[SR] I’m taking a course this semester titled “cultural landscape methods.” It’s in the geography department but covers concepts in architecture, city and regional planning, landscape architecture as well as social, economic, political dimensions. This week we’re reading about J.B. Jackson. Very interesting character. In the US, he’s one of the pioneers of looking… really looking at everyday landscapes… as in land-scapes – or to paraphrase: human settlements or traces on the face of the earth. He’s not a typical academic… but rather has a strong “common streak,” which I totally admire. There are other things about him, which I don’t – but that’s not as important. What I did take away was his way of looking at everyday spaces and places and extracting or recognizing their significance. So in the case of the US, which was sort of his thing: the yard of the middle class home, gas stations in the middle of nowhere, roads, fences, etc, etc. He “saw” things in ways that few others paid attention to. I think this method or way of seeing would be super interesting in the context of Iran and Central Asia. Well anywhere in the world, but for my interests, yes, Iran and Central Asia. It is possible that in our culture and traditions, we already place significance in these otherwise “hidden” spaces. Perhaps in contrast to the US, because we have continually engaged with and created our landscapes for a very long time, there is less of a gap in Jackson’s way of seeing things. So I’m not sure. I think I’d need more familiarity with what’s been done historically, through texts, but also in poetry and perhaps oral traditions.
Maybe there’s been a gap in our traditions of ways of looking at the landscape in Iran. Perhaps in the pre-“modern” era (i.e. before the 19th and 20th centuries… and maybe even earlier), we did have a way of attaching significance to everyday spaces of say rural settlements. But we might have lost that to an extent in the last 100 or so years. Has anyone really looked at rural or nomadic spaces recently? Attached significance to them? I don’t know – but I know I would be really interested to read about it if it has been done.