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Christine Beck

In 2014 I embarked on an undergraduate research project in which I traced a certain wooden balcony type from North Africa, to Spain, to the Canary Islands, and finally, to Lima, Peru, from where they returned to Spain as representative of Peruvian culture in the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. These architectural echoes of Islamic culture fascinated me and formed the basis of my interest within the field of Art History. Upon arriving at UMass I was certain of my desire to expand on my undergraduate research project, though I was uncertain as to which direction I should follow. Sharing these interests and desires with my advisor, Professor Walter Denny, we determined that the first step in continuing this project was for me to go to Lima and conduct on-site research. In the fall of 2017, I was awarded a graduate travel research grant which enabled me to spend 3 weeks in Lima, during which time I met with professor of Viceregal Peruvian social history, Dr. Jose de la Puente-Burke and photographed a structure with the oldest and most well-preserved wooden balconies, the Torre Tagle Palace. Since returning from Lima, I have begun a research project under the guidance of Professor Denny in which I will discuss the similar narratives created by 19th century foreign visitors to Lima and North Africa regarding the function of the balconies and the women who exist within them as a unique cross-cultural phenomenon. It is my hope that the paper that forms of this research will serve as my writing sample for PhD programs, as well as the basis of what will become my doctoral dissertation. 

Christine received a travel grant from the department of the History of Art and Architecture to travel to Lima.