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Landscapes Beyond Land

Landscapes Beyond Land: Routes, Aesthetics, Narratives

Arnar Árnason
Nicolas Ellison
Jo Vergunst
Andrew Whitehouse
Series: EASA Series
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    Landscapes Beyond Land
    Book Description:

    Land is embedded in a multitude of material and cultural contexts, through which the human experience of landscape emerges. Ethnographers, with their participative methodologies, long-term co-residence, and concern with the quotidian aspects of the places where they work, are well positioned to describe landscapes in this fullest of senses. The contributors explore how landscapes become known primarily through movement and journeying rather than stasis. Working across four continents, they explain how landscapes are constituted and recollected in the stories people tell of their journeys through them, and how, in turn, these stories are embedded in landscaped forms.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-672-4
    Subjects: Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Arnar Árnason, Nicolas Ellison, Jo Vergunst and Andrew Whitehouse
  5. Introduction Landscapes beyond Land
    (pp. 1-14)
    Jo Vergunst, Andrew Whitehouse, Nicolas Ellison and Arnar Árnason

    ‘Landscape’ has been one of the keywords of anthropology and allied disciplines over the last twenty years. As anthropologists sought to move beyond what they saw as troublesome Cartesian dichotomies, ‘landscape’, along with ‘the body’ and ‘emotion’ amongst others, was put forward as a concept and focus that necessarily brought together the physical and the cultural, the mental and the material. When inviting the contributors to this collection to demonstrate how they are exploring landscape in their ethnographic research, our starting point has been Pierre Bourdieu’s insistence that anthropological accounts should be truthful to individual or subjective experiences while at...

  6. 1 Walking the Past in the Present
    (pp. 15-32)
    Christopher Tilley

    In this essay I want to reflect on a form of research practice that I have been undertaking for the last ten years or so to understand the relationship between prehistoric and contemporary landscapes (Tilley 1994, 1999, 2004, 2008; Bender, Hamilton and Tilley 2007). This is the humble art of walking. Walking the landscape is an attempt to understand it at a human scale. The limits of this knowledge are essentially the limits of my own body and the manner in which this body both limits and facilitates my perception. The objective is to gain an ‘insider’s’ knowledge of archaeological...

  7. 2 ‘A Painter’s Eye Is Just a Way of Looking at the World’: Botanic Artist Roger Banks
    (pp. 33-48)
    Griet Scheldeman

    A Western aesthetics of landscape tends to emphasize the perspective of ‘looking at’ (see Cresswell 2004; Cosgrove 2008; Ingold 2000). It does so in two distinct ways. Aesthetics, with its stress on appreciation, conceives of an observer interpreting and valuing what she is looking at, or perhaps, cognitively and emotionally engaged with. As the philosopher Carlson (2001) notes, environmental aesthetics has since the eighteenth century shifted between modes of disinterestedness, in which landscapes became separated objects of appreciation (such as through the sublime and the picturesque), and more recent modes of engagement based in a multisensory and somatic immersion of...

  8. 3 Encountering Glaciers: Two Centuries of Stories from the Saint Elias Mountains, Northwestern North America
    (pp. 49-66)
    Julie Cruikshank

    My fascination with glaciers is rooted in a puzzle from my ethnographic research in northwestern Canada. During the 1970s and early 1980s I lived in the Yukon Territory and worked with senior indigenous women eager to record life experiences for younger generations (Cruikshank et al.1990). Surprisingly, some of their accounts chronicled unorthodox behaviour of glaciers flowing from the Saint Elias Mountains where Canada and the United States now meet at their least known border. These narratives depict glaciers as sentient actors that respond to their surroundings. They are sensitive to smells and sounds. They make moral judgments and punish infractions....

  9. 4 Fences, Pathways and a Peripatetic Sense of Community: Kinship and Residence amongst the Nivaclé of the Paraguayan Chaco
    (pp. 67-82)
    Suzanne Grant

    Derived from the Quechua term for ‘hunting ground’, the Gran Chaco is an almost entirely flat alluvial plain situated in the interior of lowland South America that extends into Paraguayan, Argentine and Bolivian national territories. The second largest ecosystem of Lowland South America, the Chaco has an indigenous hunter-gatherer population of over 260,000 (Miller 1999). Since the late nineteenth century, the territorial control exercised by the Paraguayan, Argentinean and Bolivian nation-states through successive wars and the selling of land to foreign investors has had a significant impact on the indigenous population of the region, with the majority becoming increasingly settled...

  10. 5 Elements of an Amerindian Landscape: The Arizona Hopi
    (pp. 83-97)
    Patrick Pérez

    Over the last ten years, the United States’ Southwest has boasted strong regional development especially around Phoenix, Flagstaff and Albuquerque, requiring the construction of roads and canals, the digging of sand and gravel quarries and the clearing of trees off surrounding hills. All of this work is being carried out on land that is strongly imprinted by an Amerindian presence. It has thus called for multiple impact studies that mobilise various specialists: engineers, naturalists, archaeologists and anthropologists, either for the federal government, the state governments or the governments of the Amerindian communities. These studies at times strengthen and at other...

  11. 6 Thalloo My Vea: Narrating the Landscapes of Life in the Isle of Man
    (pp. 98-115)
    Sue Lewis

    Glance at any tourist brochure for the Isle of Man, or publicity aimed at attracting further global business, and you will be bombarded with photographs demonstrating its scenic beauty. For an island of such relatively small size (just 227 square miles), it boasts an intriguing range of different landscapes, including heather-clad mountains, willow-edged wetlands and an often dramatic coastline. As advertised to the tourist, the Island offers a place to ‘dispose of your worries’,¹ somewhere ‘spatially, temporally and symbolically distanced from the everyday way of life’ (Hopkins 1998: 65). Promoted to businesses that might be attracted to Mann’s shores, the...

  12. 7 Cairns in the Landscape: Migrant Stones and Migrant Stories in Scotland and its Diaspora
    (pp. 116-138)
    Paul Basu

    There can be few landscapes as thoroughly interfused with narrative as those of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. As a nineteenth-century antiquarian once remarked, Scotland is a place where ‘every stone’ has its history, and where ‘there is no mouldering castle, nor heap of ruined stones, which had formed a few cottages, that is not memorable for some story of war or piety, some gleam of long past love, or dark with tale of revenge’ (Ord 1930). ‘Occasionally’, note Bruner and Gorfain, ‘a story becomes so prominent in the consciousness of an entire society, that its recurrent tellings … help...

  13. 8 Beholding the Speckled Salmon: Folk Liturgies and Narratives of Ireland’s Holy Wells
    (pp. 139-159)
    Celeste Ray

    Landscapes’ myriad social dimensions may make them representative of national, ethnic or community identities, or significant idiosyncratically to individuals or families. Land may become landscape in relation to mundane subsistence activities or travel routes, by signifying ideology and power relations, or when primarily apprehended as sacred.

    Sacred landscapes are perhaps those whose meanings are both most widely shared and most contested. Irish holy wells, their contexts and associated natural features, are such landscapes. A holy well is a water source, most often a spring (but sometimes a lake, or a hollow in a rock or tree where dew and rain...

  14. 9 How the Land Should Be: Narrating Progress on Farms in Islay, Scotland
    (pp. 160-177)
    Andrew Whitehouse

    Archie Baxter was seventy-six years old when I interviewed him at his home in Port Charlotte in 2000. He spoke in a careful and precise way, and with great knowledge of Islay, its history, wildlife, social life and farming. Archie was raised on the mainland and he arrived to take up a tenancy in Islay in the 1940s. I asked Archie how he had been able to acquire the farm:

    Just there were farms available then. Farms were advertised in Islay and I came up to see it. I came to Howmore, that was 1947, and then Howmore was coming...

  15. 10 Visible Relations and Invisible Realms: Speech, Materiality and Two Manggarai Landscapes
    (pp. 178-196)
    Catherine Allerton

    Manggarai is the largest and most westerly region of the eastern Indonesian island of Flores, with a culturally and linguistically diverse population of over half a million. To the west of Manggarai lie a series of small, barren islands, whilst to the east the potholed ‘Trans-Flores Highway’ twists and turns through the villages of various ethnic groups. Though east Flores is fairly dry, Manggarai’s intense rainy season contributes to an extremely lush terrain of forested mountains, rice fields and, increasingly, small-scale coffee plantations. The heavy rains frequently wash away the western sections of the Trans-Flores Highway, which need continual rebuilding...

  16. 11 The Shape of the Land
    (pp. 197-208)
    Tim Ingold

    Over the years, a number of terms have entered the vocabulary of academic anthropology, and even of lay discourse, that have their origins in far-flung regions of the world, among peoples whose ways of speaking, knowing and being could hardly be more different from our own. Thus, native North America gave us ‘totem’, Polynesia ‘taboo’ and Siberia ‘shaman’.In every case, the term has a richness and multivocality in its region of origin that is lost in its co-option as a term of art for a universalising discourse. The same fate, however, has befallen words whose provenance lies much closer to...

  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 209-212)
  18. Index
    (pp. 213-216)