Culture, Nature, and Landscape

Culture, Nature, Landscape

GEO 490-A
Spring 2005

Department of Geography and Meteorology
Valparaiso University

"Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?" "Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded-they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity."

--Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

Culture, Nature, Landscape is a course in advanced cultural geography that examines taken for granted ideas about nature and culture and explores their integration in the idea of landscape.  The course examines both the physical form of landscapes as well as their representation in landscape painting, photography, film, video games, and literature.  We consider a wide variety of “natural” and “cultural” landscapes including nature parks, theme parks, ethnic neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, and shopping malls among others. Students will also examine the ways that landscapes, spaces, and places are implicated in the production of ideas about “race”, gender, ethnicity and nationality.  Field trips give students practice analyzing the cultural meanings of landscapes.  The course is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on writing in geography, sociology, cultural studies, and contemporary art.  Because it is an advanced class students will be challenged to think in new ways as well as to develop advanced skills in reading and writing.  Students who take this course will learn to cope with contradiction and ambiguity.

What's New


2/8/05 I have posted futher guidelines on the final paper.

1/20/05 I have made a change to the schedule. Our library visit is now on Feburary 8.

The web site is updated for Spring 2005!


Professor Michael Longan Ph.D.

Office: Kallay-Christopher Hall 201C
Phone 464-6874
Office Hours: MWF 9:05-10:55 A.M. Th. 1:30-2:30
Web Site:
Course Meets: TR 11:50-1:05 KCH 108
Coures e-mail list:

Course Information
Final Paper Guidelines

The Political Economy of Culture and the Antiques Roadshow
The Production of Swedish Parks as Abstract Space
The Production of Landscape in Johnstown

Landscape is a Work and Landscape Does Work


Pictures from when I taught the course at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.