Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jo Guldi

The Government Sublime
How the Infrastructure State changed our relationship to the natural environment, 1800-1830

Jo's paper looks at the moment when large, centralized bureaucracies began to mediate everyday experiences of the natural landscape. Looking at early tourist visits to the Menai Straits Bridge, among the first modern engineering projects to attract large numbers of visitors to an entirely natural setting, she argues that states immediately transformed channeled public appreciation of nature to a reliance on large, centralized government, with ultimately catastrophic results for decentralized information, local political power, and the fate of the environment.

This paper was originally presented at the American Society for Environmental History, Boise, Idaho, March 2008.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Simon Gunn

Industrial Fantasia

Simon Gunn presents his paper, "Industrial Fantasia: Engineering Bradford, 1945-1970," a study in mid-century urban planning fantasies of a continuously renewed, mechanized white city that would replace Bradford's nineteenth-century mills.

(for full screen, select button on the menu to the furthest right)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jo Guldi

Intro to Landscape Studies

The modern age of landscape is an age where social interactions, markets, and developments are routinely channeled by institutions invisible to the ordinary individual. State infrastructure and capital have made immense and irreversible the effects of building, in the form of corridors, monuments and waste, channeling everyday paths and interactions in new space. In the era of modern building, the secrets of landscape are constantly hidden in plain sight.

To learn to see the landscape, western writers first had to learn to describe it. Unlike studies of rhetoric, which stretch back through the classical tradition, structural studies of the phenomenology, politics, and psychology of landscape only matured in the nineteenth century, in the era when state intervention began to physically reshape the shape of trade, agriculture, and the city at an unprecedented scale. Psychologists like Georg Simmel and cultural critics like Walter Benjamin imported the science of rhetoric and the close attention to perception, analyzing the everyday spaces around them, and so developed a new science of landscape. This tradition ultimately informed diverse disciplines that took up landscape in the 1940s through 70s, including historical geography, military intelligence, American Studies, environmental psychology, and urban planning.

This short film introduces two experiments in the culture of academic publication, both of which deploy digital technologies like screencasting and wikis to help informally share work pursued by landscape scholars in different fields. The Landscape Studies Podcast shares talks given at academic conferences, while the Landsploitation Podcast shares experimental work in photography and film.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bill Wagner

"The Business Man and the Business Place"

How did nineteenth-century American business travelers decide to visit Galena or Sioux Falls? How did they sort other travelers into worthwhile "business men" and deceitful "confidence men?" Berkeley historian Bill Wagner narrates how early-nineteenth century American men navigated the landscape.

This short account, originally presented at the American Society for Environmental History in March 2008, forms the second episode of the Landscape Studies Podcast.

cc Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States
duration: 11:40

Friday, April 25, 2008

Laurel Cornell

Persons on Foot

Indiana sociologist Laurel Cornell asks, why are American highways designed without regard to the concerns of the person on foot? She examines the point of view of the twentieth-century civil engineer and concludes that engineers' training taught them not to see the people on the roadside.

cc Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States
duration: 17:57