TALK: Home as Elsewhere

Yi-Fu Tuan (Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Plants are truly in place. Animals less so. Humans least of all. That’s the sum of my story. I will elaborate on it in two parts. The first part identifies the conditions that make home, real home, so important to our sense of wellbeing. Leaving home can make us homesick to the extent of incapacitating us. We are prone to be sentimental about home. Even in America, a famously mobile society, the sentiment is popularized in such poems and songs as “Home Sweet Home.” On the other hand, human imagination is always capable of taking us elsewhere to realms of beauty and fruitfulness that no comforts of home can satisfy. So we migrate to greener pastures. But even when we are forced out of home and homeland, even when we are exiled, there are unexpected spiritual/intellectual rewards. Religion itself, whether it be Buddhism or Christianity, considers attachment to home and all that it ideally offers not a blessing but a condition fatal to one’s true destiny.

Sponsored by the  IHC’s Idee Levitan Endowment and the Geographies of Place series.

• Learn more about the IHC series Geographies of Place

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