Vol. 35, No. 2, Fall 1997- "The Pennsylvania Geographer "



Adrian Cooper

Independent Scholar, Department of Geography

Birkbeck College, University of London


This paper discusses the ways in which ten ecologists with research interests in tropical forest canopies interpret that work from the perspectives of their spiritual faiths. Consequently, this discussion builds upon the rapidly growing discussion among geographers on the ways in which landscape-meaning can embody specific resonances of religious significance. The research for this paper took place between 1985-1996 and draws from tape-recorded one-to-one and small group interviews with the scientists. Each transcript from those interviews was then subjected to a critical discourse analysis. The principal conclusion to be drawn from this work suggests that there are many new themes for discussion between contemporary ecological research and religion. Geography can be considered as a facilitator of that debate, the details of which completely transcend the traditional boundary between physical and human geography, and in doing so, suggests a range of new research opportunities within the geography of religion.

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