Day: March 12, 2010


Natalie and I visited Hadrian’s Wall in North Eastern England yesterday. It’s one of the world’s most ancient boundaries — for which humans are responsible.

The wall next to the ruined fort at Housesteads

Like so many border areas, the boundary marked by Hadrian’s Wall was contested and re-configured time and again throughout its long history. Which gives us the theme of our post — and our time in the UK to date: boundaries, borders and other in-between spaces.

Along these lines we’ve been wondering:

  1. How to negotiate the odd way British university towns are both tourist sites full of history and antiquarian interest, and functional contexts in which people live, study, work and party.

    Oxford laid out in all its higgledy-piggledy glory (viewed from St Mary's church tower)

  2. Why the ‘geographers of religion’ (and associated sociologists, anthropologists, religious studies scholars and theologians) at the conference we attended in Newcastle seemed so anxious to ‘position’ themselves — by confessing their personal faith (or lack of it) and drawing or re-drawing disciplinary borders.

    There's so much stone in Newcastle that it feels like an open-air cave

  3. What to feel about the way ancient remnants in the UK — both Roman and Christian — have often not only been preserved but also restored and rennovated in relatively recent times (as well as from their earliest history onwards).

    Durham Cathedral looks massive now, can you imagine how dramatic it was in 1100?