The Experience of Place

Lee Hoinacki

This two-part seminar was based on the assumption that no good understanding of space and place is possible apart from the experience of space and place.

Some experiences are or can be more fruitful than others. At various times in my life, I have been on a quest through spaces searching for the proper way to understand and inhabit a place. I have chronicled these journeys in two books, El Camino: Walking to Compostela, and Stumbling Towards Justice: Stories of Place.

The seminars explored questions such as the possible movement from space to place; the relationship between personal and social space; the creation of place; the relationship between temporal and eternal space.

One of the principal sources for the discussion was the experience of pilgrimage as revelatory of space and place. There are numerous such pilgrimage routes around Oakland beginning with walks to one or more of the California missions. But my bibliographical search has not turned up any recent evidence of walking to these places. For example, two of the most famous tourist guide books to California, Let's Go and The Friendly Planet Guide have no information on walking to places in California.

Participants were encouraged to walk to one of these pilgrimage places, thereby creating the appropriate space.


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