May 29, 2016

Bioregionalist culture

Throughout history, many philosophers -- including, for example, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Heidegger -- have believed that the land and climate of a particular region impart certain characteristics to its inhabitants, whose temperaments, language, and cultural production are heavily influenced by the topographical, meteorological, and botanical features of the place.

This bioregionalism resembles the French concept of terroir, a term used in agriculture and gastronomy to describe the relationship between flavor and place. But does the same hold true for humans?

Christy Wampole is an assistant professor in the department of French and Italian at Princeton, and the author of "Rootedness: The Ramifications of a Metaphor" and "The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation."

July 8, 2012

Style vs age is no longer monotonic

Recent decades have witnessed an ever-more-pronounced blur between the phases of childhood and adulthood. This perhaps receives greater visual expression in New York, where hipster fashion embeds a continued wistfulness for early life. I was reminded of this one afternoon recently, when, near the Bergen Street subway stop in Brooklyn, I noticed a young mother in knee socks looking only a few years older than her toddler. (And certainly the reverse is true, with 15-year-olds going to school in Balenciaga.)

The paradox of the affluent New York upbringing, in some sense, is that it is subject to conflicted parental desire for both heightened sophistication and advanced attachment. Deborah Romano, the mother of three grown children, had her 24-year-old daughter, Julia, move out recently after living with her in her brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for a year and a half.