Attempting to pinpoint the development of the definition “culture” as it applies to landscape…

A few of these things I have read before, so I was prepared for what I was getting myself into; but a few things, admittedly, I was not prepared to get so frustrated over!
Naming J.B. Jackson as the ultimate in defining cultural landscape would be a correct statement, as long as we continue on from what he studied and not keep it as he left it, which is what I fear has happened in some cases.
I suppose things didn’t get too frustrating for me until chapter 12-“Normative Dimensions of Landscape” by Schein. From the beginning of the chapter the process of cultural identification via landscape becomes far too over-complicated and almost has more of a political feel to it than anything for me. Bringing the idea of economic and ecological history into defining a space, as well as admitting human activity plays a huge role, is completely agreeable. This all becomes too compicated, and continues to do so, when we are told that seeing landscapes through race, gender, or sexuality colored glasses is the true way to define a cultural landscape. (202)
The discussion of the red-lining in the 30s is a completely valid argument, as well as the African American population having to rely on self-governance and provide their own economic security within their community prior to the human rights movement. However, tying the idea of red-lining districts to the modern construction practices or new neighborhood areas is a stretch. Being angry about a bronze statue of a Confederate General in center sqare, or a part of the city keeping the name of “Cheapside” over the years, doesn’t necessarily mean Lexington is a city full of closet racists waiting for their chance to unleash it. These things all have historical significance. The final example from this chapter is the anger that seeps through the words when he writes about having no monument to ANY jockey in the park or former race track, I forget which (216). Either way, it states in the text there was no mention of any jockey, so why is the author only mad about the black guy not getting any recognition? Yes, Murphy does deserve a memorial. Why doesn’t anyone else?
That is my rant about that!
I fully agree with Jackson’s statement on page 86 about a landscape being an historical document; we will never be able to strictly define a cultural landscape because we will never be able to fully define a culture; everyone will see things differently.
The chapter on defining culture and landscape through streets and yards in L.A. forces you to do so of your own home, and I enjoyed reflecting on things I never thought about before landscape as a cultural aspect was brought to my attention. In all honesty, I wasn’t enthralled by Ecological Commons the first time, and it didn’t rattle my boots this time either. Medicine in the Mall felt like more of a lecture on preservation and development v. anti-development (much like Boise and its redevelopment issues, just sayin).
Soooo I guess that’s all I have to say!
Thanks for reading, fellow blog readers! Or just Leslie M-B, cause ya hafta. =)

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Kate Hall

Born and raised in Boise, love it here. I love travel, history, Star Wars, Lost Boys, Highlander, and Super Nintendo. My favorite shirts say "My Other Ride Has A Flux Capacitor" and "Rock out with your Bach out." Basically, I would technically, I suppose, be classified as a 'nerd,' which I love. I currently intern at City Hall for the Department of Arts and History, mostly doing oral histories, but sometimes I get a cool research project. After I gradute I'll look for a job in History, find something to tide me over until then, and wait until education jobs are better in Idaho. =) Super excited about the chance to create a mobile application, been thinking I just loooove Leslie's classes (are you reading this?) =) Guess that's all! Perhaps more than you wanted, perhaps less. Perhaps I, myself, am caught betwixt the ideas of the two extremes and have decided to leave it as a cliffhanger of sorts.....

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