The landscapes of human habitation are not just perceived; they are also imagined. What part, then, does imagining landscapes play in their perception? The contributors to this volume, drawn from a range of disciplines, argue that landscapes are 'imagined' in a sense more fundamental than their symbolic representation in words, images and other media. Less a means of conjuring up images of what is 'out there' than a way of living creatively in the world, imagination is immanent in perception itself, revealing the generative potential of a world that is not so much ready-made as continually on the brink of formation. Describing the ways landscapes are perpetually shaped by the engagements and practices of their inhabitants, this innovative volume develops a processual approach to both perception and imagination. But it also brings out the ways in which these processes, animated by the hopes and dreams of inhabitants, increasingly come into conflict with the strategies of external actors empowered to impose their own, ready-made designs upon the world. With a focus on the temporal and kinaesthetic dynamics of imagining, Imagining Landscapes foregrounds both time and movement in understanding how past, present and future are brought together in the creative, world-shaping endeavours of both inhabitants and scholars. The book will appeal to anthropologists, sociologists and archaeologists, as well as to geographers, historians and philosophers with interests in landscape and environment, heritage and culture, creativity, perception and imagination.
Monica Janowski is Research Associate at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, UK. Tim Ingold is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and author of Lines and co-editor of Ways of Walking.
'A thought-provoking book that is of interest to landscape scholars of various disciplinary bents. Drawing on examples from widely different geographical contexts, this is an important contribution to a body of work that highlights the creative involvement of humans with environments and landscapes through their practices, perceptions, and complex imaginings.' Karl Benediktsson, University of Iceland, Iceland