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Wayfinding: Mobility, mediating technologies, and landscapes in environmental history

Sat, March 28, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Delta Ottawa City Centre, Floor: Conference, Richelieu

Session Submission Type: Complete Panel

Abstract

Environmental historians have long paid close attention to the close relationships between landscapes and the people who inhabit them. Most have focused on the long and slow development of place-values over time. This panel targets the relationships between people and place that emerges through mobility, of finding one’s way and navigating through new and unknown landscapes. Navigating landscapes and environments is a process that requires skills and active work from the participants. Such landscapes are not static backdrops, but change over time, with weather and seasons, and through human activity. Actors attempt to capture these changing landscapes in media - maps, guidebooks, itineraries, narratives - but can never fully do so, nor does this media remain up to date. This session treats such forms of navigational and locative media as technological tools that shape people’s experience and use of nature, but not in predetermined ways. In doing so, this panel seeks to bring environmental history in dialogue with history of technology, media studies, and post-phenomenology, all fields which direct our attention to the enabling and mediating role of technologies.

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