W100
Peripheral Europe as moralized landscapes

Convenors:
Bojan Baskar (University of Ljubljana)
Cathie Carmichael (University of East Anglia)
Discussant:
Jane Schneider
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
430
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The workshop will investigate- ethnographically, historiographically and comparatively-diverse derogatory depictions of landscapes, presumably characterizing some European peripheries (the Balkans, southern Italy etc.), as an important dimension of imperialist discourses on European peripheries.

Long abstract:

European peripheries, as imagined by travelers and other commentators from core 'Western' regions, have often been depicted as depressing (ugly, rugged, desolate, sterile, volcanic, lunar...) landscapes, always proceeding on the assumption that the landscape and the people dwelling in it determine one another and thus share basic features. Images of cursed landscapes, invested with allegorical meanings and moral implications, are central to a variety of discourses on European peripheries, inhabited by 'semi-' or 'non-European' Others: the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Southern Italy (or Southern Europe in general), the Celtic rim (in the past), and so forth. These derogatory depictions are as a rule phenomena of longer duration since they are part and parcel of imperialist projects of subjugating other populations, both external and internal, of various empires and nation-states. The workshop will aim at exploring, both ethnographically and historiographically, a variety of imagined geographies linked with these discourses (balkanist, mediterraneanist, meridionalist…); common procedures of their construction (e.g., inventing cultural boundaries); interactions between landscape representations, regional ecology and relief (e.g., the prominence of the highlands-lowlands dichotomy) and dominant aesthetic sensibilities in the core areas; the regional impact and other regional/local refractions (e.g., 'self-balkanizing') of these discourses of 'intra-European' Others; contrasting perceptions and evaluation of the same regions by local communities, their own ways of constructing landscapes; and so forth.