Beyond the Flowers and the Stones: ‘Emplacement’ and the Modeling of Nature

Forrest Clingerman, Ohio Northern University


Using the example of a small oak savanna located in Iowa, I begin by presenting some of the problems that confront us in attempting to describe nature. Finding ourselves in a paradox in an attempt to model nature, I then suggest that modeling nature through the use of the concept of "emplacement" offers us the best way forward. To better define "emplacement," the argument then turns to an exposition of Paul Ricoeur's idea of "employment." I conclude by detailing how one might use "emplacement" to construct a model of a specific place of nature.