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Folks, my good friend is looking for some help, for some class-related stuff. See if you have any insight.

Hi Friends,

Although I have read for years, this is my first post here.

I am posting to ask for some help. I am doing some work around environmental philosophy/philosophy of place. To make a long explanation short, I am working on the role of place(s) in the development of personal identity/the self. To add depth to the work I am looking for works of literature, film, and visual art that exhibits place as a formative aspect of human experience and/or in the development of one's identity. I want to leave this a bit vague, as it may leave room for interpretation.

What works would you suggest looking at and why?

EDIT: Since he can't start threads with a new account, I cut and pasted his post here.

Edited by Jason Panella
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Jia Zhang-ke's The World immediately leaps to mind. It's almost impossible to separate the characters and their storylines from the gigantic amusement park backdrop.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Seems to me that lots of films hit on this theme ...

Platoon

Never Cry Wolf

The Field

Cast Away

The New World

There must be better examples ...

Too bad he didn't mention popular music, or we could discuss Dougie MacLean lyrics ("Caledonia" and "Solid Ground," for starters).

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

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I am posting to ask for some help. I am doing some work around environmental philosophy/philosophy of place. To make a long explanation short, I am working on the role of place(s) in the development of personal identity/the self. To add depth to the work I am looking for works of literature, film, and visual art that exhibits place as a formative aspect of human experience and/or in the development of one's identity. I want to leave this a bit vague, as it may leave room for interpretation.

Self and place is Malick's bailiwick. Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The New World are even specifically about these ideas. Herzog's Heart of Glass and Scream of Stone. Alternatively, this theme pops up quite a bit in science fiction. Dark City, for example, can be construed as a meditation of place and urban identity.

As far as books are concerned - check out Corey Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom or Delaney's Dhalgren.

Fine arts... Gursky's photography is the first thing that comes to mind.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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How about that certain place where "the women are strong, the men good-looking, and the children above average?" Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion are pretty much defined by the little town of Lake Wobegon.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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I've read two of the books in Kevin Baker's City of Fire trilogy: Dreamland and Paradise Alley. (I've not read the third one, Striver's Row, yet.) Both deal with the role of New York City on the immigrant experience (1900 Coney Island and the surrounding slums for the Jews for the former, 1860s Manhatten for the Irish for the latter). This may be a stretch compared to some of the other books, but the setting was pretty vital to the stories and the characters' formation.

Edited by Jason Panella
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David James Duncan: The River Why. Gus Orviston,fishes and gains enlightenment in Oregon.

While Pianossa isn't really an environmental factor it is the location of most of the action in Catch 22. It certainly shapes Yossarians outlook.

On the Road would be worth considering.

The photography of William Eggleston.

John Krakauer: Into the Wild.

I don't know if Documentary film is in the equation but Dogtown and Z-Boys captures the development of skate culture in Southern California.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Plato

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First, thanks to Jason for posting this for me. I am delighted to read some of the recommendations.

The reason for the lean toward the written word (although there could be a significant place for other arts) is that I am working on a phenomenology of place and its role in subject constitution. There are many great examples of this in film, yet there is a richness in the written descriptive word which would transcribe in a manner that I think, at this point, I prefer,

Jason made the suggestion of Norris’s Dakota. I think the first two sentences is indicative of what I am looking for (although I am open to a breadth of suggestions):

“The High Plains, the beginning of the desert West, often acts as a crucible for those who inhabit them. Like Jacob’s angel, the region requires that you wrestle with it before it bestows a blessing.”

I also have spent a good bit of time in pieces of Proust’s Remembrance… He does a significant amount of work on environment and, in a sense, place-based memory.

I know this remains broad, but I think that is helpful at this point. Also, re: Lake Wobegon, this is an interesting suggestion. I am using several stories from TAL currently.

Regards,

a.

Edited by alypius
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While they don't deal with place directly, Leif Enger's novels (Peace Like a River and So Brave, Young and Handsome) feature characters who are very specific to their settings. I remember reading a quotation by him about the great extent to which people are shaped by the landscapes they grow up with. Maybe I saw it in the author's bio of Peace.

Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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Two very different suggestions:

One Hundred Years of Solitude--the town of Macondo

New Orleans and Louisiana in the novels of James Lee Burke

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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