Jill Ellen Bambury
Research Area: The Church in the 'Hyperghetto': an architectural investigation of an African American neighbourhood in New Orleans, Louisiana
Supervisor: Dr Wendy Pullan
The architecture of the African American Church in south Louisiana, with particular emphases on the city of New Orleans
Jill Bambury’s dissertation research examines the architecture of the African American Church in south Louisiana, with particular emphases on the city of New Orleans. The ‘black church’ is grounded in a particular and difficult history. From the founding of Louisiana among native Americans as a French colony in an English world, through the fall of its two hundred year and fifty year old slave-dependent economy following the American Civil War, its post-Reconstruction segregation, its struggle with Civil Rights for blacks and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the African American church has played a deliberate and responsive role.
In acknowledgement of the unique role of the African American Church in the formation, history and conservation of the community it serves, Jill’s research considers the church not only as a place of community formation and celebration, but also as a place of resistance against various forms of oppression, historically and now. The dissertation argues that the architecture of the churches is not as simple or arbitrary as it may seem. Rather, the tools wrought and traditions founded in response to the difficult histories and geographies of the place and its people have resulted in a culturally specific architecture that reflects and accommodates the very specific histories and needs of its congregants, constituting community identity in the process.
Jill Bambury has a BA in Sociology from Dalhousie University, BEDS and BArch from Dalhousie University School of Architecture (formerly the Technical University of Nova Scotia) in Canada. She holds an MPhil in Architectural History and Theory from the University of Cambridge. She completed professional licensure in Canada and has taught in professional architecture programs in Canada and the United States.