Adams, Paul C. and Hoelscher, Steven and Till, Karen E.
Place in context: Rethinking Humanist Geographies.
Textures of Place: Exploring Humanist Geographies.
University of Minnesota Press.
A name etched in the smooth, black stone of a war memorial, a crowd of peasants captured in oil paint, a ghost town arrested intentionally in its decay, the planet we call home seen from the vantage point of space - these are a few of the infinite textures of place. What is compelling about these images is less what we see than our cross-sensory resonance with them: we nearly hear the muffled conversations in Brueghel's village square; we can almost feel the earth cool and round in our hand. Imagination makes other connections as well. Any or all of the images may remind us disturbingly of the passage of time and of our finiteness. Since time and space are intangible and daunting infinite, we cling intellectually and emotionally to our experiences and memories of the material world that is so reassuringly solid. Upon close examination, however, this solidity dissolves: a ghost town, even a loving town, is woven with strands of an imagined past and a fictional community, products of the time and society in which we live. And, as Vietnam Veterans Memorial forcefully reminds its many visitors (each of whom interprets its powerful messages in different, and often competing, ways), social relations are profoundly heteogeneous and unendingly divisive.
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Dr. Karen Till
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