At this week’s Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago, we will be convening a session titled ‘Remnants of No-Man’s Lands’. We are delighted to be joined by Derek Gregory, Najeeb Jan, Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca for what promises to be a superb collection of intellectual interrogations of no-man’s lands, past and present.
The May 2000 edition of Backpacker magazine included a special section featuring a “laundry list” of the 40 best-recommended spots in the United States National Wilderness Preservation System. The glossy feature was titled – you guessed it – “No-Man’s Land”.
From: Backpacker Magazine, May 2000.
From its first entrance into the English language, designating a mass burial site for 14th century victims of the Black Death, no-man’s lands exhibit an often violent encounter between bodies and the materiality of the earth. So much so, that a distinction is no longer possible.
In his 1922 essay The Battle as Inner Experience, Ernst Jünger describes how the Fronterlebnis – life on the edges of no-man’s land – dissolves the boundary between body and space, transforming the soldier into an integral part of a frontline ecology: “There, the individual is like a raging storm, the tossing sea and the rearing thunder. He has melted into everything”. Continue reading