Date of Completion

2019

Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Ingrid L. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Morse

Keywords

techscape, technopolitics, rural, land-use, gold mining, all-terrain vehicles

Abstract

Land use has been a point of tension between rural residents, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists since the establishment of the first U.S. National Parks in 1872. Since then, the increased number of protected area designations and their unique restrictions has only increased the frequency and severity of these conflicts. The ‘No Monument’ movement in the Central Klamath River region embodies the core tensions between a variety of communities that intersect on a shared landscape. This thesis offers a qualitative analysis of the uses of different technologies (e.g. gold dredging, all-terrain vehicles, and iPhones) in rural areas along the Klamath River. By focusing on how some technologies gain acceptance while others are rejected by those with different interests, I argue that these practices reveal the cultural assumptions that shape ongoing land use conflicts. Such conflicts stem from inconsistencies in regulating technologies that “enhance” wilderness experiences for some and technologies that “degrade” wilderness experiences for others. Drawing on ideas from rural geography, political ecology, and science, technology, and society studies (STSS), I propose the notion of a techscape, a framework for viewing a landscape as a dynamic product of the technology that co-creates it. The techscape offers an alternative way of looking at a landscape that can highlight marginalized voices and illustrate the flaws with current land use restrictions.

Available for download on Friday, May 14, 2021

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