Results by Title
32 books about Geographical perception
Results by Title
32 books about Geographical perception
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
In this poetic personal narrative, Thomas P. Huber reflects on two seemingly unrelated places-the North Fork Valley in western Colorado and the Coulon River Valley in Provence, France-and finds a shared landscape and sense of place. What began as a simple comparison of two like places in distant locations turned into a more complex, interesting, and personal task. Much is similar-the light, the valleys, the climate, the agriculture. And much is less so-the history, the geology, the physical makeup of villages. Using a geographer's eye and passion for the land and people, Huber examines the regions' similarities and differences to explore the common emotional impact of each region. Part intimate travelogue and part case study of geography in the real world, An American Provence illuminates the importance sense of place plays in who we are.
In Buried Indians, Laurie Hovell McMillin presents the struggle of her hometown, Trempealeau, Wisconsin, to determine whether platform mounds atop Trempealeau Mountain constitute authentic Indian mounds. This dispute, as McMillin subtly demonstrates, reveals much about the attitude and interaction-past and present-between the white and Indian inhabitants of this Midwestern town.
McMillin's account, rich in detail and sensitive to current political issues of American Indian interactions with the dominant European American culture, locates two opposing views: one that denies a Native American presence outright and one that asserts its long history and ruthless destruction. The highly reflective oral histories McMillin includes turn Buried Indians into an accessible, readable portrait of a uniquely American culture clash and a dramatic narrative grounded in people's genuine perceptions of what the platform mounds mean.
Contributors. George E. Bisharat, John Borneman, Rosemary J. Coombe, Mary M. Crain, James Ferguson, Akhil Gupta, Kristin Koptiuch, Karen Leonard, Richard Maddox, Lisa H. Malkki, John Durham Peters, Lisa Rofel
A Wired Most Fascinating Book of the Year
“An important book that reminds us that navigation remains one of our most underappreciated arts.”
—Tristan Gooley, author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs
“If you want to understand what rats can teach us about better-planned cities, why walking into a different room can help you find your car keys, or how your brain’s grid, border, and speed cells combine to give us a sense of direction, this book has all the answers.”
How is it that some of us can walk unfamiliar streets without losing our way, while the rest of us struggle even with a GPS? Navigating in uncharted territory is a remarkable feat if you stop to think about it. In this beguiling mix of science and storytelling, Michael Bond explores how we do it: how our brains make the “cognitive maps” that keep us orientated and how that anchors our sense of wellbeing. Children are instinctive explorers, developing a spatial understanding as they roam. And yet today few of us make use of the wayfinding skills that we inherited from our nomadic ancestors.
Bond tells stories of the lost and found—sailors, orienteering champions, early aviators—and explores why being lost can be such a devastating experience. He considers how our understanding of the world around us affects our psychology and helps us see how our reliance on technology may be changing who we are.
“Bond concludes that, by setting aside our GPS devices, by redesigning parts of our cities and play areas, and sometimes just by letting ourselves get lost, we can indeed revivify our ability to find our way, to the benefit of our inner world no less than the outer one.”
“A thoughtful argument about how our ability to find our way is integral to our nature.”
For more than a century, the world has recognized the extraordinary biological diversity of the forests of Tanzania’s Usambara Mountains. As international attention has focused on forest conservation, farmers, foresters, biologists, and the Tanzanian state have realized that only complex negotiations will save these treasured, but rapidly disappearing, landscapes.
Highland Sanctuary unravels the complex interactions among agriculture, herding, forestry, the colonial state, and the landscape itself. In his examination of the region’s history of ecological transformation, Christopher Conte demonstrates how these forces have combined to create an ever-changing mosaic of forest and field. His study illuminates the debate over conservation, arguing that contingency and chance, the stuff of human history, have shaped forests in ways that rival the power of nature. In Highland Sanctuary, the forest becomes part of human history, rather than something outside of it.
Highland Sanctuary cuts through a legacy of contention and ill will to inform contemporary conservation initiatives. Professor Conte explains how ecological changes take divergent paths in similar environments, in this case on mountains that harbor unique flora and fauna, and how these mountain environments achieve international importance as centers of biodiversity.
Landscape has always played a vital role in shaping Japan’s cultural identity. Imaginative Mapping analyzes how intellectuals of the Tokugawa and Meiji eras used specific features and aspects of the landscape to represent their idea of Japan and produce a narrative of Japan as a cultural community. These scholars saw landscapes as repositories of local history and identity, stressing Japan’s differences from the models of China and the West.
By detailing the continuities and ruptures between a sense of shared cultural community that emerged in the seventeenth century and the modern nation state of the late nineteenth century, this study sheds new light on the significance of early modernity, one defined not by temporal order but rather by spatial diffusion of the concept of Japan. More precisely, Nobuko Toyosawa argues that the circulation of guidebooks and other spatial narratives not only promoted further movement but also contributed to the formation of subjectivity by allowing readers to imagine the broader conceptual space of Japan. The recurring claims to the landscape are evidence that it was the medium for the construction of Japan as a unified cultural body.
Many students come to African history with a host of stereotypes that are not always easy to dislodge. One of the most common is that of Africa as safari grounds—as the land of expansive, unpopulated game reserves untouched by civilization and preserved in their original pristine state by the tireless efforts of contemporary conservationists. With prose that is elegant in its simplicity and analysis that is forceful and compelling, Jan Bender Shetler brings the landscape memory of the Serengeti to life. She demonstrates how the social identities of western Serengeti peoples are embedded in specific spaces and in their collective memories of those spaces. Using a new methodology to analyze precolonial oral traditions, Shetler identifies core spatial images and reevaluates them in their historical context through the use of archaeological, linguistic, ethnographic, ecological, and archival evidence. Imagining Serengeti is a lively environmental history that will ensure that we never look at images of the African landscape in quite the same way.
This volume presents work from an international group of writers who explore conceptualizations of what defined “East” and “West” in Eastern Europe, imperial Russia, and the Soviet Union. The contributors analyze the effects of transnational interactions on ideology, politics, and cultural production. They reveal that the roots of an East/West cultural divide were present many years prior to the rise of socialism and the cold war.
The chapters offer insights into the complex stages of adoption and rejection of Western ideals in areas such as architecture, travel writings, film, music, health care, consumer products, political propaganda, and human rights. They describe a process of mental mapping whereby individuals “captured and possessed” Western identity through cultural encounters and developed their own interpretations from these experiences. Despite these imaginaries, political and intellectual elites devised responses of resistance, defiance, and counterattack to defy Western impositions.
Socialists believed that their cultural forms and collectivist strategies offered morally and materially better lives for the masses and the true path to a modern society. Their sentiments toward the West, however, fluctuated between superiority and inferiority. But in material terms, Western products, industry, and technology, became the ever-present yardstick by which progress was measured. The contributors conclude that the commodification of the necessities of modern life and the rise of consumerism in the twentieth century made it impossible for communist states to meet the demands of their citizens. The West eventually won the battle of supply and demand, and thus the battle for cultural influence.
Examining the place names, geographical knowledge, and cultural associations of the Kiowa from the earliest recorded sources to the present, Kiowa Ethnogeography is the most in-depth study of its kind in the realm of Plains Indian tribal analysis. Linking geography to political and social changes, William Meadows applies a chronological approach that demonstrates a cultural evolution within the Kiowa community.
Preserved in both linguistic and cartographic forms, the concepts of place, homeland, intertribal sharing of land, religious practice, and other aspects of Kiowa life are clarified in detail. Native religious relationships to land (termed "geosacred" by the author) are carefully documented as well. Meadows also provides analysis of the only known extant Kiowa map of Black Goose, its unique pictographic place labels, and its relationship to reservation-era land policies. Additional coverage of rivers, lakes, and military forts makes this a remarkably comprehensive and illuminating guide.
As Gordillo explains, the bush is the result of social, cultural, and political processes that intertwine this place with other geographies. Labor exploitation, state violence, encroachment by settlers, and the demands of Anglican missionaries all transformed this land. The Toba’s lives have been torn between alienating work in sugar plantations and relative freedom in the bush, between moments of domination and autonomy, abundance and poverty, terror and healing. Part of this contradictory experience is culturally expressed in devils, evil spirits that acquire different features in different places. The devils are sources of death and disease in the plantations, but in the bush they are entities that connect with humans as providers of bush food and healing power. Enacted through memory, the experiences of the Toba have produced a tense and shifting geography. Combining extensive fieldwork conducted over a decade, historical research, and critical theory, Gordillo offers a nuanced analysis of the Toba’s social memory and a powerful argument that geographic places are not only objective entities but also the subjective outcome of historical forces.
Karin Aguilar-San Juan examines the contradictions of Vietnamese American community and identity in two emblematic yet different locales: Little Saigon in suburban Orange County, California (widely described as the capital of Vietnamese America) and the urban "Vietnamese town" of Fields Corner in Boston, Massachusetts. Their distinctive qualities challenge assumptions about identity and space, growth amid globalization, and processes of Americanization.
With a comparative and race-cognizant approach, Aguilar-San Juan shows how places like Little Saigon and Fields Corner are sites for the simultaneous preservation and redefinition of Vietnamese identity. Intervening in debates about race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and suburbanization as a form of assimilation, this work elaborates on the significance of place as an integral element of community building and its role in defining Vietnamese American-ness.
Staying Vietnamese, according to Aguilar-San Juan, is not about replicating life in Viet Nam. Rather, it involves moving toward a state of equilibrium that, though always in flux, allows refugees, immigrants, and their U.S.-born offspring to recalibrate their sense of self in order to become Vietnamese anew in places far from their presumed geographic home.
By the end of World War II, strategists in Washington and London looked ahead to a new era in which the United States shouldered global responsibilities and Britain concentrated its regional interests more narrowly. The two powers also viewed the Muslim world through very different lenses. Mapping the End of Empire reveals how Anglo-American perceptions of geography shaped postcolonial futures from the Middle East to South Asia.
Aiyaz Husain shows that American and British postwar strategy drew on popular notions of geography as well as academic and military knowledge. Once codified in maps and memoranda, these perspectives became foundations of foreign policy. In South Asia, American officials envisioned an independent Pakistan blocking Soviet influence, an objective that outweighed other considerations in the contested Kashmir region. Shoring up Pakistan meshed perfectly with British hopes for a quiescent Indian subcontinent once partition became inevitable. But serious differences with Britain arose over America's support for the new state of Israel. Viewing the Mediterranean as a European lake of sorts, U.S. officials--even in parts of the State Department--linked Palestine with Europe, deeming it a perfectly logical destination for Jewish refugees. But British strategists feared that the installation of a Jewish state in Palestine could incite Muslim ire from one corner of the Islamic world to the other.
As Husain makes clear, these perspectives also influenced the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and blueprints for the UN Security Council and shaped French and Dutch colonial fortunes in the Levant and the East Indies.
Any landscape has an unseen component: a subjective component of experience, memory, and narrative which people familiar with the place understand to be an integral part of its geography but which outsiders may not suspect the existence of—unless they listen and read carefully. This invisible landscape is make visible though stories, and these stories are the focus of this engrossing book.
Traveling across the invisible landscape in which we imaginatively dwell, Kent Ryden—himself a most careful listener and reader—asks the following questions. What categories of meaning do we read into our surroundings? What forms of expression serve as the most reliable maps to understanding those meanings? Our sense of any place, he argues, consists of a deeply ingrained experiential knowledge of its physical makeup; an awareness of its communal and personal history; a sense of our identity as being inextricably bound up with its events and ways of life; and an emotional reaction, positive or negative, to its meanings and memories.
Ryden demonstrates that both folk and literary narratives about place bear a striking thematic and stylistic resemblance. Accordingly, Mapping the Invisible Landscape examines both kinds of narratives. For his oral materials, Ryden provides an in-depth analysis of narratives collected in the Coeur d'Alene mining district in the Idaho panhandle; for his consideration of written works, he explores the “essay of place,” the personal essay which takes as its subject a particular place and a writer's relationship to that place.
Drawing on methods and materials from geography, folklore, and literature, Mapping the Invisible Landscape offers a broadly interdisciplinary analysis of the way we situate ourselves imaginatively in the landscape, the way we inscribe its surface with stories. Written in an extremely engaging style, this book will lead its readers to an awareness of the vital role that a sense of place plays in the formation of local cultures, to an understanding of the many-layered ways in which place interacts with individual lives, and to renewed appreciation of the places in their own lives and landscapes.
The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented discovery and exploration throughout the globe, a period when the “blank spaces” of the earth were systematically investigated, occupied, and exploited by the major imperial powers of Western Europe and the United States. The lived experience of space was also changing in dramatic ways for people as a result of new developments in technology, communication, and transportation. As a result, the century was characterized by a new and intense interest in place, both local and global.
The collection is comprised of seventeen essays from various disciplines organized into four areas of geographic concern. The first, “Time Zones,” examines several ways that place gets expressed as time during the period, how geography becomes history. A second grouping, “Commodities and Exchanges,” explores the role of geographic origin as it was embodied in particular objects, from the souvenir map to imported tea. The set of essays on “Domestic Fronts” moves the discussion from the public to the private sphere by looking at how domestic space became defined in terms of its boundary with the foreign. The final section, “Orientations,” takes up the changing relations of bodies, identities, and the spaces they inhabit and through which they moved. The collection as a whole also traces the development of the discipline of geography with its different institutional and political trajectories in the United States and Great Britain.
Scholars in the humanities have become increasingly interested in questions of how space is produced and perceived—and they have found that this consideration of human geography greatly enriches our understanding of cultural history. This “spatial turn” equally has the potential to revolutionize Jewish Studies, complicating familiar notions of Jews as “people of the Book,” displaced persons with only a common religious tradition and history to unite them.
Space and Place in Jewish Studies embraces these exciting critical developments by investigating what “space” has meant within Jewish culture and tradition—and how notions of “Jewish space,” diaspora, and home continue to resonate within contemporary discourse, bringing space to the foreground as a practical and analytical category. Barbara Mann takes us on a journey from medieval Levantine trade routes to the Eastern European shtetl to the streets of contemporary New York, introducing readers to the variety of ways in which Jews have historically formed communities and created a sense of place for themselves. Combining cutting-edge theory with rabbinics, anthropology, and literary analysis, Mann offers a fresh take on the Jewish experience.
The traditional Chinese notion of itself as the “middle kingdom”—literally the cultural and political center of the world—remains vital to its own self-perceptions and became foundational to Western understandings of China. This worldview was primarily constructed during the earliest imperial unification of China during the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BCE–220 CE). But the fragmentation of empire and subsequent “Age of Disunion” (220–589 CE) that followed undermined imperial orthodoxies of unity, centrality, and universality. In response, geographical writing proliferated, exploring greater spatial complexities and alternative worldviews.
This book is the first study of the emergent genre of geographical writing and the metageographies that structured its spatial thought during that period. Early medieval geographies highlighted spatial units and structures that the Qin–Han empire had intentionally sought to obscure—including those of regional, natural, and foreign spaces. Instead, these postimperial metageographies reveal a polycentric China in a polycentric world. Sui–Tang (581–906 CE) officials reasserted the imperial model as spatial orthodoxy. But since that time these alternative frameworks have persisted in geographical thought, continuing to illuminate spatial complexities that have been incompatible with the imperial and nationalist ideal of a monolithic China at the center of the world.
An inquiry into how we engage with the world, and how solutions to environmental challenges can be found in the heart of our emotional relationships with places
"No one with a working heart will fail to be moved by Van Gelder. With passion and intelligence, she explores the way we story places and places story all life."
---Patrick Curry, Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Kent, and author of Ecological Ethics: An Introduction and Defending Middle-Earth
"With grace and passion Leslie Van Gelder weaves together stories of her own encounters with an amazing variety of places---riverside meadows of Oxford, racially sundered Cyprus, fly-tormented Canadian muskeg, caves stroked by Paleolithic fingertips, derelict Coney Island, grasslands through which lion cubs follow the black tip of their mother’s tail---to show us how Place and Story are the warp and weft of our being as earth-dwellers."
---Tim Robinson, Folding Landscapes, and author of Connemara: Listening to the Wind
"Travel narrative, memoir, literary criticism, and anthropology fuse in this highly original and moving exploration of place and home."
---John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home and Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa
"Van Gelder offers her most deeply personal stories as microcosmic examples of universal human experience, thus creating an empathic bond with her reader that conveys power and understanding simultaneously, and stimulates the reader's imagination toward reflection upon similarly personal stories of place. Van Gelder has modeled the relationship between story and place by telling placeful stories, and so has licensed the reader to do the same. Her writing throughout is rich and metaphoric. She is a gifted storyteller and a competent scholar, a combination to be treasured."
---Joseph W. Meeker, Professor Emeritus, College of Arts/Science, Union Institute and University, and author of The Spheres of Life, The Comedy of Survival, and Minding the Earth
Weaving a Way Home is an inquiry into the complex relationship between people, place, and story. In our memories and connections to a place, we are given one of the few opportunities to have deep relationships with place---relationships that cannot be described in words. Place can embody powerful emotions for us, and Leslie Van Gelder argues that we ourselves are places---geographical points possessing unique perspectives---that can feel displaced, replaced, or immovable. While the places of the external world can be accessed through maps and a good GPS system, our emotional landscapes are best reached through the sharing of stories.
In the tradition of writers Lewis Hyde, Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, Joseph Meeker, Steven Mithen, Paul Shepard, Gary Snyder, and Terry Tempest Williams, Van Gelder uses both creative nonfiction narrative and evolutionary biological theory to explore complex terrain. Following Van Gelder's own travels, the book moves from the caves of the Dordogne lit only by the small beam of a flashlight, to an acacia thicket in Mozambique, to a black fly–infested bay inappropriately named Baie de Ha Ha in the inlands of Quebec, to the green line wrapped in barbed wire separating northern and southern Cyprus, to Abu Simbel's empty stone eyes in the Egyptian desert, and finally to the high road above Pelorus Sound on the rocky coasts of New Zealand. The author takes the reader to each place to create a storied landscape and explore new intellectual terrain. Van Gelder shows us that our collections of experiences, unique to us, can only be shared through the articulation of narrative.Weaving a Way Home will appeal to those deeply interested in knowing how we forge relationships with places and how that shapes who we are.
Jacket photographs: Garden gate: © iStockphoto.com/Richard Goerg. Iron fence: Christ Church Meadow in Oxford, Leslie Van Gelder.
Author photograph: Kevin Sharpe
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press