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Themes in Cultural Geography

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Themes in Cultural Geography Different lenses on the world Five Themes Culture Region Cultural Diffusion Cultural Interaction Cultural Ecology Landscape Studies ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Themes in Cultural Geography


1
Themes in Cultural Geography
  • Different lenses on the world

2
Five Themes
  • Culture Region
  • Cultural Diffusion
  • Cultural Interaction
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Landscape Studies

3
Review
4
Culture Region
  • Can be defined by
  • A culture trait (formal region)
  • A combination (complex) of culture traits (formal
    region)
  • An organizing structure or system (functional
    region)
  • Popular culture (vernacular region)

5
Cultural Diffusion
  • The expansion of a culture trait through space
    due to
  • Immigration (relocation diffusion)
  • The neighborhood effect (contagious expansion
    diffusion)
  • Communications and commerce (hierarchical
    diffusion)
  • Adaptation and significant reinterpretation
    (stimulus diffusion)

6
Cultural Interaction
  • Cultures are integrated systems in which each
    part (trait) is linked to others
  • This situation makes it possible to identify
    culture regions defined not be single traits but
    by complexes of traits

Culture complex
7
Cultural Ecology
  • Human-environment relationships
  • To what extent does the environment affect
    culture?
  • environment culture
  • To what extent does culture rework the
    environment?
  • culture environment

8
General Trend
  • Environmental determinism has been rejected
  • Current approaches are based on ecology and
    possibilism
  • Much greater focus on human impacts on the
    environment than on the environments
    culture-shaping force

9
Greek Worldview
10
Tropical degeneration
  • Insensitivity is in them a vice of their altered
    constitution. They have an unpardonable
    laziness, invent nothing, plan nothing and in no
    way extend the sphere of their understanding
    beyond what they see pusillanimous cowards,
    nervous and without any nobility in their minds,
    their discouragement and absolute lack of
    anything that constitutes a reasoning animal
    makes them useless to themselves and to society.
  • C. De Pauw Recherches philosophiques sur les
    Américains ou memoires intéressans pour servir à
    lhistoire de lespèce humaine, (Paris
    Jean-Michel Place, 1768).

11
Environmental Determinism (mixed with Racism)
  • None of these tropical peoples has a native
    civilisation, or is fitted to play any part in
    history, either as a conquering or as a thinking
    force, or in any way, save as producers by
    physical labour of material wealth. None is
    likely to develop towards any higher condition
    than that in which it now stands, save under the
    tutelage, and by adopting so much as it can of
    the culture, of the five or six European peoples
    which have practically appropriated the torrid
    zone, and are dividing its resources among them.
    Yet the vast numbers to which, under the conjoint
    stimuli of science and peace, these inferior
    black and yellow races may grow, coupled with the
    capacity some of them evince for assimilating the
    material side of European civilisation, may
    enable them to play a larger part in the future
    of the world than they have played in the past.
  • James Bryce, British Ambassador to the US, 1892

12
Seeing like a colonist
13
Cultural Ecology Today
  • Organism-environment relationship is reciprocal
    and mutually constitutive, that is, it is a
    two-way street. The same is true of
    human-environment relations.
  • Animals adapt to their environments over eons,
    genetically
  • People adapt through culture but also rework
    their environments
  • Culture is in part a strategy for environmental
    adaptation, mainly (but not entirely) limited to
    humans learned, cooperative behavior produces
    major environmental modifications as well as
    modifications of human behavior

14
Possibilism
  • Scientific philosophy that the environment does
    not determine elements of culture, but it does
    set bounds on the possible or probable forms that
    culture will take
  • Natural environments offer opportunities and
    constraints from which culture groups must
    choose, based on their knowledge and internal
    power relations

15
Cultural Landscape Studies
  • start with what you see

16
Case Study Orrtana PA
17
Houses
  • How old do they appear to be?
  • Are there particular styles from a certain
    period?
  • Do the styles change over time?

18
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19
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20
Culture is written on the landscape
  • Why does the old house have a separate kitchen?
  • Why does the new house have a big lawn?
  • Why is the new house far from the road?
  • Why is the old house near to the road?
  • Why does the old house have a porch?
  • Why doesnt the new house have a porch?

21
Other Buildings
  • What are they for?
  • What do they tell you about the way people lived
    in the past and present?

22
Pennsylvania Barn
Why do you think it has a forebay?
23
Springhouse
What is it for?
Why is it here? How does its design vary from
place to place and what might that variation
indicate?
24
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25
Vegetation
  • What appears to be the natural vegetation of this
    area?
  • What kinds of plants are people cultivating here
    now?
  • How has the possibility of growing fruit trees
    shaped life in this place?
  • How have people reworked their natural
    environment to favor fruit trees?
  • How do people reshape these trees, and why?

26
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27
Commerce
  • How is this retail activity reflected in the
    visible landscape?
  • What is being sold?
  • Who is selling to whom?
  • How do spaces of consumption relate to other
    kinds of space in this place?

28
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29
Good landscape-based geography
  • Get a feel for the place
  • Try to partially escape the outsiders
    perspective
  • Discover elements of an insiders sense of place
  • Rather than analyzing the place in abstract terms
    or simply describing features, try to understand
    how it feels to live here
  • Ask What are the meanings people attach to
    places and things in this landscape?
  • Sense Topophilia (Tuan)

30
Q. What can we achieve besides explanation? A.
Understanding
31
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33
REVIEW
  • Throughout the semester, each chapter will
    address these 5 themes
  • Culture region
  • Cultural diffusion
  • Cultural Interaction
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Landscape Studies
  • These provide different lenses on the world,
    helping to answer different kinds of questions
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