Council on Anthropology and Education
Oral Presentation Session
In this paper I examine how walking with others in landscapes is one way to understand the meaningful production of environmental knowledge, self, and human-nature relationships. Using three narratives of walking, I recount movements across the landscape with others that shape learning and teaching in citizen science, a volunteer program of water watchers in the mid-Atlantic. Sustained movement across the terrain alone and with others holds an opportunity to engage with embodied epistemologies; walking can open up the diverse ways in which knowing is conceived and constructed (Vergunst & Ingold, 2016; Yi’En, 2014). Moreover, walking with others reveals a deeper, socio-geo-ontological connection of being-in-the-landscape and, potentially, a recognition of critical perspective-taking that often is lacking in environmental education and research. Elsewhere I argue for a landscape-based in approach in environmental education (Author 2006, 2013), differing from other conventional approaches to place-based pedagogy and its learning. Landscape, even in urban environments, is part of one’s perspective taking, lends a greater awareness of the space-time and offers a location for critical reflection. In my presentation, I offer ethnographic narratives that focus on way-finding together and sharing one’s perspectives of landscape and environmental knowledge. These narratives provide a critical reading of the landscape that highlights identities, belief systems, and colonial histories. Walking together across the landscape also offers ways for learners and researchers to confront the ways that age, ability, gender, race, and class shape our geographies, understanding of timescales, and the ways we position ourselves/others on the land (Agyeman, 1990; Leyshon, 2011).