Transoptic Landscape Analysis: Multidimensional Landscapes of a Multinational Wales


  • Mark Rhodes Michigan Technological University



landscape methods, memory work, national identity, heritage, Wales, museums


In this article I propose a novel extension to landscape analysis through multidimensional understandings, including—yet reaching beyond—tangible and into more-than-representational understandings of landscape. This "transoptic" approach to landscape, breaking away from strictly searching for visual representations of culture, allows for sonic, experiential, and emotional layers of meaning embedded in landscapes to emerge from their plural cultural and historical contexts. Memory, and the production and experience of that memory in the landscape, benefit from this transoptic understanding. Utilizing memory work, which includes both memory production and consumption, in Wales as a case study, I employ a transoptic landscape analysis to approach multicultural understandings of Welsh history, memory, landscape, and identity in the National Wool Museum. Wales faces significant challenges as it navigates the rapidly shifting geopolitics of Europe, the United Kingdom, and its own histories and institutions. This demonstrated transoptic qualitative landscape method may be applied not only to Wales's complicated geographies but to those nations and peoples facing similar challenging memory work across Europe and the globe. Through an epistemology and methodology in which landscape is treated as transoptic and the appropriate mixed methods are deployed to explore multidimensional space and place, clearer contexts of embedded, perhaps even contested, meanings may emerge.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Mark Rhodes, Michigan Technological University

Mark RHODES is an assistant professor of geography at Michigan Technological University. Mark is a cultural and historical geographer focused upon memory, heritage, and landscape, and using cultural and spatial contexts to better understand historical plurality for sustainable and equitable futures.


Allen, Douglas; Lawhon, Mary & Pierce, Joseph (2019). Placing race: On the resonance of place with black geographies. Progress in Human Geography, 43(6), 1001-1019.

Bernard, H. Russell; Wutich, Amber & Ryan, Gery (2016). Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. New York, NY: Sage.

Bowring, Jacky (2021). An affective absence: Memorialising loss at Pike River Mine, New Zealand. Emotion, Space and Society, 41, 100845.

Butler, Judith (1990). Gender trouble and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge.

Butler, Judith & Spivak, Gayatri. C. (2007). Who sings the nation-state: Language, politics, belonging. Kolkata: Seagull Books.

Cope, Meghan (2021). Organizing, coding, and analyzing qualitative data. In Iain Hay & Meghan Cope (Eds.), Qualitative research methods in human geography (pp.355-375). Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Cosgrove, Denis E. (1998). Social formation and symbolic landscape. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Crane, Nicolas J. & Lara, Oliver Hernández (2021). Place-based politics, and the role of landscape in the production of Mexico's disappeared. Journal of Latin American Geography, 20(1), 79-98.

Curtis, Tony (1986). Wales: The imagined nation. Bridgend: Poetry Wales Press.

Davies, Branwen (2017). Melinau gwlan/woollen mills of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer Press.

DeSilvey, Cailtin (2003). Cultivated histories in a Scottish allotment garden. cultural geographies, 10(4), 442-468.

Devadoss, Christabel (2017). Sound and identity explored through the Indian Tamil diaspora and Tamil Nadu. Journal of Cultural Geography, 34(1), 70-92.

Doss, Erika (2012). Memorial mania: Public feeling in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Drozdzewski, Danielle (2016). Encountering memory in the everyday city. In Danielle Drozdzewski, Sarah De Nardi & Emma Waterton (Eds.), Memory, place and identity: Commemoration and remembrance of war and conflict (pp.27-57). Abingdon: Routledge.

Duffy, Michelle (2005). Performing identity within a multicultural framework. Social & Cultural Geography, 6(5), 677-692.

Duncan, James S. (2004). The city as text: The politics of landscape interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edensor, Timothy (2005). The ghosts of industrial ruins: Ordering and disordering memory in excessive space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 23(6), 829-849.

Edensor, Timothy (2008). Mundane hauntings: Commuting through the phantasmagoric working-class spaces of Manchester, England. cultural geographies, 15(3), 313-333.

Escobar Nieto, Marcia & Fernández Droguett, Roberto (2008). Performatividad, memoria yconmemoración: La experiencia de la marchaRearme en el Chile post-dictadorial [Performativity, memory and commemoration: The experience of MarchaRearme in post-dictatorial Chile. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2), Art. 36, [Accessed: February 15, 2023].

Evans, Chris & Miskell, Louise (2020). Swansea copper: A global history. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Evans, Dafydd (2007). "How far across the border do you have to be, to be considered Welsh?"—National identification at a regional level. Contemporary Wales, 20(1), 123-143.

Faudree, Paja (2012). Music, language, and texts: Sound and semiotic ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41, 519-536.

Fortier, Anne-Marie (2000). Migrant belongings: Memory, space, identity. London: Routledge.

Gaffney, Angela (1998). Aftermath: Remembering the Great War in Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Gregory, Derek (1982). Regional transformation and Industrial Revolution: A geography of the Yorkshire woolen industry. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Griffiths, Hywel M. (2021). Enacting memory and grief in poetic landscapes. Emotion, Space and Society, 41, 100822.

Gruffudd, Pyrs (1995). Remaking Wales: Nation-building and the geographical imagination, 1925-1950. Political Geography, 14(3), 219-239.

Harvey, David (2013). Emerging landscapes of heritage. In Peter Howard, Ian Thompson & Emma Waterton (Eds.), The Routledge companion to landscape studies (pp.152-165). London: Routledge.

Howell, David R. (2013a). The intangible cultural heritage of Wales: A need for safeguarding? International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 8, 104-116.

Howell, David R. (2013b). The heritage industry in a politically devolved Wales. Dissertation, history, University of South Wales, UK.

Howell, David R. (2016). Selection and deselection of the national narrative: Approaches to heritage through devolved politics in Wales. In Glenn Hooper (Ed.), Heritage and tourism in Britain and Ireland (pp.161-176). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jenkins, Geraint (1993). Amgueddfa Diwydiant Gwlân Cymru [Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry]. Cardiff: National Museum of Wales.

Jenkins, Geraint (1976). Esgair Moel Woollen Mill. Cardiff: National Museum of Wales.

Jones, Rhys (2008). Wales. In Ernest Gellner (Ed.), Nations and nationalism (pp.1631-1641). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Jones, Rhys & Fowler, Carwyn (2007). Placing and scaling the nation. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25(2), 332-354.

Jones, Rhys & Ross, Andrea (2016). National sustainabilities. Political Geography, 51, 53-62.

Kaplan, David H. & Mapes, Jennifer E. (2015). Panoptic geographies: An examination of all US geographic dissertations. Geographical Review, 105(1), 20-40.

Knowles, Anne (1999). Migration, nationalism, and the construction of Welsh identity. In Guntram Herb & David Kaplan (Eds.), Nested identities: Nationalism, territory, and scale (pp.289-316). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kobes, Tomáš (2022). The Maria Stock Pathway. On the building of memorial landscape in the West Bohemian Region. Memory Studies, 15(4), 883-897.

Leadley, Marcus (2011). Soundscape and perception: Reconfiguring the acoustic environment for experimental purpose. SoundEffects, 1(1), 118-138.

Lewis, Lisa (2018). Performing Wales: People, memory, and place. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Longhurst, Robyn; Ho, Elsie & Johnston, Lynda (2008). Using "the body" as an "instrument of research": kimch'i and pavlova. Area 40(2), 208-217.

Lorimer, Hayden (1999). Ways of seeing the Scottish Highlands: Marginality, authenticity and the curious case of the Hebridean blackhouse. Journal of Historical Geography, 25(4), 517-533.

Lorimer, Hayden (2005). Cultural geography: The busyness of being more-than-representational. Progress in Human Geography, 29(1), 83-94.

Mason, Rhianna (2007). Museums, nations, identities: Wales and its national museums. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

McKittrick, Katherine (2006). Demonic grounds: Black women and the cartographies of struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Merriman, Peter & Jones, Rhys (2009). "Symbols of justice": The Welsh Language Society's campaign for bilingual road signs in Wales, 1967-1980. Journal of Historical Geography, 35, 350-375.

Merriman, Peter & Jones, Rhys (2016). Nations, materialities, and affects. Progress in Human Geography, 41(5), 600-617.

Micieli-Voutsinas, Jacque & Person, Angela M. (2021). Affective architectures: More-than-representational geographies of heritage. London: Routledge.

Miskell, Louise (2020). The steel industry in Welsh history and heritage. In Stefan Berger (Ed.), Constructing industrial pasts: Heritage, historical culture and identity in regions undergroing structural economic transformation (pp.91-106). New York, NY: Berghahn Books.

Morse, Sarah E. (2010). The Black Pastures: The significance of landscape in the work of Gwyn Thomas & Ron Berry. Dissertation, literature, Swansea University, UK, [Accessed: February 15, 2023].

Mostafanezhad, Mary & Promburom, Tanya (2018). "Lost in Thailand": The popular geopolitics of film-induced tourism in northern Thailand. Social & Cultural Geography, 19(1), 81-101.

Nettl, Bruno (2015). The study of ethnomusicology: Thirty-three discussions. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Nora, Pierre (1984). Rethinking France: Les lieux de mémoire [sites of memory] (Vol. 1-4). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Osmond, John (2007). Myths, memories and futures: The National Library and National Museum in the story of Wales. Cardiff: Institute of Welsh Affairs

Pearson, Mike (2013). Land marks. In Oriel Myrddin Gallery (Ed.), Andre Stitt in the West (pp.21-27). Carmarthen: Oriel Myrddin.

Post, Christopher (2015). Seeing the past in the present through archives and the landscape. In Stephen P. Hanna, Amy E. Potter, Arnold Modlin, Perry Carter & David L. Butler (Eds.), Social memory and heritage tourism methodologies (pp.189-209). London: Routledge.

Post, Christopher (2021). Placing affective architectures in landscapes of public pedagogy at the university. In Jacque Micieli-Voutsinas & Angela M. Person (Eds), Affective architectures: More-than-representational geographies of heritage (pp.168-184). London: Routledge.

Price, William R. & Rhodes, Mark (2022). Coal dust in the wind: Interpreting the industrial past of South Wales. Tourism Geographies, 24(4-5), 837-858.

Rhodes, Mark (2020a). Memory. In Audrey Kobayashi (Ed.), International encyclopedia of human geography (2nd ed., pp.49-52). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Rhodes, Mark (2020b). Exhibiting memory: Temporary, mobile, and participatory memorialization and the Let Paul Robeson Sing! exhibition. Memory Studies, 13(6), 1235-1255.

Rhodes, Mark (2021a). The nation, the festival, and institutionalized memory: Transoptic landscapes of the Welsh National Eisteddfod. GeoHumanities, 7(2), 558-583.

Rhodes, Mark (2021b). Amgueddfa'r Gogledd: Slate, slavery, and transcalar labor in the National Slate Museum. In Mark Rhodes, William Price & Amy Walker (Eds.), Geographies of post-industrial place, memory, and heritage (pp.185-200). London: Routledge.

Rhodes, Mark (2021c). Dancing around the subject: Memory work of museum landscapes at the Welsh National Waterfront Museum. The Professional Geographer, 73(4), 594-607.

Rhodes, Mark (2021d). The absent presence of Paul Robeson in Wales: Appropriation and philosophical disconnects in the memorial landscape. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 47, 763-779.

Rose, Gillian (2016). Visual methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials. New York, NY: Sage.

Schein, Rich (1997). The place of landscape: A conceptual framework for interpreting an American scene. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 87(4), 660-680.

Schein, Rich (2009). A methodological framework for interpreting ordinary landscapes: Lexington, Kentucky's courthouse square. The Geographical Review, 99(3), 377-402.

Sheehan, Rebecca & Speights-Binet, Jennifer (2019). Negotiating strategies in New Orleans's memory-work: White fragility in the politics of removing four Confederate-inspired monuments. Journal of Cultural Geography, 36(3), 346-367.

Smith, Samuel A. & Foote, Kenneth E. (2017). Museum/space/discourse: Analyzing discourse in three dimensions in Denver's History Colorado Center. cultural geographies, 24(1), 131-148.

Sommerfeldt, Susan; Caine, Vera & Molzahn, Anita (2014). Considering performativity as methodology and phenomena. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(2), Art. 11, [Accessed: February 15, 2023].

Suwala, Lech (2021). Concepts of space, refiguration of spaces, and comparative research: Perspectives from economic geography and regional economics. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(3), Art. 11, [Accessed: February 15, 2023].

Thrift, Nigel (1996). Spatial formations. London: Sage.

Till, Karen (2002). Places of memory. In John Agnew, Katharyne Mitchell & Gerard Toal (Eds.), A companion to political geography (pp.289-301). Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell.

Van Melik, Rianne & Ernste, Huib (2019). “Looking with intention”: Using photographic essays as didactical tool to explore Berlin. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43(4), 431-451,

Waitt, Gordon (2021). Revealing the construction of social realities: Foucauldian discourse analysis. In Iain Hay & Meghan Cope (Eds.), Qualitative research methods in human geography (pp.333-354). Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Warf, Barney (1988). Regional transformation, everyday life, and Pacific Northwest lumber production. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 78(2), 326-346.

Waterman, Stanley (1998). Carnivals for elites? The cultural politics of arts festivals. Progress in Human Geography, 22(1), 54-74.

Waterton, Emma (2019). More-than-representational landscapes. In Peter Howard, Ian Thompson, Emma Waterton & Mick Atha (Eds.), The Routledge companion to landscape studies (pp.91-101). London: Routledge.

Waterton, Emma (2021). Epilogue: A coda for the "left behind": Heritage and more-than-representational theories. In George S. Jaramillo & Juliane Tomann (Eds.), Transcending the nostalgic: Landscapes of postindustrial Europe beyond representation (pp.235-252). New York, NY: Berghahn Books.

Waterton, Emma & Dittmer, Jason (2014). The museum as assemblage: Bringing forth affect at the Australian War Memorial. Museum Management and Curatorship, 29(2), 122-139.

Williams, Gwyn (1985). When was Wales? A history of the Welsh. London: Black Raven Press.

Williams, Kyffin (1998). The land and the sea. Llandysul: Gomer

Williams, Raymond (1993). The country and the city. London: Hogarth.

Wood, Nichole (2012). Playing with "Scottishness": Musical performance, non-representational thinking and the "doings" of national identity. cultural geographies, 19(2), 195-215.

Woods, Michael (2010). Performing rurality and practicing rural geography. Progress in Human Geography, 34(6), 835-846.

Wylie, John & Webster, Chris (2018). Eye-opener: Drawing landscape near and far. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(1), 32-47.




How to Cite

Rhodes, M. (2023). Transoptic Landscape Analysis: Multidimensional Landscapes of a Multinational Wales. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(2).