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Philosophy | Symbolic Landscapes

Symbolic Landscapes

Backhaus, Gary, Murungi, John (Eds.)

2009, XX, 400 p.

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  • Covers a wide-range of examples or cases
  • Contributes to a widely-respected, but under-published area of human/cultural geography as well as the growing interest in place across the disciplines
  • Makes a case for the study of symbolism as essential to landscape/place studies
  • Offers a lived-geography (experiential) component that heightens interest
  • Develops new ways to approach symbolism through an interdisciplinary focus

Symbolic Landscapes presents a definitive collection of landscape/place studies that explores symbolic, cultural levels of geographical meanings. Essays written by philosophers, geographers, architects, social scientists, art historians, and literati, bring specific modes of expertise and perspectives to this transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary study of the symbolic level human existential spatiality. Placing emphasis on the pre-cognitive genesis of symbolic meaning, as well as embodied, experiential (lived) geography, the volume offers a fresh, quasi-phenomenological approach.

The editors articulate the epistemological doctrine that perception and imagination form a continuum in which both are always implicated as complements. This approach makes a case for the interrelation of the geography of perception and the geography of imagination, which means that human/cultural geography offers only an abstraction if indeed an aesthetic geography is constituted merely as a sub-field. Human/cultural geography can only approach spatial reality through recognizing the intimate interrelative dialectic between the imaginative and perceptual meanings of our landscapes/place-worlds. This volume reinvigorates the importance of the topic of symbolism in human/cultural geography, landscape studies, philosophy of place, architecture and planning, and will stand among the classics in the field.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » atlas - design - lived-geography - philosophy - pre-cognitive - symbolic

Related subjects » Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Geography - Philosophy

Table of contents 

Part I: Place-Worlds Introduction I: The Problematic of Grounding the Significance of Symbolic Landscapes; Gary Backhaus The Road to Indian Wells: Symbolic Landscapes in the California Desert; Alex Zukas Wilderness as Axis Mundi: Spiritual Journey on the Appalachian Trail; Kip Redick Pu‘u Kohola: Spatial Genealogy of a Hawaiian Symbolic Landscape; RDK Herman Mythological Landscape and Landscape of Myth: Circulating Visions of Pre-Christian Athos; Veronica della Dora At Home on the Midway: Carnival Conventions and Yard Space in Gibsonton, Florida; Charlie Hailey Crossing the Verge: Roadside Memorials—Perth Western Australia; Dennis Wood Life on 'The Avenue': An Allegory of the Street in Early Twenty-First-Century Suburban America; John Srygley Metaphor, Environmental Receptivity, and Architectural Design; Brook Muller Part II: Geographical Sensibilities in the Arts Introduction II: An Apology Concerning the Importance of the Geography of Imagination; Gary Backhaus Severence of Sovereignty: Cartographic Possession in Map Cartouches and Atlas Frontispieces of Early Modern Europe; Christine Petto Symbolism and the Interaction of the Real and the Ideal: Scenery in Early-Modern Netherlandish Graphic Art; Anat Gilboa Traversing One’s Space: Photography and the Feminine; Panizza Allmark Symbolizing the Midwest: The Horizon in the Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh; Nannette Brewer The Philadelphia Flower Show and its Dangerous Sensibilities; Gary Backhaus Gardening ata Japanese Garden; John Murungi Symbolic Space, Memory, Narrative, Writing; Arndt Niebisch Vienna’s Musical Deathscape; Linda Ardito Crusoe’s Island and the Human Estate: Defoe’s Existential Geography; Dennis Skocz Selected Bibliography Index About the Contributors

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