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Curtin University

Senses of Place 100

(formerly Culture, Place, Globality 100)

The study of senses of place interrogates our understandings of identity, of home, of belonging – and of not belonging. Places, our daily places, the places of our memories or our imaginings, are imbued with cultural, symbolic, collective and individual meanings, they are where we make and unmake community, they are the spaces within which we imagine, make and live our lives.

In order to explore these, in this unit we unravel some of the expressions of senses of place we find in the scholarly literatures, in creative production, and in our own experiences of being in place or out of place, of contested places, or sustainable places.

We ask: how do we know who we are and where we belong? How do we make place? How do we interpret representations of identities and places? How do we think about ourselves and about others? Through what social and cultural processes do we define, interpret, understand or identify with places and communities? How can we be reflexive – attentive to our own positions - in our reading and our various forms of communication? What methods of analysis and what resources are available to us to investigate these questions?

We position ourselves around the keywords

sense of place, identity, home, belonging, absence, sustainable places

and seek to

  1. identify and explain the centrality of understandings of identity and place in cultural life;
  2. analyse and critique ideas about the interactions between local and global through the narratives of senses of place; and
  3. work collaboratively to develop effective arguments around understanding the proposition: ‘who do we think we are’?

The unit is taught out of Social Sciences and its student body comes from across the Faculty of Humanities and the wider University so we have journalism students talking to design and fine art students, creative writers and information studies specialists, historians and animators, anthropologists, sociologists, and .. many more. Our students investigate and represent cultural understandings through photographs, drawings, words, maps, sounds …

We have some examples of their explorations on these pages for you to see -and thank all the students who have so generously agreed to have their work exhibited here.