This special issue examines how people in an array of cultural contexts interpret the experience of place to furnish the conceptual language that structures collective narratives of the world and the cosmos. The issue encompasses articles that illuminate the forces that hold our realities together and render them intelligible. As editors, we have elected to label this complex of cultural practices and expressions “local cosmology,” but we also acknowledge that the discourses produced therein have ramifications that extend into the regional, the national, the global, and the universal.
A semiotics of place implies the use of perceived local realities as representative modes. A place is not just a place, but a metaphor for the group, the family, the nation, and by extension all the other places against which it is defined. Our hope in grounding the focus of this special issue in the local is to operate from a particular vantage that showcases the grand scale of diverse strategies and techniques for making worlds knowable. Neighborhoods, institutions, roads, sacred spaces—all become linked in an experiential logic predicated on individual perception.
Like all thematic issues, this issue will remain open to new essays and interventions, and there is thus no deadline for submission.