums, and hospitals

Botanical gardens 

Market buildings, warehouses, and stores

Routes of transformation including roads, railways, and bodies of water

Fortifications and walled cities

Urban districts and neighborhoods

Banks and exchange buildings

Townhouses and urban residences

Mints and treasuries

Customs houses and waterfronts

Legacies and Heritage