6th March 2014
How does the landscape shape us? What role can ‘sense of place’ play in our lives? Yearning for the Land (Vintage Books, 2003) traces the emigration story of John Muir from his Old World childhood home in Dunbar, Scotland to his New World home in the ‘wilds’ of Marquette County, Wisconsin. It examines the landscape histories, settlement patterns and cultural meanings of those places in the mid-1800s as well as tracing their trajectory of change from then until today. But the landscape and life stories of current residents prove most revealing.
John Simpson is professor emeritus at The Ohio State University (USA) where he taught in landscape architecture and natural resources for 31 years. He received an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture from OSU as well as post-graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Duke School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. During the latter half of his tenure at OSU he taught two large, university-wide lecture courses on American landscape history and environmental stewardship for which he wrote three books. During this period he also led summer-long study abroad programs to China, Thailand, and twice to Slovenia. In 2001 he was a Visiting Research Scholar to the ECA landscape architecture program when he and his family lived in Cockburnspath, East Lothian while he was on sabbatical to research and write Yearning for the Land. His presentation tells the story of that experience.