Visual Ecologies of Placemaking (edited volume)
Leslie Atzmon, Professor of Graphic Design and Design History, Eastern Michigan University
Pamela A.V. Stewart, Assistant Professor of Early Modern Art History, Eastern Michigan University
In the decades since the publication of Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space (1974), the so-called “spatial turn” has prompted a profound reevaluation of the ways in which place is much more than a mere physical demarcation. Place is a spatial, social, cultural, and topographic (or geographic) construct, and the places that we occupy range from tangible to virtual. These places operate as stages for performance and as social actors themselves, and they shape and are shaped by a range of visual encounters and sensory practices.
The multidisciplinary volume Visual Ecologies of Placemaking seeks to understand the ways in which place is made, apprehended, and negotiated through various visual, performative, and bodily acts. Coming from the Greek oikos—meaning both house and larger familial network—“ecology” comprehends place as a holistic environment that is intimately invested with notions of identity. Indeed, as geographers Yi-Fu Tuan and Nigel Thrift have argued, place is a distinct form of space that is fundamentally defined by lived experiences and emotional attachments. “Ecology” recognizes place as a lived (in) environment and a living organism: it responds to internal and external stimuli, acts upon the creatures within it, and evolves in response to the interconnected actions of its inhabitants. Ecology further denotes place as an immersive environment that surrounds and subsumes, and is experienced and represented through the senses (including and beyond vision).
Visual Ecologies of Placemaking will explore strategies and ecologies of place-making across three sections connected to 1) ritual and performance, 2) exclusion and appropriation, and 3) recovery and loss.
We seek proposals for essays of approximately 5000-7000 words that address these themes from diverse perspectives, across disciplines, cultures, and time periods. We especially encourage case studies from outside of Europe/the United States (especially the global south). Proposals for visual essays, with 500-1000 words of explanatory text, are also welcome.
We are eager to review any proposals that fit the broader parameters of the book, but are particularly interested in projects that can address one of the following areas:
- Indigenous experiences of, perspectives on, and relationships to place
- Includes colonialism/settler colonialism, colonial legacies, and decolonial initiatives
- Place and place-making during the COVID-19 pandemic (including virtual spaces like Zoom, reconfigurations of physical and social spaces, etc.)
- Climate change
- Black Lives Matter and related movements
This interdisciplinary volume is open to contributions from across the humanities and social sciences, including: art and art history, history, languages and literature, musicology, theater, urban studies, anthropology, archaeology, religion, gender and queer studies, disability studies, African and African-American studies, Latinx studies, Asian studies, indigenous studies, and ecocriticism.
*This volume is currently under consideration by a leading academic press with a strong reputation in visual studies.