cultural identity

14 Jul

This assignment asks you to explore how cultural identity is reflected in the landscape by examining how

cultures use space, turn space into place, and form cultural landscapes. You are also being asked to

consider how we can ‘read’ the landscape, just like a book, as long as we try to read the signs that are

written into these landscapes. You will use Vancouver or the city or town that you currently live in as real

life examples for your analysis.

Part I

(Re)read the following sections from the text:

• Chapter 5: Cultural Geographies (p.164-166, 184-189)

• Chapter 6: Interpreting Places and Landscapes (p. 209-217)

Now, explore the city around you (either Vancouver, or the city/town that you currently live in) in order

to document cultural landscapes and coded spaces. In order to do this, follow these instructions:

  1. Bring a digital camera (or your phone), a pen and a notebook or paper
  2. Record field notes which describe what you see. When recording your observations, include

as much descriptive data as possible to assist you later when you write your paper.

  1. Document at least one example of EACH of the following coded spaces:
  2. Sacred space (p.213)
  3. Gendered space (p.188-189) *You may not photograph a bathroom
  4. Ordinary landscape (p.26, 209-211) *You may not photograph a house/suburb
  5. Symbolic landscape (p.26-27, 209) *You may not photograph Science World
  6. Derelict landscape (p.209)
  7. Make sure to take a picture of yourself at each location. This can be a ‘selfie’ or you can have

a friend take your picture. I have to be able to see the landscape, so make sure you do not

take up a majority of the image.

Part II

Review your photos and field notes notes.

Using the evidence you collected on your field observation, and what you have learned in class, analyze

the landscapes you have observed using the concepts of ‘landscapes as text’ and landscape ‘semiotics’.

Some questions to think about:

  • How do these five landscapes both produce and communicate meaning?
  • What do these landscapes say about the cultures that have produced them?
  • How do they reflect particular social relationships between different people?
  • How might different cultures and identities (eg. based on gender, class, sexuality, etc.) influence the way

people experience and understand these landscapes?

Provide a 3-4 page analysis of these ideas. Make sure to organize your thoughts into a cohesive

argument, rather than simply answering each question one after the other. A strong thesis statement in

the introductory paragraph can assist you in keeping your paper focused on a major claim, and guide the

reader through the whole argument.


• Your entire response should be typed, have a length of approximately 800-1200 words (3-4

pages, not including the photos), and be double-spaced. You do not need a title page.

• You must include the photos of each place, and make sure you that you are clearly visible in the


• Please write in full sentences (not bulleted lists). Include a short introduction and conclusion

which includes a thesis statement (claim).

• Be specific and explicit in your responses: someone with no prior knowledge of this topic should

be able to read what you’ve written and gain a reasonable understanding of the issues being

discussed. Do not assume I know what you mean when you use a key term. This means you

need to define key terms (eg. culture, semiotics, landscapes) in your reflection.

• In general, try to paraphrase rather than using multiple, lengthy, direct quotes. That said, if you do

use material from external sources (eg. the course text), use APA style in order to properly cite

where the information came from.





Criteria Maximum Value

Explanation of relevant concepts 20 points

Analysis of landscapes 20 points

Selection of landscapes as supporting evidence 20 points

Use of course material 20 points

Organization and coherence 10 points

Referencing and format 10 points

Total 100 points



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