Research Seminar: Anna Andrzejewski

Research Seminar: Anna Andrzejewski

"Making Paradise: Living in South Florida’s Vacation and Retirement Communities"


Virtual Event
May 29 2024 (Originally December 13, 2023)
Time 12 PM
Registration for this event is via Eventbrite.

In the 25 years after World War II, the coastline of South Florida was transformed into a sprawling cultural landscape of leisure, made up of suburban communities designed for vacationers and retirees. While builders and real estate developers were integral in drawing throngs of leisure seekers to South Florida from the Midwest and Northeastern U.S., residents also played a critical role in shaping this “paradise.” Relying on evidence from community newsletters, local newspapers, and regional photographic collections, this seminar explores the ways in which vacationers and retirees worked to create a tropical leisure lifestyle in these communities during the 1950s and 1960s. It hones in on the contrast between the amenities and experience in these communities with the cultural landscape and lifestyles in urban parts of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa/St. Petersburg. In doing so the paper brings to light the ways in which the landscape of white, middle-class leisure communities depended for their success on racial and class difference, particularly noticeable in the waning years of Jim Crow and at the onset of the Civil Rights movement.

Anna Andrzejewski is a faculty member in Art History and the Bradshaw Knight professor in Environmental Humanities in the Nelson Institute at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Building Power: Architecture and Surveillance in Modern America. Andrzejewski was in residence at Hagley in 2023 as a recipient of the NEH-Hagley Fellowship on Business, Culture, and Society.

Richard Harris of McMaster University will provide the comment.

Attendees are encouraged to read Anna Andrzejewski's paper, “Making Paradise: Living in South Florida’s Vacation and Retirement Communities” which may be obtained by contacting Carol Lockman at