The Landscape Space Place Research Group
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'Navigating Space and Place: The Human Sense of Direction' - March Reading Group Session

Wednesday 25th March 2015 (15:00-16:00)

This session on 'Navigating Space & Place: The Human Sense of Direction' will be led by Dr. Carry Van Lieshout, a research associate in the School of Geography and will take place on Wednesday 25th March, 3-4pm, Trent A35.

Please see below for details about the readings we will be discussing (as usual, circulated to everyone on the mailing list) and a short introduction to the topic that Carry has kindly provided for us in advance of the session:

I am trying to explore the concept of cognitive mapping and the human sense of orientation and navigation from a cultural/historical perspective. The discovery of the positioning system cells in our brain won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology, but there is very little on this topic within the fields of geography and cultural history, compared to work on the other senses. The main exception is A. Roger Ekirch's work on early modern nightscapes, which is the first reading I've attached. It is part of Ekirch's major study on the history of sleep and nighttime, At Day's Close (2005), and focuses on the need to have an internal map of your surroundings in the absence of natural light. The second reading is by geographer Reginald Golledge on ‘Place Recognition and Wayfinding: Making Sense of Space’, which explores how humans orientate and navigate. The final reading, Robert Johnston's ‘Approaches to the perception of landscape’, integrates this concept into a wider conceptualisation of our perception of landscapes.

  • Roger Ekirch, ‘Darkness Visible: Navigating the Nightscape’, in At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2005), pp. 118-146
  • Reginald Golledge, ‘Place Recognition and Wayfinding: Making Sense of Space’, Geoforum, 23, 2 (1992), pp. 199-214
  • Robert Johnson, ‘Approaches to the perception of landscape’, Archaeological Dialogues, 5, 1 (1998), pp. 54-68

This promises to be a really interesting session—perhaps to be conducted in the dark, Carry?—so we hope that lots of you will navigate your way to Trent A35 on the 25th!

Centre for Regional Literature and Culture

Trent Building
University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5910
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924