A Smart Semiotics e-seminar took place May 9: Storytelling and the sense of place: Water power, landscape conservation, and the the roles of narratives.
Concepts like home, dwelling, and a sense of place have long been a topic of inquiry in various fields of the arts and humanities, from Martin Heidegger’s philosophy via the humanist geography of Yi-Fu Tuan to more recent developments in literary criticism like ecocritical approaches. Many of these discussions have rightly highlighted the importance of storytelling for the construction of a complex sense of place. Drawing on examples from Ireland and Iceland where water power development clashed with traditional storytelling culture, as well as Leslie Marmon Silko’s view of landscape, the talk will discuss the role of storytelling for the human attitude to place. Rather than foregrounding the notion of a ‘story landscape’, it will present some thoughts on the limitations of the role that narratives can play for the construction of a sense of place and the preservation of places.
Matthias Egeler is a ‘Privatdozent’ (senior researcher) at the Institute for Scandinavian Studies of the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. ‘Place’ forms one of his central research interests, which has led to publications like his books ‘Islands in the West’ (Brepols, 2017) and ‘Atlantic Outlooks on Being at Home: Gaelic Place-Lore and the Construction of a Sense of Place in Medieval Iceland’ (Finnish Academy of Sciences, 2018).
Institute for Scandinavian Studies of the Ludwig Maximilian University,
University of Sydney,
Editor of the Southern Semiotics Review,
National University of Arts,
Emeritus Professor, Romance Studies, University of North Carolina,
Rio de Janeiro