In recent years, the culturally distinctive Tunpu, a people group in southwestern China, have been reimagined by outsiders, including media, tourist companies, scholars, and especially Han Chinese from other regions in a search for perceived lost roots of Chineseness. Building upon a Tunpu narrative of migration to the region during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) period, these outsiders imagine Tunpu sociocultural alienness to be representative of ancient unchanged Ming-period character. Thus romanticized, the Tunpu become an unspoiled reservoir where an authentic national Chinese essence can be rediscovered. Through a complex process of embodied engagement with the Tunpu landscape and its objects, however, it is a class of non-Tunpu settlement that becomes celebrated by these outside actors as ideal representation of Tunpu settlement and architecture. This total process fundamentally transforms Tunpu time and place. Yet, it also interacts intricately with local knowledge, and leads to complex local responses and reappropriations of new historical elements.
Materiality, sense, and agenda
“Taking the Waters” in Tunka Valley, Russia
This article examines the sacred mineral springs in Arshan, Buriatiia. These springs have been inscribed as sacred due to their medicinal properties and are marked as sacred through rituals and material offerings. Residents lament the loss of healing, and implicitly sacred, strength of Arshan. The author argues that the sense of loss is due to the medicalization of healing in Tsarist and Soviet times and from the commodification of this type of sacred site through bottling and tourism.
The Integration of Arabo-Islamic Culture in Pre-state Palestine
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.
Jane Austen, Anna Barbauld and the Narratological Application of the Picturesque
This article argues that in Jane Austen's work there is an affiliation between the experience of landscape and the forms that fictional works can take. This is evident in 'Catharine, or the Bower' where an analogy is set up between the reading of a novel and travel through a picturesque landscape, a connection that is returned to in Pride and Prejudice. This affiliation can be contextualized first by reference to Austen's comments in her letters about narrative form, and then by reference to contemporary criticism of the novel, in particular that of Anna Barbauld. Barbauld overtly uses landscape for narratological purposes in her introductory essay to Samuel Richardson's Correspondence, alluding to Uvedale Price's Essay on the Picturesque to extol Richardson's formal achievements in Clarissa. Austen's views on narrative organization and on landscape design strongly resonate with Barbauld's, and both writers evoke the picturesque to provide a formalist critique of the novel.
The Meaning of Local Landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells
Nature and environment are important for the people earning their living from natural sources of livelihood. This article concentrates on the local perspective of the landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells, which are situated in Pallas-Ylläs National Park in Finnish Lapland. The Fells are both important pastures for reindeer and an old tourism area. The Pallastunturi Tourist Hotel is situated inside the national park because the hotel was built before the park was established 1938. Until the 1960s, the relationship between tourism and reindeer herding had been harmonious because the tourism activities did not disturb the reindeer herding, but offered instead ways to earn money by transporting the tourists from the main road to the hotel, which had been previously without any road connections. During recent years, tourism has been developed as the main source of livelihood in Lapland and huge investments have been made in several parts of Lapland. One example of this type of investment is the plan to replace the old Pallas Tourist hotel, which was built in 1948, with a newer and bigger one. It means that the state will allow a private enterprise to build more infrastructures for tourism inside a national park where nature should be protected and this has sparked a heated debate. Those who oppose the project criticise this proposal as the amendment of a law designed to promote the economic interests of one private tourism enterprise. The project's supporters claim that the needs of the tourism industry and nature protection can both be promoted and that it is important to develop a tourist centre which is already situated within the national park. This article is an attempt to try to shed light on why the local people are so loudly resisting the plans by a private tourism enterprise to touch the national park. It is based on my fieldwork among reindeer herding families in the area.
An Ethnographic Study with Chronic Cancer Patients from a Coastal Village in Northern Norway
Magdalena Skowronski, Mette Bech Risør and Nina Foss
Chronic cancer patients (CCPs) pay attention and act in response to diverse bodily sensations they experience in everyday life after a cancer episode. Here, we analyse how North Norwegian CCPs use their familiar surroundings in an effort to counter bad mood, anxiety and symptoms of relapse and to strengthen their health. The core participants of the anthro- pological fieldwork over the course of one year were 10 CCPs from a small coastal village in northern Norway. By drawing on Tim Ingold’s understanding of taskscape, it is suggested that the participants after cancer treatment dwell in and engage with the surroundings of the village, including the core task of staying healthy. The participants are part of and embody the landscape through the temporality of taskscape, related to their ways of dealing with pain, worries and bodily sensations in everyday life.
Bridges from Ethnography to Art
In an interdisciplinary workshop in the former Iron Curtain borderlands of the Czech Republic and Bavaria seven multi-national artists and one European ethnologist revealed the cultural dynamics of boundaries both by exploring an expressive landscape and memory field, and by experiencing cultural difference as reflected in the co-operation and creation processes within the group. By using ethnographic approaches to assist the process of developing and conceptualising artworks and self-reflexive, ethno-psychoanalytic interpretation, the project followed the impact of twentieth-century border frictions and violence into collective identities, but also the arbitrary character of borders. The results suggest how a multi-perspective, subjectively informed methodology of approaching space and spatially expressed memory could be developed both for ethnology and for art, bridging the supposed gap between 'artistic' and 'scientific' methods by combining their strengths in a complementary way.
Traditional and Contemporary Uses of Gardens and Parks in Iran
For centuries, nature has played significant roles in the Persianate world. Across generations and beyond national borders, Persian gardens and parks have carried traces of narratives, beliefs and attitudes of those who designed, built and used them. This article explores Persian garden history and philosophy, and the emergence of urban parks in Iran. It examines the evolution of cultural attitudes and their reflections in contemporary meanings, layout and use of parks. Landscape narratives both influence and are shaped by shifting cultural values and needs. Urbanisation – and the necessity for urban dwellers to experience ‘nature’ in new environments, sociocultural factors and habitus transformation contribute to the diminution of the role of ‘traditional’ narratives in contemporary design. Nevertheless, the importance of spaces of stillness in landscape design, inherited from Persian garden ideology, influences recreational behaviour in Iran’s contemporary urban parks.
The Looming Absence of the Temple
This article examines the gradual conversion of the areas surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem and spaces overlooking the Temple Mount into national symbolic landscape. Within this space, ancient Jewish sites function as national monuments, tied together through landscaping. A continuum of space and time is gradually being created in the shadow of Muslim and Christian monuments, in stark contrast to the Palestinian neighborhoods. The visual and textual symbolism and imagery that accompany the space emphasize the memory of the absent Jewish Temple. Thus, the creation of national symbolic landscape is simultaneously the creation of a new ‘Holy Geography’ and the replacement of traditional forms of Jewish memory by tangible and visual memory. The absent Temple serves as a meta-image of this symbolic national landscape and as the missing national monument, thus reflecting and promoting the rise of a symbiosis between religious and national aspirations.
A Buddhist Lama’s Perception of a Pilgrimage Cave
This article discusses a Buddhist lama's perception of a cave, situated in Maratika in the eastern part of Nepal, which is a pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists. In the Buddhist perspective, Maratika is believed to be the location where the mythological hero Padmasambhava achieved immortality and where he left various traces in the landscape, such as footprints in rocks. Mythology and geography thus intersect in Maratika, whereby myth is spatialized and landscape is temporalized. Through a description of a series of events, in which a specific, newly discovered trace was an object of joint attention between the lama, Karma Wangchuk, and myself, the article illustrates how the perception of the landscape is a mediation between dripstone formations on the walls of the cave and the mythology of Padmasambhava.