Date of Award

2015

First Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Second Advisor

Christopher Coggins

Third Advisor

Daniel Karp

Abstract

This thesis will focus on environmental relations as illuminated and reinforced by linguistic practices, with some focus on the role of photography as an expression of this exchange. Through an investigation of the languages and linguistic practices of the North American landscape, both before and after the arrival of colonial ideologies from the European tradition, a greater understanding of the current global environmental relationship may be reached. By focusing on the political, spiritual and physical development of cultural relationships with indigenous and colonized landscapes and how they are expressed and transmitted through language and various ways-of-speaking, a multidimensional perspective on this complex and diverse relation will be made accessible. The political understanding of the landscape and the natural world and its cultural role is an issue of intense debate that has sparked wars and revealed deep conflict in the various ways-of-being as expressed by relevant ways-of-speaking. Ideas of animism and environmental worship will be explored in contrast with the dominant traditions over the environment and living bodies that make up the natural world and living landscape. The physical relationship to the natural environment is addressed on a number of levels through several perspectives including agricultural practices and rituals and the scientific traditions of the North Atlantic region of the globe. While certain traditions promote sustainable environmental exchanges, others to instill nature/culture dichotomies that distance humans from the natural landscape. Finally, in a photographic study of environmental relations, the personal intimacy with the native landscape will be explored through photographic documentation.

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