Research

Dr. Person’s research looks at relationships between social and material conditions and individual, community, and public identities.

Click here for Dr. Person’s full C.V.


Funding

Selected funding.

  • American School Project: $81,300, with S. Pilat, L. Guido, and E. Pober ($35,000, OU Provost’s Office; $26,300, OU Vice President for Research Office; $20,000 OU President’s Office). 2017 – Present.
  • Environmental Sustainability Working Group, with R. Peppler: $6,300, Oklahoma-NASA Workforce Development Grant. 2017.
  • Environmental Sustainability Working Group, with R. Peppler: $4,000, Dept. of Geography and Environmental Sustainability Undergraduate Research Funding. 2018.
  • Graduate Research Guide Funding: $13,600, OU Office of Undergraduate Research. 2016 – 2018.
  • Cultural Facilities Project: $70,000, Smithsonian Institution. 2011 – 2013.

Current Projects

Currently, Dr. Person is co-editing a book with Dr. Jacqueline Micieli-Voutsinas of Clark University, entitled Affective Architectures: More-than-Representational Approaches to Heritage. This book is specifically aimed at the Routledge series, “Critical Studies in Heritage, Emotion, and Affect.” This collection draws together an interdisciplinary conversation about how affective heritage is embedded in and negotiated through experiences of geographically diverse architectural sites, including Ford’s Theater, the site of President Lincoln’s assassination; the Estadio National of Santiago, Chile, where 12,000 detainees were held following the ouster of President Salvador Allende; and Unit 731, the site of a biological and chemical warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese army in Harbin, China, and others.

The fifteen essays included in this this volume are organized around four themes: 1) Political Affect: Negotiating Affectuous Identities in Places of Memory; 2) Embedded Geographies: Negotiating the Affectuous in Everyday Landscapes; 3) Affectuous Methodologies: Negotiating More-than-Representational Approaches in Spatial Design; and 4) Affective Pedagogies: Negotiating Emotional Learning at Sites of Heritage. These essays are authored by a diverse and accomplished group, including Johonna Lozoya, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research on Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico; Michelle Bentley, Director of the Centre of International Public Policy at the Royal Holloway University of London; and Kenneth Foote, Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Person is also co-editing a scholarly exhibition catalog with Dr. Stephanie Pilat and Dr. Luca Guido, entitled Renegades: The American School of Architecture, which as been accepted for publication by The University of Oklahoma Press in 2020. This catalog documents what architect Donald MacDonald described as “A new school, probably the only indigenous one in the United States” (1). Also dubbed the American School, the pedagogy developed under the guidance of Bruce Goff and Herb Greene at the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s and ‘60s was fantastically different from how other schools of architecture were training their students at that time. Other architecture schools in the United States generally developed curricula inspired by either the ornate French Beaux Arts model or the modernist German Bauhaus school. Renegades documents this curricular experiment started by Goff at the University of Oklahoma, exploring key ways in which it stood apart from the Beaux Arts and Bauhaus trends as an original and authentically American approach to architecture and pedagogy (2). This richly illustrated scholarly catalog includes essays by esteemed scholars such as Christopher Mead and Robert McCarter. With over 200 images and at 150,000 words in length, the catalog will be a key resource for those seeking to better understand this experimental variant of American architectural pedagogy and practice.  An appendix of over 30 biographies of leading architects of the American School will provide a foundation for future research. To learn more about the American School Project at the University of Oklahoma, click here.

Person also leads the Environmental Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) with Dr. Randy Peppler, Associate Director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. The ESWG has received funding from the Oklahoma-NASA Workforce Development program, the OU Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability and the OU Office of Undergraduate Research. Recent ESWG research has looked at communicating climate change risk, organizing productive environmental discussions across cultural and disciplinary boundaries, and understanding risk perceptions of tornadoes. Learn more about this group’s research here.

Past Projects

Most recently, her study, “Locating the Agency of Architecture: A Geographic Analysis of the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.,” drew on geographic understandings of place, affect, and identity construction to investigate how multiple identities—both architectural and human—are mutually constituted at this site over time. This research was awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2016-17 Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) Dissertation Award. This award honors significant new research in the fields of architecture and environmental design, judged on the basis of the quality, potential impact, and presentation of the research.

In addition to studying human interactions with physical environments, Person is also passionate about promoting facility management (FM) best practices that sustain our infrastructure. As a fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, she co-authored The Care and Keeping of Cultural Facilities: A Best Practice Guidebook for Museum Facility Management (2014), which documents FM best practices for cultural facilities. This book was reviewed by leaders at prestigious cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian, J. Paul Getty Museum and the U.S. Library of Congress.

Person’s previous work has focused on integrating historical, geographic, and feminist sensitivities into studies of the American West and first-year design studio curricula. She has also presented research related, in turn, to sustainability, architectural geography, cultural politics, and brutalism at conferences pertaining to the disciplines of geography, architecture, and anthropology.


(1) Donald MacDonald, “Preface,” Architecture + Urbanism 81:11 (Nov. 1981) :18.

(2) American School descriptive text from link.ou.edu/americanschool.