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Landscape in Language: Cross-cultural Variation in Landscape Terms and Concepts

March 4, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Manoa Campus, Center for Korean Studies auditorium Add to Calendar

The Colleges of Arts & Sciences Present


A free public talk presented by Dai Ho Chun Distinguished Lecturer

David M. Mark
SUNY Distinguished Professor of Geography
University at Buffalo (NY)

Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:30-1:30 pm
UH Mānoa Center for Korean Studies

The landscape is important to all cultures. Depending on the definition of “landscape,” it may include the land upon which people walk, dwell, and obtain resources. (Of course, the ocean and other water bodies are very important in some cultures.) But the essence of landscape may be the larger forms and features of the environment, such as hills and valleys, lakes and rivers, forests and grasslands. Unlike the domains of organisms and artifacts, the landscape does not come with obvious categorical discontinuities that characterize “natural kinds.” This means that there is more latitude for different cultures to group landscape forms and features into categories differently. We have coined the term “Ethnophysiography” to refer to an ethnoscience that seeks to document categories and terms for landscape forms and features. Ethnophysiography also examines the role of landscape in culture and spirituality, and topophilia, the sense of attachment to landscape and place. The presentation will draw mainly on ethnographic case studies that the author has conducted with two peoples who dwell in semiarid or desert environments: the Yindjibarndi people of northwestern Australia and the Navajo (Diné) people of the American southwest. An understanding of differences in basic categories for landscape elements should contribute to the development of culturally-appropriate indigenous geographic information systems.

David M. Mark is a Professor of Geography at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, and is the Director of the Buffalo site of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). Mark also is Project Director of the University at Buffalo's NSF-funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) projects in Geographic Information Science, supporting more than 30 active doctoral level trainees. Mark also is a member of UB's Center for Cognitive Science, and the National Center for Ontological Research. Mark completed his Ph.D. in Geography at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, Canada) in 1977, and joined the University at Buffalo in 1981.

This event is made possible by the late Dr. Dai Ho Chun through his estate gift, which established the Dai Ho Chun Endowment for Distinguished Lecturers at the UH Mānoa Colleges of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Chun was a distinguished and visionary educator. This lecture is also sponsored by the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC), where Dr. Mark will be a featured Master Class presenter on ethnophysiogeography.

Event Sponsor
Dai Ho Chun Distinguished Lecturer Series, Manoa Campus

More Information
LLL Events, 956-9424,,

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