Projects

The research on early modern cartographical manuscripts (Charles University Grant Agency, 2016–2018)

The research project focuses on early modern cartographical manuscripts, especially the maps of estates, as unique and as yet little processed source of knowledge about the historical landscape. The research is particularly aimed at the study of the selected maps as a source of information regarding cultural landscape transformations. It examines transformation of land use and cover and its appearance, discusses the causes of observed changes and their dynamics. The thorough analysis of the sources will produce new information about transformations of rural landscapes as well as spatial layout of towns in the preindustrial period. The sources will also be compared with cartographic works of the modern period and eventually with recently published maps. To achieve a comprehensive analysis of the maps, attention will be paid to issues of historical cartography. New information obtained from thorough analysis of early modern maps will be generalized and its contribution to present research will be assessed. Research results may be utilized for creation and protection of contemporary landscapes, especially in the field of spatial planning and regional development, reconstruction of rural landscapes and its conservation.

Christianity in everyday life of young women in Czechia (Charles University Grant Agency, 2016–2018)

The influence of religion on everyday life is a phenomenon that has not been sufficiently explored in geography. However, the topic is important for socio-geographic research, because Christian values and religious identity of people play an increasingly important role in society, even in a secular Czechia. Gender relations, which are key factors for shaping the everyday experience of women, are then formed by the Christian culture with patriarchal values which marginalize women. The project is based on the new cultural and religious geography using feminist approaches. The aim of the project is to discuss and verify the influence of Christianity on the everyday lives of women and their perception of space in relation to the territorial differentiation of religiosity and to the influence of religious institutions. Furthermore, the project will reflect the needs of religious young women whose life is determined by conflicting influences of Christian traditions and secular forces which are reflected in social hierarchy and in public space. The project will focus on young women living in areas of interest which will be selected on the basis of religiosity. The connection of the research of religious identity, patriarchy, everyday life and the perception of space provides a framework for the application of geographic approaches. The project is innovative thematically, because feminist geographies of the Christian religion have not been studied sufficiently in Czechia, as well as methodologically, since it uses a method of auto-photography in combination with in-depth interviews.

The concept of place in the context of transatlantic transformations: socio-cultural aspects of changes in selected cities during the 20th century (Charles University Grant Agency, 2016–2018)

The project deals with the concept of place and its transformation in the context of transatlantic transformations that still till nowadays stood aside the interests of the professional community. Representative of place in the project is an example of the American Bar, where the institution in the first half of the 20th century, especially in the interwar period, symbolized the newly established cultural element. Phenomenon gradually penetrated into the whole society and to this extent it could be viewed as a traveling meeting point. The key pillar of the project is to take into account socio-cultural, economic, demographic and political aspects of bar environment as a peculiar manifestation of transatlantic communication. The biggest question to the concept of space is therefore whether the European continent was in the interwar period under a wave of Americanization, which are in various locations showed quite unique way that reflected the rising standard of living, while in the United States (place of origin) was formed this culture again somewhat differently (complicated situation as a “dry” America and “thirsty” of Europe). At the same time, the question is whether it was just an extraordinary manifestation of transatlantic relations and interaction. It can be assumed that in the European environment, the original concept was modified. The project is designed on two levels. The first is made up of theoretical and methodological framework, aiming at the discussion and formulation of assumptions related to cultural transformation and imaginative and actual dissemination of innovation in the society. In contrast, the second level includes empirical research, thanks to which should be theoretical knowledge and findings correlated with the real historical and geographical situations, for instance, notification of disposition concept of the American Bar and how much was in European scales really American. Moreover, the project also offers a contextual analysis of the concept and will help to enhance knowledge about the development of the aforementioned concept of place as an important component of everyday life scale in specific transatlantic relations as a comparison of selected cities, particularly in New York, London and Paris. It is in these towns there is enough material for analysis of development “institution” bar at individual locations, respectively. documents indispensable for the comparison of Americanization, as acceptance of the concept of time, to the importance of the bar for the development of territorial identity population in these cities over time (expression of their current social status and standard of living).

The role of graphic symbols in formation process of region, territorial identities and power relations in territory: The case of the Liberec Region (Charles University Grant Agency, 2014–2016)

The project is aimed at the research of the role of symbols and symbolism (emblems, logos, flags) in the process of institutionalisation of regions, formation of territorial identities and power relations in the territory. It focuses on the assessment of significance of symbols (natural, landscape, historical, cultural) and their reflection in graphic symbolism of the Liberec Region. First, a typology of symbols will be created, based on theoretical and methodological outcomes from the research within “new” regional geography and regional marketing. Second, the significance of graphic symbolism for the formation of regional and territorial identities on various scale levels will be assessed. Consequently, on the case of the Liberec Region, conditions for territorial identities formation will be evaluated. Graphic symbolism of institutions in the region (municipalities, associations of municipalities/local action groups, institutions of nature and landscape protection etc.) and perception of symbols of the region by inhabitants of Czechia (analysis of the CVVM 2012 survey results) will be analysed. Finally, the significance of symbols and symbolism of the region in consciousness of: a) actors of territorial development (representatives of institutions), b) inhabitants of the territory (students and teachers at grammar schools) will be assessed.

Regional branding as an indicator of regional development potential (Charles University Grant Agency, 2014–2015)

The project deals with the potential for regional development, particularly with the significance of symbolism for regional development. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the region and regional identity formation process. The utilisation of symbols represented by labels/brands/logos is the pivotal topic of the project. It reflects mutual relations among actors/subjects involved in regional development, their motivations, willingness and potential for collaboration and the distribution of power among them. Analysing the utilisation of symbols allows explaining several problems in regional development and proposing suitable solutions.
The project consists of 4 steps. The first step contains setting theoretical and methodological frames, literature research and discussion. Beside social and regional geography and regional development literature dealing with semiotics, i.e. theoretical aspects of symbols, and application oriented territorial marketing/branding will be studied. The second step based on extensive empirical research will aim at building a database of brands/labels/logos used by regional-development-oriented subjects in Czechia, assessing their spatial distribution and classifying identified symbols and actors/subjects. Finally, the type of regions and model areas for further research will be selected. The third phase will focus on explaining identified relations via intensive research. In the last step research results will be assessed and resumed.

    

The impact of select factors in the educational process on how students perceive Czechia (Charles University Grant Agency, 2014–2015)

This project focuses on the perception of geographical space in the minds of secondary school students and the factors influencing how they create mental maps of Czechia with particular emphasis on select factors in the educational process: textbooks and teachers. The aim of this project is to describe the relationship between the typology of strategies for using textbooks in the classroom and how these strategies influence students’ perception of geographical space. Focusing on talented geography students, the goal is to determine factors that lead to the creation of mental maps that are spatially more accurate and temporally more permanent as a result of how geographical space is perceived.

Historical geography research centre (Science Foundation of the Czech Republic, 2012–2018; in cooperation with the Institute of History, Academy of Sciences Czech Republic, v.v.i.)

This project contributes to the further development of research undertaken at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague. The aim of the project is to develop a joint institutional platform for research in historical geography in Czechia and to strengthen its international reputation. During research emphasis will placed especially on: (i) theoretical-methodological approaches, development of the approaches used in Czech historical geography in the European and global context with an emphasis on the concepts of “new” historical, cultural and regional geography; (ii) regions, the development of settlement system, socio-geographic, administrative and economic regions, the processes of their formation and change, the process of spatial polarization, border changes and problematic areas (borderlands, peripheries); (iii) towns, the development of the position of towns in the socio-geographic system, the interpretation and explanation of changes in their external positioning and the internal structures of towns and their hinterlands; (iv) landscape, and landscape changes and their explanation and interpretation; (v) heritage and territorial identity, the significance and formation of natural and cultural heritage, and the role of heritage in the process of forming of territorial identities and in local/regional development.

Development, transformation and differentiation of religion in Czechia in the context of global and European shifts (Czech Science Foundation, 2013–2015)

The primary objective of the proposed project include both an increased theoretical methodological understanding in the fields of geography and sociology of religion, as well as a geographical analysis and synthesis of the primary structures, trends and processes impacting Czechias religious landscape. Significant outcomes shall include, first and foremost, a generalizing geographical view of the development, transformation and differentiation of religion in Czechia, both in the form of an atlas of religion in Czechia as well as through a monograph that will present a number of in-depth studies. These will focus, inter alia, on the study of religious identity, the role of religion in the creation of social capital and increasing religious pluralism. The project shall be theoretically and methodologically anchored primarily in geography of religion, sociology of religion, cultural geography and religious studies. The interdisciplinary of the project will allow for a comprehensive approach to studying the indicated issues as well as a wide variety of research methods and tools.

Geosocial regionalization: general questions, methodological approaches and their verification (Charles University Grant Agency, 2013–2014)

Geosocial regionalization is a very complex form of regionalization, which has not been adequately explored yet. Its merit is regionalization based on prevailing rate of regional identity, collective sense of belonging of people with territory. Geosocial regions as products of this regionalization are homogeneous in sense of same regional identity. Sociogeographical regionalization is part of geosocial regionalization, because sociogeographical regions are defined by statistical relations of man to land. In contrast, geosocial regionalization reflects influence of decision making by actors and their sense of belonging to territory as well as outside self-presentation of local/regional institutions. The importance of regional identity is discussed not only in general theories of formation of regions, but also in context of discussion of role of endogenous potential in territorial development. The project aims to discuss different approaches to regionalization and on the basis of this discussion to conceptualise/define this modern, not yet well explored, concept of geosocial regionalization and its methodology. Then also to verified conceptualization and methodology in three research areas (differed mainly by the continuity of regional identity development), which should serve as a basis for further research in the field of regional identity and geosocial regionalization.

Formation of spatial identities in areas with intensively changed landscape: The case of North-Western Bohemia (Czech Science Foundation, 2012–2014; in cooperation with the Faculty of Science of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem)

This project further contributes to current regional identity research, especially on concepts of new regional, cultural and historical geographies. It focuses on the analysis of the process of formation of territorial identities, especially regional identities and the identities of regions, in areas that have witnessed intensive landscape changes in Czechia. It deals with the internal development potential of specific areas in North-Western Bohemia. Inhabitants’ feelings of territorial identity, the perception of the local landscape and of its values and the perception of the landscape transformations are examined in areas in different geographical locations, with varying levels of landscape change and where local inhabitants live different lifestyles.

Regional identity of the Slovak-Polish border region (Charles University Grant Agency, 2012–2014)

This proposed project will address the research of the regional indentity of the Slovak-Polish border region. Research on the regional identity of the area of interest will consist of studying two basic components – the identity of the population of the Slovak-Polish border region and the identity of the region itself as a socioeconomic structure building on the Passi´s concept of institutionalization of regions. Construction of the region will be seen as an intrisically interconnected social system. Research of regional identity will be enriched by the knowledge how the region is seen beyond its borders. The issue of project is generally devoted to research of the region, namely the research of the regional identity and research of border and peripheral regions, the project extends to the theoretical bases of cultural geography and historical geography, whereby play an important role geopolitical relations. The project will take into account the ongoing social transformation of the region in light of processes such as globalization, informatization and European integration under which increases the contact function of region. It also will be built on already realized projects in the research of the regional identity and border and peripheral regions.

 

The significance of tourist function of settlements and municipalities in the process of formation of regional identity and identity of regions in the Czech Republic (Czech Science Foundation, 2009–2011)

This project was a continuation of second home research, as well as of research on concepts of new regional, new cultural and behavioral geography. Project work focused on the process of formation of regional identity and the identity of regions in areas with a significant concentration of recreational settlements and municipalities in particular. Socioeconomic and socio-cultural aspects of the internal development potential of specific areas and regions were discussed. The identity of regions was analyzed as was the identification of residents and recreationists with the studied areas.

 

Areal preservation – Barrier or tool of areal development? (Charles University Grant Agency, 2007–2009)

This project dealt with landscape protection as heritage protection and with the relationship between the practices of cultural and natural heritage protection in the context of the role of areal preservation in areal development. The aim of the project was to analyze the current state of areal preservation in Czechia and to assess its role as an important player in landscape change management.

 

Differentiation of changes of religious landscape in Czechia during the period of transformation (Charles University Grant Agency, 2007–2009)

This project focused on the analysis of the main trends and processes in the religious landscape of Czechia during the period of post-Communist transformation. The term “religious landscape” was at first understood in the broad sense to mean a larger spatial unit together with its inhabitants (for example Czechia) that is generally influenced by religious influences, and in a narrower sense indicated specific sacral structures in specific localities.

 

Driving forces of institutionalisation of regions: Regional identity and identity of regions in the Czech Republic during the period of its integration into Europe of regions (Czech Science Foundation, 2006–2008)

This project further developed concepts of new regional geography. Research focused on the process of regional identity and identity of regions’ formation in Czechia during the period of post-Communist transformation and in the context of the more general process of European integration. There were several research aims: 1) to analyze the awareness of regional identity of local inhabitants; 2) to analyze the process of the institutionalization of regions; 3) to identify the driving forces behind the institutionalization of regions in the sense of “living” space”; 4) to analyze the significance of borders for the formation of identities of regions, and 5) to contribute to theoretical and methodological issues in research in historical and cultural geography.