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Off-grid Mobilities

Incorporating a Way of Life

Phillip: Taggart Vannini

Drawing from sensory ethnography, the present multimodal writing—accompanied by photography and digital video—documents and interprets the mobilities of off-grid living on Lasqueti Island, British Columbia, Canada. The data presentation focuses in particular on the embodied experience of off-grid inhabitation, highlighting the sensory and kinetic experiences and practices of everyday life in a community disconnected from the North American electrical grid and highway network. The mobilities of fuel and energy are presented in unison with ethnographic attention to the taskscape of everyday activities and movements in which off-grid islanders routinely engage. The analysis, based on Tim Ingold's non-representational theory on place, movement, and inhabitation, focuses on how the material and corporeal mobilities of off-grid life body forth a unique sense of place.

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Bill Devall

The death of American environmentalism has recently been proclaimed by some commentators (Schellenberger and Nordhaus 2005). Such declarations tend to be limiting because they fail to explore and evaluate the historical context of international, national, and regional social forces and social changes that shaped the American environmental movement over the past century. In this essay, I propose to explore the important question of the decline of American environmentalism within the context of a recurring theme pursued by the American movement: the protection of places wherein we dwell. David Brower has called this the practice of Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration, or CPR (Brower 1995).

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Hillel Cohen

While the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque constitutes a national and religious focal point for both Israelis and Palestinians, there have been profound differences in the attitudes of the competing national movements to this site. The Zionist movement attempted to create alternative, secular holy places (such as the Jezreel Valley and the Hebrew University) in order to detach itself from blunt messianism, while the Palestinians, from the Mandate period onward, have emphasized their attachment to the holy site in Jerusalem. The revival of suppressed messianic sentiments in Israeli society, however, exposes the religious dimension of the conflict and accentuates the role of the holy sites in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

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Human Mobility and the Spatial Dynamics of Knowledge

Mapping Science, Technology, and Medicine in and around Late Imperial China

Catherine Jami

The project “Individual Itineraries and the Circulation of Scientific and Technical Knowledge in China (16th–20th Centuries)” has shed light on the impact of individuals’ geographic mobility on the spatial dynamics of knowledge in late imperial China, where the bureaucratic system dictated a specific pattern of mobility for the elites. The question was also studied for other socioprofessional groups—craftsmen and medical doctors—and for the actors of the globalization of knowledge—Christian missionaries, colonial doctors, and the Chinese students. The studies conducted shed light on a variety of places, social milieus, fields of knowledge, and on the conditions of travel of technical knowledge—including sericulture, water conservancy, medicine, natural history, and statistics—against the background of the expertise such as classical scholarship—the dominant body of knowledge, sanctioned by imperial examination—circulated among the elite.

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Joshua Nash

Architectural pilgrimage is implicitly appreciated in architecture and design circles, especially by students who are encouraged to “travel to architecture,” with the focus on the Grand Tour as a means of architectural exploration. However, the expression has not been made explicit in the fields of architectural history, pilgrimage studies, tourism research, and mobility studies. I explore how pilgrimage to locations of modern architectural interest affects and informs pilgrims' and architects' conceptions of buildings and the pilgrimage journey itself. Drawing initially on a European architectural pilgrimage, the personal narrative highlights the importance of self-reflection and introspection when observing the built environment and the role of language in mediating processes of movement through and creation of architectural place-space.

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Where Is Southern Literature?

The Practice of Place in a Postsouthern Age

Scott Romine

Of the several stock answers to the perennial question ‘What is southern literature?’, the importance of ‘place’ (or the presence of ‘sense of place’) surely ranks near the top of the list. Immediately we are faced with a paradox: How can any regional literature be distinguished on so ambiguous a basis? Places are, after all, found everywhere and in all literatures, and it is doubtful that even a rigorous poetics could reliably identify a ‘sense of place’ that is distinctively southern. To complicate matters, ‘sense of place’ often seems to imply being located not merely in a distinctive region, but in a distinctive way; the term connotes something that is not just geographically different (a southern variation of a thing that exists elsewhere), but qualitatively different (a thing distinctive to the South). ‘Sense of place’, then, serves as both a description (southern literature has it) and a distinction (southern literature has more of it than other literatures). For my purposes here, it precisely the nebulous content of ‘place’ that makes it so useful as a point of entry into examining how critics have defined and practised southern literature; because of place’s conceptual instability, what stability it does possess can be ascribed almost exclusively to how it has been used. Arguably, the location of ‘place’ is not so much in the South or in southern literature as in the critical discourse about those things.

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Race and Intimacy

Albert Murray's South to a Very Old Place

Carolyn M. Jones

In her essay, ‘Place in Fiction’, Eudora Welty describes place as identity.1 We put a poetic claim on, give a name to, a part of landscape that has put a claim on us. Place, therefore, is space to which meaning has been ascribed2 – as Scott Romine expresses it ‘a network of imperatives, codes, norms, limitations, duties, obligations and relationships’.3 As we name, therefore, we create, as Welty describes it, a crossroads, ‘a proving ground’.4 That place is the South, and the South is the ground of the novel. Yet, so often, as Barbara Ladd reminds us, place can become ‘something phantasmagoric … something longed lost and longed for … a locus of desire’ – a dream rather than a reality. Can place, she asks, function, become viable, dynamic and vital?

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Two Venerated Mothers Separated by a Wall

Iconic Spaces, Territoriality, and Borders in Israel-Palestine

Nurit Stadler and Nimrod Luz

This article explores the role of sacred places and pilgrimage centers in the context of contemporary geopolitical strife and border disputes. Following and expanding on the growing body of literature engaged with the contested nature of the sacred, this article argues that sacred sites are becoming more influential in processes of determining physical borders. We scrutinize this phenomenon through the prism of a small parcel of land on the two sides of the Separation Wall that is being constructed between Israel and Palestine. Our analysis focuses on two holy shrines that are dedicated to devotional mothers: the traditional Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch on the way to Bethlehem and Our Lady of the Wall, an emergent Christian site constructed as a reaction to the Wall. We examine the architectural (and material) phenomenology, the experience, and the implications that characterize these two adjacent spatialities, showing how these sites are being used as political tools by various actors to challenge the political, social, and geographical order.

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Suzanne W. Jones, Sharon Monteith, Rosalind Poppleton-Pritchard, John Place, Kate Fullbrook, Dennis Brown and Brenda McKay

Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy by Annette Gordon-Reed. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1998. paper ISBN 0-8139-1833-2.

Fictions of Labor: William Faulkner and the South’s Long Revolution by Richard Godden, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 288. ISBN 0521- 56142-6 (hardback), £37.50.

The Green Breast of the New World: Landscape, Gender, and American Fiction, by Louise H. Westling. Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8203-2080-3. paper £14.50.

Inventing Southern Literature, by Michael Kreyling. Jackson: Univ. of Mississippi Press, 1998, Pp. xviii + 200. $17.00. ISBN 1-57806-045-1.

Dixie Debates: Perspectives on Southern Cultures Richard H. King and Helen Taylor, Eds. London: Pluto Press, 1996. Pp. xii, 242, ISBN 0 7453 0958 5 (HB), 0 7453 0957 7 (PB).

Literature, by PeterWiddowson. Routledge £8.99 ISBN 0-415-16914-3

The Feminine Political Novel in Victorian England, by Barbara Leah Harman. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1998. ISBN 0-8139-1772-7.

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Intertwined Landscape

The Integration of Arabo-Islamic Culture in Pre-state Palestine

Mostafa Hussein

This article examines the ways in which Zionist intellectuals interacted with Arabo-Islamic culture in the Yishuv by looking into the cultivation of Islamicate knowledge pertinent to land and nature and its impact on the construction of the Jewish cultural landscape. I argue that in establishing a connection between Jews and the natural landscape of Palestine/ Israel, Jewish intellectuals relied on Arabo Islamic culture and its centuries of knowledge about the flora and the land itself. In their search to comprehend the flora and place names of the land of the Bible, Jewish individuals consulted Arabo-Islamic sources, finding them instrumental to their national enterprise. The culmination of these endeavors is that, in addition to Jewish and Western sources, Islamicate culture was one of the wellsprings from which Jewish intellectuals drew in shaping the emergent culture in the Yishuv and the early decades of the State of Israel.