"Not since Thoreau has an American author displayed such a profound appreciation for the aesthetics of nature; but, unlike Thoreau, Berleant has designed a program for allowing others to join in on that appreciation."
--E. F. Kaelin, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University
Environmental aesthetics is an emerging discipline that explores the meaning and influence of environmental perception and experience on human life. Arguing for the idea that environment is not merely a setting for people but fully integrated and continuous with us, Arnold Berleant explores the aesthetic dimensions of the human-environment continuum in both theoretical terms and concrete situations. Insisting on the need to reconceptualize environment and recognize its aesthetic implications, he pursues a variety of topics and approaches to environmental aesthetics.
Aesthetic experience, maintains Berleant, is always contextual. Recognizing that humans, along with all other things, inhabit a single intraconnected realm, he names the quality of engagement as the foremost characteristic of environmental perception. Berleant moves from natural to nonnatural environments, suggesting that the aesthetic aspect of any human habitat is an essential part of its desirability. From outer space to the museum, from architecture to landscape, from city to wilderness, this book discovers in the aesthetic perception of environment the reciprocity that constitutes both person and place.
"Arnold Berleant's Aesthetics of Environment poses an important path for philosophy to walk down--instead of environmental ethics, where what is right and wrong in nature is discussed, he goes after the difficult destination of deciding how to articulate what is beautiful in the nature we want, not the nature we see."
--Human Ecology Review
"Berleant's new environmental aesthetics is a challenge not only to the philosophers but also to the practitioners of environment-making. With rich illustrations and freedom from technical jargon, Berleant applies his new aesthetics to analyzing and solving the practical problems concerning various environmental designs of today."
--Canadian Philosophical Review
"A pioneering contribution to this discipline. It raises a large number of challenging questions and suggests new dirrections in the analysis of the environment as an aesthetic category."
--Michael H. Mutias, Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College
An American Provence
Thomas P. Huber University Press of Colorado, 2011 Library of Congress GF91.F73H84 2011 | Dewey Decimal 554.495
"I have talked about luscious wines and succulent fruit and exquisite dinners. But there may be no more evocative experience of the two valleys than the smell of new-mown hay in the fields at dusk. If a person were to close their eyes, they could not tell if they were in Provence or the North Fork Valley. That sweet, earthy odor is part of the beauty of these places."
-From An American Provence
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.
Preservation has traditionally focused on saving prominent buildings of historical or architectural significance. Preserving cultural landscapes-the combined fabric of the natural and man-made environments-is a relatively new and often misunderstood idea among preservationists, but it is of increasing importance. The essays collected in this volume-case studies that include the Little Tokyo neighborhood in Los Angeles, the Cross Bronx Expressway, and a rural island in Puget Sound-underscore how this approach can be fruitfully applied. Together, they make clear that a cultural landscape perspective can be an essential underpinning for all historic preservation projects.
Contributors: Susan Calafate Boyle, National Park Service; Susan Buggey, U of Montreal; Michael Caratzas, Landmarks Preservation Commission (NYC); Courtney P. Fint, West Virginia Historic Preservation Office; Heidi Hohmann, Iowa State U; Hillary Jenks, USC; Randall Mason, U Penn; Robert Z. Melnick, U of Oregon; Nora Mitchell, National Park Service; Julie Riesenweber, U of Kentucky; Nancy Rottle, U of Washington; Bonnie Stepenoff, Southeast Missouri State U.
Richard Longstreth is professor of American civilization and director of the graduate program in historic preservation at George Washington University.
Trees are the grandest and most beautiful plant creations on earth. From their shade-giving, arching branches and strikingly diverse bark to their complex root systems, trees represent shelter, stability, place, and community as few other living objects can.
Enduring Roots tells the stories of historic American trees, including the oak, the apple, the cherry, and the oldest of the world’s trees, the bristlecone pine. These stories speak of our attachment to the land, of our universal and eternal need to leave a legacy, and demonstrate that the landscape is a gift, to be both received and, sometimes, tragically, to be destroyed.
Each chapter of this book focuses on a specific tree or group of trees and its relationship to both natural and human history, while exploring themes of community, memory, time, and place. Readers learn that colonial farmers planted marker trees near their homes to commemorate auspicious events like the birth of a child, a marriage, or the building of a house. They discover that Benjamin Franklin’s Newtown Pippin apples were made into a pie aboard Captain Cook’s Endeavour while the ship was sailing between Tahiti and New Zealand. They are told the little-known story of how the Japanese flowering cherry became the official tree of our nation’s capital—a tale spanning many decades and involving an international cast of characters. Taken together, these and many other stories provide us with a new ways to interpret the American landscape.
“It is my hope,” the author writes, “that this collection will be seen for what it is, a few trees selected from a great forest, and that readers will explore both—the trees and the forest—and find pieces of their own stories in each.”
Geography of the Gaze offers a new history and theory of how the way we look at things influences what we see. Focusing on Western Europe from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, Renzo Dubbini shows how developments in science, art, mapping, and visual epistemology affected the ways natural and artificial landscapes were perceived and portrayed.
He begins with the idea of the "view," explaining its role in the invention of landscape painting and in the definition of landscape as a cultural space. Among other topics, Dubbini explores how the descriptive and pictorial techniques used in mariners' charts, view-oriented atlases, military cartography, and garden design were linked to the proliferation of highly realistic paintings of landscapes and city scenes; how the "picturesque" system for defining and composing landscapes affected not just art but also archaeology and engineering; and how the ever-changing modern cityscapes inspired new ways of seeing and representing the urban scene in Impressionist painting, photography, and stereoscopy. A marvelous history of viewing, Geography of the Gaze will interest everyone from scientists to artists.
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.
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.
How do people perceive the land around them, and how is that perception changed by history? The contributors explore this question from an anthropological angle, assessing the connections between place, space, identity, nationalism, history and memory in a variety of different settings around the world. Taking historical change and memory as key themes, they offer a broad study that will appeal to a readership across the social sciences.
Contributors from North America, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Europe explore a wide variety of case studies that includes seascapes in Jamaica; the Solomon Islands; the forests of Madagascar; Aboriginal and European notions of landscape in Australia; place and identity in 19th century maps and the bogs of Ireland; contemporary concerns over changing landscapes in Papua New Guinea; and representations of landscape and history in the poetry of the Scottish Borders.
Kent Ryden does not deny that the natural landscape of New England is shaped by many centuries of human manipulation, but he also takes the view that nature is everywhere, close to home as well as in more remote wilderness, in the city and in the countryside. InLandscape with Figures he dissolves the border between culture and nature to merge ideas about nature, experiences in nature, and material alterations of nature.
Ryden takes his readers from the printed page directly to the field and back again-. He often bypasses books and goes to the trees from which they are made and the landscapes they evoke, then returns with a renewed appreciation for just what an interdisciplinary, historically informed approach can bring to our understanding of the natural world. By exploring McPhee's The Pine Barrens and Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces, the coastal fiction of New England, surveying and Thoreau's The Maine Woods,Maine's abandoned Cumberland and Oxford Canal, and the natural bases for New England's historical identity, Ryden demonstrates again and again that nature and history are kaleidoscopically linked.
The arrival of Anglo settlers in the 1870s marked the beginning of major vegetation changes in southeastern Arizona, including an increase in woody plants in rangelands, the degradation of riparian wetlands, and the spread of non-native plants. While many of these changes have already been linked to human land-use through comparative photographs and historic descriptions, it has long been presumed that changes in the region's climate have also contributed to vegetation change.
Geographer Conrad Bahre now challenges the view that these vegetation changes are due to climatic change. Correlating his own field research with archival records and photographs, Bahre demonstrates that most of the changes follow some type of human disturbance, such as cattle grazing, fuelwood cutting, wildfire suppression, agriculture, and road construction. Indeed, all available evidence suggests that Anglo settlement brought unprecedented changes to the land.
Vegetation change in the American West has long been an issue of concern. This careful scrutiny of one corner of that region—one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the United States—shows how poorly understood is the relationship between human activities and vegetation. More important, it introduces new techniques for differentiating between natural and anthropogenic factors effecting vegetation change that can be used to help ecologists understand vegetation dynamics worldwide.
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.
On Zion’s Mount shows how, paradoxically, the Mormons created their homeland at the expense of the local Indians—and how they expressed their sense of belonging by investing Mt. Timpanogos with “Indian” meaning.
Wade Davis has been called "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." In Shadows in the Sun, he brings all of those gifts to bear on a fascinating examination of indigenous cultures and the interactions between human societies and the natural world.
Ranging from the British Columbian wilderness to the jungles of the Amazon and the polar ice of the Arctic Circle, Shadows in the Sun is a testament to a world where spirits still stalk the land and seize the human heart. Its essays and stories, though distilled from travels in widely separated parts of the world, are fundamentally about landscape and character, the wisdom of lives drawn directly from the land, the hunger of those who seek to rediscover such understanding, and the consequences of failure.
As Davis explains, "To know that other, vastly different cultures exist is to remember that our world does not exist in some absolute sense but rather is just one model of reality. The Penan in the forests of Borneo, the Vodoun acolytes in Haiti, the jaguar Shaman of Venezuela, teach us that there are other options, other possibilities, other ways of thinking and interacting with the earth." Shadows in the Sun considers those possibilities, and explores their implications for our world.
Hailed as a landmark in its field since its first publication in 1984, Denis E. Cosgrove’s Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape has been influential well beyond geography. It has continued to spark lively debate among historians, geographers, art historians, social theorists, landscape architects, and others interested in the social and cultural politics of landscape.