"...sense of place can be seen as a commonplace occurrence, as an ordinary way of engaging one's surroundings and finding them significant. Albert Camus may have said it best. "Sense of place," he wrote, "is not just something that people know and feel, it is something people do". And that realization brings the whole idea rather firmly down to earth, which is plainly, I think, where a sense of place belongs."

Keith Basso (Wisdom Sits in Places)

MEETINGS > 11.30 / 11.09 / 10.26 / 10.12 / 09.28 / 09.14

NEXT MEETING >> Tuesday, November 30 @ 6pm in the lobby of Art & Design

Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice, Francesco Careri

Walkscapes deals with strolling as an architecture of landscape. Walking as an autonomous form of art, a primary act in the symbolic transformation of the territory, an aesthetic instrument of knowledge and a physical transformation of the "negotiated" space, which is converted into an urban intervention. From primitive nomadism to Dada and Surrealism, from the Lettrist to the Situationist International, and from Minimalism to Land Art, this book narrates the perception of landscape through a history of the traversed city.

Francesco Careri (Rome, 1966) graduated in architecture in 1993 in Rome. His doctoral research began in Naples in 1996, resulting in a thesis entitled "The Journey". He is a member of the Stalker urban art workshop, an open interdisciplinary structure that conducts research on the city through experiences of transurbance in open spaces and in interaction with the inhabitants. He has taught at the Institut d'Arts Visuels d'Orléans and the Schools of Architecture of Reggio Calabria and Roma Tre, experimenting together with the students on methods of reappropriation and direct intervention in public space. He has recently published a book on Constant and the Situationist city Constant imagined in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Constant / New Babylon, una città nomade, Testo & Immagine, Turin 2001), and participated with Stalker in many international exhibitions of contemporary art and architecture.


Tuesday, November 09 @ 6pm in the lobby of Art & Design

In the interest of time, we'd like to propose pushing Francesco Careri's WALKSCAPES back a couple weeks and instead, for next Tuesday, reading from a selection articles all of which are currently available online (.pdfs). I've included abstracts and links to six (mostly short) articles. Read one, read two, or read 'em all - it's up to you...

1. "Walking in the British Countryside: Reflexivity, Embodied Practices and Ways to Escape", by Tim Edensor

2. "'Botanizing on the Asphalt'? The Complex Life of Cosmopolitan Bodies", by Nigel Clark

3. "Performing facts: finding a way over Scotland's mountains", by H. Lorimer and K. Lund

4. "Culture from the Ground: Walking, Movement and Placemaking" by Jo Lee

5. "Reimagining Walking: Four Practices" by Ben Jacks

6. "Talking Whilst Walking: A Geographical Archaeology of Knowledge" by Jon Anderson


1. "Walking in the British Countryside : Reflexivity, Embodied Practices and Ways to Escape"
Tim Edensor > Body & Society,  1 September 2000,  vol. 6,  iss. 3

This article looks at the discursive and practical construction of walking in a British context. It examines the ways in which notions and practices generated by conventions around the meaning of walking in the countryside apparently contradict prevailing ideas that walking is an escape from the restrictions of everyday urban life. Identifying particular, competing forms of walking and the techniques and identities that they espouse, it is suggested that such activities are suffused with disciplinary norms. Yet despite these conventions, walking holds out the possibility of disruption, through confrontation with physical discomfort, unpredictable features and sensual experience that contrasts with much contemporary forms of movement. The work of artist Richard Long is used to explore these issues.


2. "'Botanizing on the Asphalt'? The Complex Life of Cosmopolitan Bodies"
Nigel Clark > Body & Society, 1 September 2000, vol. 6, iss. 3

Notions of complexity, non-linear dynamics and self-organization in the natural sciences seem to resonate with certain literary and social scientific traditions of thinking about cosmopolitan life in a sense that may be more than merely metaphorical. Just as science speaks of forms and patterns which come into being spontaneously, unpredictably and 'from below', so too is there a resurgent interest in a 'baroque' vision of modernity which foregrounds chance encounters and 'underworld' associations. The parallels are still stronger if we take a consider the life-world of embodied cosmopolitans as including not only other human beings and human artifacts, but also the many non-human life-forms that make themselves at home in our built environments, in our networks, and inside our own bodies. Contra theorists of risk society, a fusion of complexity theory with cosmopolitan aesthetics raises the possibility of conceiving of runaway biological and technological events as both creative and destructive.


3. "Performing facts: finding a way over Scotland's mountains"
H. Lorimer and K. Lund > The Sociological Review, February 2004, vol. 52, iss. s1

Introduction: The Practice of Abstraction
This century-old commentary marks the departure point for a chapter in which we consider various means by which 'hill-walking' is encoded, and enacted, as a popular leisure pursuit in the Scottish mountains. Drawing on findings from an ethnographic study we narrate, and critically analyse, a succession of meaningful phases from the prescription and performance of walking. Our ethno-graphy was variously orientated: active and participative research in learning settings extended from hill-walking under both summer and winter conditions to the attendance of evening classes on mountain navigation skills and the prescribed study of technical instruction manuals detailing the lore of 'mountaincraft'. Evidence emerging from these activities is supported by material from interviews with members of hill-walking clubs and individual walkers.


4. "Culture from the Ground: Walking, Movement and Placemaking" by Jo Lee
(Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen)

This paper introduces a study of walking as a means of understanding how places are constructed through bodily movement. It engages with the concepts of mobility and locality in anthropology in a very specific sense: not so much to follow the travels of ‘a culture’ between pre-existing ‘places’, but in seeing how the mobility of people within particular environments allows for the creation of meaning. By walking, we argue, people are able to connect times and places through the grounded experience of their material environment. We focus firstly on walking as an element of personal biography, a temporal practice that is continually re-learned as the physical body changes and new environments are encountered. Differences between learning in infancy, adulthood and old age, and adjustments in relation to time of day, seasonality and the company of the walker are opened for investigation. Secondly, we focus on how the role of the senses, wayfinding and the material culture of walking are central to the phenomenological understanding of place and bodily experience. In commenting on these temporal and spatial aspects of walking, we work towards a theory of human movement as a social process, explicable neither purely in terms of the physiology of locomotion nor the symbolisation of the body. Rather, we examine how social action and interaction can be embedded in the experience of tactile and kinaesthetic contact with the ground by way of the feet. The kinds of mobility and locality that are evident in such research are not fixed, and instead are constantly emerging and changing with the activities of people in environments.

NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE > http://www.theasa.org/asa04/panels/panel17.htm

5. "Reimagining Walking: Four Practices" by Ben Jacks
Journal of Architectural Education > 1 February 2004, vol. 57, no. 3

Abstract: The simple act of walking has been rendered alien and almost obsolete in the contemporary landscape. In modernity, we imagine technological progress improving the human situation by eliminating exertion through our makings and devices such as automobiles, computers, and cellular phones. Indeed, postmodern theory has even questioned the position of the body itself. Ordinary walking has become a rebellious and subversive act.


6. "Talking Whilst Walking: A Geographical Archaeology of Knowledge"
Jon Anderson > Area (Royal Geographical Society) > September 2004, vol. 36, iss. 3

Abstract: This paper explores how understandings of the knowledge and lives of individuals can be gained through making geographical context more explicit within qualitative research methods. The paper will focus on ‘conversations in place’. More particularly, it will suggest that conversations held whilst walking through a place have the potential to generate a collage of collaborative knowledge. Drawing on the work of Casey, the paper builds upon the notion of the ‘constitutive co-ingredience’ of place and human identity, and, through using documentary and empirical examples, will argue that ‘talking whilst walking’ can harness place as an active trigger to prompt knowledge recollection and production.


Tuesday, October 26 @ 6pm in the lobby of Art & Design

A reminder: the next "walking as knowing" meeting is Tuesday, October 26 @ 6pm in the lobby of Art & Design - we'll be talking & walking (outside) so please dress accordingly. Kevin and I will make arrangements to shuttle folks back to A&D from our destination (a couple miles generally south)...

The plan is to discuss Thoreau's "Walking" and a couple short essays on/by the Situationists - all of these texts are available online.

"Walking" > Henry David Thoreau

"Theory of the Dérive" > Guy-Ernest Debord

"Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography" > Guy-Ernest Debord

"Definitions" > SI (1958)

"Guy Debord and the Situationists" > Peter Marshall

MEETING 03 >> Tuesday, October 12 @ 7pm in Art & Design #229

We will continue our discussion of Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust, focusing on the second half of the book...

MEETING 02 >> Tuesday, September 28 @ 7:30pm in Art & Design #229

Discussion of Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust, focusing on the first half of the book...

Here's some supplemental information as per our Reading Group conversation last week (Tramps, Pilgrimage, Flaneur/Flaneuse, Wanderlust reviews, misc resources, and local tour info). NB


"Embodiment, power and the politics of mobility: the case of female tramps and hobos", Tim Cresswell

Mobility and travel have recently attracted the interest of many people, both inside and outside geography. This interest has often focused on issues of gender. Mobile women, in particular, have been seen to be indicative of wider social and cultural themes of power, exclusion, resistance and emancipation. In this paper, I consider the gendered dimensions of a moral panic in the United States between 1869 and 1940, known as the 'tramp scare'. I argue that the construction of the panic around threats to women's bodies and the actual experience of female tramps illuminates a clearly gendered and embodied politics of mobility.

The Tramp in America, Tim Cresswell

This book provides the first account of the invention of the tramp as a social type in the United States between the 1870s and the 1930s. Tim Cresswell considers the ways in which the tramp was imagined and described and how, by the Second World War, it was being reclassified and rendered invisible. He describes the 'tramp scare' of the late nineteenth century and explores the assumption that tramps were invariably male and therefore a threat to women. Cresswell also examines tramps as comic figures and looks at the work of prominent American photographers which signalled a sympathetic portrayal of this often-despised group. Perhaps most significantly, The Tramp in America calls into question the common assumption that mobility played a central role in the production of American identity.


"From Passante to Flâneuse: Encountering the Prostitute in Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage", Melinda Harvey (full text online)

"Walking as Spiritual Practice: The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela", Sean Slavin (full text online)

23 articles on Pilgrimage > http://online.sagepub.com/cgi/topics?category=671331&journal=sagepub


"The Lesbian Flaneur", Sally R Munt (The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space)

"Women on the Screens and Streets of Modernity: In Search of the Female Flaneur", Anke Gleber (The Art of Taking a Walk: Flanerie, Literature, and Film in Weimar Culture)

"Female Flanerie and the Symphony of the City", Anke Gleber (Women in the Metropolis)

Streetwalking the Metropolis: Women, the City and Modernity, Deborah L Parsons

"The Invisible Flaneuse", Janet Wolff (Feminine Sentences)

"The Invisible Flaneur", Elizabeth Wilson (The Contradictions of Culture: Cities,
Culture, Women

"Walking on the periphery: gender and the discourse of modernization - the rights of women in early 20th century Spain", Elizabeth Munson
Journal of Social History,  Fall, 2002

"Rambling in the Nineteenth Century", Deborah Epstein Nord (Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation and the City)

"Ramblers and Cyprians", Jane Rendell (Gender and Architecture)

"West End rambling: gender and architectural space in London 1800-1830", Jane Rendell

"Introduction: Women and Public Places", Carol Brooks Garner (Passing By: Gender and Public Harassment)


Review by Joseph Amato (Journal of Social History)

SALON Review by Andrew O'Hehir


Movement: Travel, Tourism, Migration, Deterritorialization, Nomadism, Pilgrimage, Speed, the Flâneur, Walking

Research on Place and Space


John Jakle / http://www.geog.uiuc.edu/people/jakle.html

"Fort Clark / Bloomington Road"
Champaign County History Quarterly
Vol 2 No. 2 - September 2003
Vol 2 No. 1 - Summer 2002

"Trail of Death" (Potawatomi) / Champaign County
http://www.icss.net/~fchs/update.htm (Fulton County Historical Society)
http://www.icss.net/~fchs/tdmap.htm (map)

MEETING 01 >> Tuesday, September 14 @ 7pm in Art & Design #229

Introductions / Definitions / Strategies / Context