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LIT 6934: Literature of Place: Florida

Class 2: Place – Phenomenology of Florida

    Cresswell, Place: A Short Introduction
    Heidegger, “Dwelling,” (Canvas)
    Florida Literature: A Case Study, Introduction and pages 1-23 (Rowe, Barry, Bishop) Stevens (125-127)
    Additional poems: "Florida," "Seascape," by Elizabeth Bishop; "Fabliau of Florida," "O, Florida, Venereal Soil," "Farewell to Florida," Wallace Stevens; Hopler "Of the Dead so much less is expected," and "Academic Discourse" (Canvas)
    DUE Post #1

Class Objectives:

    Discuss writings on a Florida place
    Map exercise (in-class)
    Discuss theories of place (Cresswell, Heidegger)
    Discuss the idea of Florida literature
    Contemplative reading of poem(s)

Notes and Discussion Questions:

    For your weekly post, please continue our visualization and writing on a Florida place. Expand the aphorism or poetic line into a full post of at least 300 words. Some of the questions to consider:
    • How do you know this place?
    • What is your role in this place?
    • What does it feel like to be in this place?
    • How does / does not this place reflect me?
    • What about this place shapes me?
    • How is this place unique?
    • How has this place changed over time?
    • What will this place look like in six months, a year, ten years, one hundred years?
    • Who named this place? What are the implications of its name?


    Cresswell's succinct introduction to place studies should help us set the ground for definitions of place as well as complications in a variety of approaches to understanding place.

    Cresswell teaches by realizing abstractions in concrete examples: consider how you might apply the abstract theories and definitions to the place you have imagined or the places described by your classmates.

    What are the differences between the following approaches to understanding place: descriptive, social constructivist, phenomenological? What are some of the concerns or problems associated with each? Cresswell follows his mentor Yi Fu Tuan and the school of phenomenological approaches to place. What approach(es) do you feel affinity for?

    I've assigned the short essays and excerpt from Heidegger because his work is foundational for phenomenological approaches to place, and it is frequently referenced. His notion of "dwelling" is of particular interest, as are the images of the bridge and the farmhouse in the Black Forest. Take from it what you can. For additional help, see these informative summaries of Heidegger's work:

    Entry from Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy online (accessible through USF library):

    Or better, the free online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Heidegger, see especially 3.2.


    Read the poems and essays assigned for class (both in the anthology and on PDF in Canvas) with an eye toward understanding the place of the piece. Annotate what strikes you as interesting, enlightening, significant, and we will begin our discussion from there. Pay particular attention to poems that reference "Florida" in the title.

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