Educational trails as landscape memory agents in the West Bohemian border region
Pauknerová, Karolína; Woitsch, Jiří
In: Zückert, Martin - Hein Kircher, Heidi (eds.). Migration and Landscape Transformation. München: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 175-202. ISBN 978-3-525-37313-2.
Educational trails, i.e. walks furnished with educational boards are products of Modernity's relationship to landscape (or nature), understood as leisure-time space used for recreation, which can also have educational aspects. Many of them have been recently built in the West Bohemian border region, a part of Sudetenland and work as distinctive memory agents. Sudetenland was after WW2 deeply affected by expulsion of Germans and only partially re-settled by Czech speaking migrants mainly from Eastern Europe and Bohemian inland who have lived there since in the shadow of the Iron Curtain. Expulsion and immigration changed the landscape dramatically. Many settlements were abandoned and destroyed, land-use changed essentially, etc.). Our chapter namely addresses representation and interpretation of the regional past, the history of immigrants and original expelled population in the texts and figures on educational boards and its reception. Sources of our data is twofold: texts and figures (educational boards) presented on selected educational trails and data from interviews collected during an extensive anthropological research focused on both users of the walks (tourists and locals) and their creators (nature conservationists, people from logging industry companies, volunteer associations and local village authorities). Starting from theoretical positions of landscape anthropology and cultural geography, we present what this newly constructed landscape memory is like. We try to answer the question what intentions has creators of these trails. We concentrate first on sensibility of the presented regarding the problematic history of the region. Then types of discourse presented to visitors. We are also interested in why the landscape is presented mostly as natural or virgin even though there are obvious traces of abandoned settlements or ruins of the Iron Curtain.