Friday, 2 March 2012

Finding a broader view

The theme of Landscapism is connecting disparate strands of landscape-related subject matter together. Happily there are examples (although not yet enough) of work that seeks to look at the bigger picture or bring together different perspectives or disciplines.

Two books that I think attempt to move into this territory particularly well are Matthew Johnson's Ideas of Landscape (2007) and Approaches to Landscape (1999) by Richard Muir. The former is an archaeologist and the latter a geographer, but both works survey and critique the varying approaches to the study of landscape both over time and in terms of the differing academic traditions of Britain, the United States and Europe. 

Landscapes is a bi-annual journal that, although its core subject matter is landscape history and archaeology, brings landscape-related writing and research of all kinds - and from around the world - together in a single, accessible publication. A fairly random selection of recent articles demonstrate the diversity of its content:
Horses, Elites and Long-distance Roads
Landscape with snow 
Brixton: Landscape of a Riot
Hohenschönhausen, Berlin РExplorations in Stasiland
Leith Hill, Surrey: Landscape, Locality and Nation in the Era of the Great War 
The English Pays: Approaches to Understanding and Characterising Landscapes and Places

Landings by Richard Skelton is a fascinating study into a particular localised landscape - in the West Pennines - that eschews the normal, often fairly pedestrian take on local history for a combination of poetry, prose and music that brings out a strong feeling for a landscape, past and present.

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