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Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.
Often brilliant and always engaging, A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time is a collection of essays about how places are socially constructed. Jackson presents a series of landscape papers in the form of short sketches written over a ten year period and about American places. The "places" Jackson writes about are always tied to the physical world of humans and nature but not necessarily to geography. For example, several essays discuss the landscape development of the southwestern United States while others deal with less local and regionally bounded spaces such as roads, gardens, and parks in general. A central theme connecting the works in the volume is that places are formed through the experiential qualities of physical spaces and shared encounters or beliefs. Also central is that these beliefs and encounters are linked through a shared sense of time. One example is in the meanings of southwestern architecture tied to culture and language. Hopi language provides no comparable word to the Western concept of "room." Interior Pueblo rooms are merely spaces where "objects are contained". Jackson also talks about the concept of permanence in architecture as being dissimilar from the Zuni views. Disregard for the concept of permanence contributed to the "neglect" of "permanent" church structures in favor of open spaces for conducting rituals. The book also contains an interesting discussion on modern roads as places in and of themselves rather than routes to destinations per se. This book would be useful to anyone interested in material culture studies, but especially those interested in experiential landscapes qualities such as movement, internal "rhythms" of communities, and differing conceptions of time as they relate to place. [M. Lucas]