This first piece by Angel Kwolek-Folland provides an interesting analysis on the material culture of the office space. The piece asks how does gender and environment interact on a large scale? The author ties changes in corporate workplaces to gender norms of the period. She argues that though corporations tried to enforce strict gender practices that alienated male and female works, human nature subverted this. Kwolek-Folland sums up the original goals of corporations, “Out of concern for efficiency, smooth employee relations, and a positive public image they presented the corporation as the custodian of employee morals and social interaction.” This concept of the custodian of employee morals, is evident in the layout of an office separated by gender. Kwolek-Follands points out this did not stop “…a young man’s frequent trips by a young woman’s desk” alla Jim and Pam from The Office. This analysis was incredibly interesting, but one thing that is noticeable about the piece is that it focuses much of its analysis on gender but doesn’t acknowledge race and work relations as another form of division in a workspace.
The second piece “White and Black Landscapes” provided an interesting perspective. The piece seems to ask how can multiple histories emerge from a single building? Upton notes the very landscape of Virginia was created to enforce the rigid social hierarchy of slavery. In architectural styles of plantations, were specifically designed to validate a planter’s elevated social status. “Each barrier served to reinforce the impression of John Tayloe’s centrality, and each in addition affirmed the visitor’s status as she or he passed through it” This analysis contrasted with the separation of slaves in this landscape provided incredibly informative. Robert Weyeneth’s analysis in “The Architecture of Racial Segregation: The Challenges of Preserving the Problematical Past,” takes similar concepts of “white and black landscapes” further outlining the separation of black and white spaces during the Jim Crow era South.
J.B Jackson’s piece takes these ideas of landscape and place even further, tracing the roots of landscape and it’s evolution into, “A composition of man-made or man modified spaces to serve as infrastructure or background for our collective existence” This concept in partnership with the examples of the varied landscapes in antebellum America in Upton’s piece make of an interesting discussion of the man-made notion of landscapes. These are topics that are often overlooked and under-appreciated in historical study, as mere background.
The next piece provides an excellent resource on the different aspects of everyday histories through subjects. This resource provides information on architecture, parks, and boardinghouses among other various topics. The interest in architecture and styles reflects the kind of connoisseurship study tied to material culture with a more practical set of subjects. Its analysis of each subject is short but informative, and as a whole provides many important details of American society over time.
 Angel Kwolek-Folland, “The Gendered Environment of the Corporate Workplace, 1880-1930,” The Material Culture of Gender: The Gender of Material Culture, ed. by Katharine Martinez and Kenneth L. Ames, (Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1997) Pg 161
 Ibid., Kwolek-Folland pg 173
 Dell Upton, “White and Black Landscapes in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” in Robert Blair St. George, ed., Material Life in America, 1600-1860 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988). pg 364
J.B. Jackson, “The Word Itself,” and “A Pair of Ideal Landscapes,” Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), pg 8
IMAGE SOURCE-Google Images “Roman Roads” from the article “8 ways Roads Helped Rome Rule the Ancient World” from history.com