A palimpsest is regarded as a term used in cultural geography to describe a multilayered model of a place or landscape.
The Enlightenment is inextricably connected to the conception of terrestrial space, through the medium of actual and imaginary travels. The eighteenth century witnessed several scientific expeditions, and these gave birth to a new field of knowledge, ethnography. Alien lands and the people living on them became the subject of reflection for some of the leading philosophes, Leibnitz, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. Journeys to other states became an element in the education of noble youth. Investigating the historical and geographic problematic of the Enlightenment enables scholars to draw a picture of the representations of physical space made by Europeans of that era as well as to understand more precisely the basic world view underlying colonial expansion. Research of this sort tends to be more productive when carried out at the intersection of various disciplines, and this book is one venue for gathering historians (including historians of culture), geographers, philologists, and art historians together in a single volume. This substantial tome is both international and interdisciplinary, subsidized by two French organizationsdthe Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Fondation Maison des sciences des l'homme (FMSH). Of the nineteen substantive essays, four are in French, one in English, and the rest in Russian. Two essays written by non-Russian scholars appear in Russian. However, the book's international appeal is enhanced by the fact that almost all the Russian-language essays are accompanied by a summary (generally in French) whilst the other essays have Russian summaries. Most of the contributors are Russian; others are French, German, Japanese, Maltese, and Brazilian.
There have been no cultural geography in the USSR for half a century, and human geography was narrowed to economic geography alone. However the tradition of Russian anthropogeography (L. Berg) of the 1910s was one of the first in the world to focus on cultural landscapes.
The representatives of the official Soviet geography, from N. Baransky in the 1930s to V. Gokhman in the 1980s, stated the need for ‘social & cultural geography of Soviet nation(s)’. Landscape studies were ideologically suppressed and were focused strictly on natural landscapes.
When cultural geography finally emerged after the collapse of the USSR, it turned out to be rooted neither in Russian anthropogeographic tradition, nor in Anglo-American cultural geography. Making their own way, Russian cultural geographers were inspired rather by French philosophers and gave birth to a specific framework of ‘gumanitarnaya geografiya’ (‘humanitarian geography’ in word-by-word translation), which I argue to be likely to be translated as ‘GeoHumanities’.
This GeoHumanities doesn’t look like traditional Sauerian cultural geography. Its main themes seem similar to those of new cultural / humanistic geography, but its trends & prospects differ a lot, as there were no revolutionary changes like those between Sauerian vs. new cultural / humanistic vs. critical geography. There’s no other cultural geography research in Russia, except GeoHumanities school focused on cultural landscapes, geographical images, spatial myths & regional identities, majorly in modern urban areas & deeply rooted in literature & art discourses with case-studies mostly presenting the imageries of historical towns.
During the Edo period (1603 – 1867) Japanese thinkers adopt some elements of European geographical thought. The newly created view of the world included both traditional and Western scientific knowledge. The treatise “Nihon Suido Ko:” by Nishikawa Joken (1648 – 1724) is one of the earliest examples of such kind of synthesis. The work was important not only for the development of geographical thought, but also for self-presentation of the Japanese people, as the synthesis of different source of knowledge was aimed to determine the position of Japan in the world.
Two special kinds of mental maps emerging from the Russian geohumanities are described in the article. Russian geohumanities are regarded as a specific Russian Post-Soviet tradition of cultural geography that is focused on space perceptions & interpretations. The semiotic model of ‘place as palimpsest’ typical for Russian mythogeography is used to describe the multilayered structure of a place, formed by different cultures’ visions of one & the same place. Two opposing meanings of mental maps are stated, namely, 1) mental spatial information, representing the image of the city & the orientations schemes, & 2) cartographical geovisualization, which reflects individual or group perception of space. Mental maps, combining the traits of both big classes with the example of K. Lynch’s generalized urban maps based on the results of individual cities’ perceptions gained by various research methods, are argued to be the most prospective. Urban ‘mythogeographical’ mental maps from the Russian geohumanities are regarded as another kind of that compromise, being transformed from the diagram-like ‘image-geographical’ maps by localizing place myths into ‘sign places’ of a city.
The aim of the paper is to discuss different approaches to the toponyms and their usefulness for the study of the historical culture in the urban space. In this discussion author adresses Soviet toponimical heritage and particularly to the case of "Sovietskaya street" which is rather common for (Post) Soviet cities.
Cultural geography is a rather young and not completely institutionalized geographical science in the Russian realm. There are no cultural geographical atlases present in the state of the art, Russian classifications of thematic atlases, though one of the options includes “the atlases of culture”. A series of S.Ya. Suschiy’s atlases of the history of Russian culture and regional historical and cultural atlases may serve as some examples of atlases using the materials of cultural geography. These atlases are rarely original in terms of the means of cartographic visualizations. They are often merely historical or even hardly include any maps being only formally named as atlases while in reality looking like regional encyclopedias. The phonomena of cultural geography have received a certain development among thematic maps of complex atlases. Though the maps of cultural artifacts prevail in this case there are the traditions emerging of mapping cultural heritage and also of cultural geographical regionalization. There are such examples present in the volume “History. Culture” of the National atlas of Russia and also in some thematic products of neighboring disciplines like ethnic, ethnographic and ethnogeographic atlases. However, one can hardly witness any specific for cultural geography mapping means or approaches even in these latter cases. Mental maps could be regarded as potentially prospective trend for creating atlases specifically within cultural geography. In this regard, there is a need to overcome the existing dichotomy of mental maps like graphic means of picturing the human perceptions of their environments and traditional cartographic products focusing on mental representations. The prospect is likely to be focused on the complex cartographic decisions linking spatial representations and certain cultural landscapes.
The collective monograph contains papers and historiographical research, the unifying leitmotif of which is the exploration and preservation of natural and cultural heritage, held in the Russian Research Institute for Cultural and Natural Hheritage named after D. S. Likhachev in 1992-2013 under the leadership of its first Director, Yu. Vedenin, in cooperation with other organizations and researchers who have dedicated themselves to the protection of natural and cultural heritage of Russia. The monograph presents the results of research in the main areas of work of the Institute in 1992-2013, methodological approaches to the solution of problems of protection of heritage and a discussion of its role in the general cultural context, a number of original studies on cultural landscapes, recreational geography. The examples of the application of the designated scientific approaches in the activities of museums-reserves and national parks.
The online edition contains mental maps of all major Russian macroregions & some regions & cities of Russia, representing ethnic, cultural & geographical specificity of the territories. Unique regional images & their localization are combined in vivid textual & visual materials, mental maps & regional onomasticons.
For the experts specialized in cultural geography & geihumanities, regional & local studies, cartography, and for a wider audience of those interested in geographical diversity of Russia.
Different meanings of the term “GeoHumanities” (“humanitarian geography”) in Russian are considered. GeoHumanities is argued to be regarded as a specific Russian interdisciplinary research tradition. The links between the notions of “cultural geography” & “geohumanities” are analyzed, as well as the differences between geohumanities & similar traditions in the international context (new cultural geography, humanistic geography, geography & the humanities)