PLS0078 Advanced Landscape Theory, 15.0 Credits
Subjects Landscape Architecture
No Level Indicated
Pass / Failed
The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.
The PhD-student must be admitted as a PhD-student in a relevant subject. In addition, the student must have a good knowledge of English i.e. English 6 or equivalent.
The aim of the course is to learn to use and apply key concepts within landscape theory in architectural and planning practice in a critical way, and to offer an historical and philosophical background to the use of concepts and tools in landscape architecture.
After completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- show insight into how the use of key concepts matter for the everyday planning and design practice,
- elaborate on the historical background for key concepts, and
- critically engage with the interface between working concepts and practice.
This course is concerned with key concepts in landscape architecture and planning practice, such as place, space, nature, culture, scale, environment, power, democracy, heritage, representation and landscape. These concepts are sites of conflict, with different interests seeking to define them in their own way. The course seeks to give the student insight into how to critically use theoretical concepts to inform and guide an inclusive and just landscape architectural and planning practice. It also provides a historical and philosophical back-ground on the development of the key concepts, and of how their use has shaped the land. An important aspect of the course is the insight that society and its landscapes are not uniform, but are made of multiple activities, power-relations and processes.
The first part of the course is based on compulsory literature seminars on different themes. The readings will be discussed during 8 compulsory seminars, based on the 8 themes. The aim of the seminars is to support you in acquiring a thorough and complex understanding of the different concepts and themes. A key insight that the course aims to convey, is an understanding of concepts, not as fixed and finished, but as living and contested tools that enable the conception of new approaches to the planning practice of landscape architects and planners. How you think and reflect about landscape can have a big effect on the way you plan, design and manage landscape.
You are expected to read and be prepared to discuss all compulsory readings for each theme. Prepare each seminar by 1) reading the 3-4 compulsory texts in the reading list, and perhaps more if you like, 2) writing and handing in a written assignment, a personal reflection, on the compulsory readings to that theme – these should not be thought of as an exam, where you must give the "right" answer, we are interested in what you think (see further instructions below). To each seminar, 3 to 4 of you also compose an oral presentation about one of the compulsory readings (see further information below), to present at the seminar.
The overall aim with the written assignments, the oral presentations and the discussions at the seminars is to enable an active, in-depth and critical understanding. We encourage you to share your insights and inspiration at the seminar, as well as your struggles with understanding the texts or if you are critical to the text in some way or the other.
A purpose of the seminars is to give the students the chance to develop their own opinions on the articles reads, without being told beforehand what to think. Each seminar will be followed by a lecture (efterläsning) on the theme, held by a researcher who has specific knowledge of the theme discussed in the seminar. By having the lecture after the seminar you will be well prepared to ask challenging questions following the lecture. The lectures will help you to develop your ideas and theoretical framework further, and more deeply explore the theme. Take the opportunity to ask the lecturers questions that arose during the seminars or questions you have about their texts.
Literature seminars (including preparatory work), excursion and final seminar are compulsory.
The course combines group discussion of central theoretical texts with a field study of key up-to-date examples of landscape architectural and planning practice. Emphasis is set on the key concepts, which will be treated in the context of the actual architectural and planning practice, on various "scales". Literature seminars and lectures on different themes form the base of the course. The course concludes with a final paper which should be informed by the reading and discussion on the key concepts. Success as a student depends on the ability to be able to make key concepts speak to the particular subject or problem that the student is studying in his/her doctoral-thesis. This means learning to think about concepts not as something to be memorised, but as flexible tools for critical analysis and creative work.
The course is in period 2. A complete schedule exists and in the first half of the course, the focus is on the lectures and seminars. The second part is devoted to writing the scientific paper.
The student is active in all seminars, puts relevant questions and listens carefully to ideas and comments of others. The questions and comments reveal that the student has read the required texts carefully and critically (this does not rule out occasional misunderstandings, and certainly not questions concerning the theories and ideas of the paper in question). The student contributes with oral presentations which are clearly structured, capture the main content of the paper, raise interesting questions for the discussion, and is done within the given time frame. It is also good if a student can mention other relevant theories and texts that the student has read, but not at the expense of the required texts, which are the primary topic.
The written assignments are primarily a pedagogic tool to make you take notes of the texts read in class. These notes will be useful in writing the paper for the course, and in other courses.
For each literature seminar you are expected to send in either
a. an imaginary letter (approximately 1000 words) to the author of one of the texts. The letters should be written in a casual and exploratory style and should contain the following parts:
- a ‘Thank you’-paragraph, in which you thank the author for an aspect well explained, for an insight conveyed or a position well expressed etc.
- a ‘Could you please explain this better’-paragraph, in which you refer (with a literal quotation, giving a reference) to a concept or argument that you have not understood, explaining why that was difficult to understand.
- a ‘Your text will help me to improve my doctoral-thesis’-paragraph, in which you outline how the text’s theories and concepts will do just that.
b. a summary of all the three texts, which outlines the main arguments of the texts on a total approximately 1000 words. The notes will be useful in writing the paper.
The hand-in should summarize each text you have read, written in a casual and exploratory style (with correct citations) and could contain the following parts:
- The main arguments and conclusions of the text
- an insight or Aha-moment you got from reading the text, if you had one
- ideas of how you think the text’s theories and concepts will help you improve your doctoral-thesis
- Where needed: refer to a concept or argument that you have not understood, explaining why that was difficult to understand
- The student is able to present and discuss the content of the readings according to the instructions given under the heading "Written assignment to each seminar theme".
- The student refers to the readings in a correct way. The student is able to write assignments in a clear language within the given world limit.
The second part of the course is dedicated to writing your paper. Your final assignment is a paper in which you apply relevant concepts from the course to the topic of your Ph-D-thesis. It is important here to show that you are aware of all the course readings that might be relevant to your theme. In this way you can show that you are able to think broadly about a topic, and that you have been able to see how the different topics inter-relate. The paper should be ca 10–15 pages long, and not more than 7 000 words including the reference list. It should be written in English. Only by way of exception, and after discussion with your supervisor, you can write in Swedish if you prefer.
In the paper you are asked to apply the theoretical discussions from the course readings, the seminars and the lectures to your Ph-D-thesis. The paper should illustrate your ability to use the concepts and theories discussed during the course.
In addition to the requirements for the master course (which the PhD students should fulfill), the PhD student should present his/her research project for the other students in relation to the field trip. The essay of the PhD student should to a larger extent include not only the obligatory but also recommended readings, and the level of conceptual understanding is generally expected to be more advanced compared to the master students.
Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management