Waterfalls as Focal Points of Geology and Culture

In the process of crafting my final concentration proposal, I needed to solidify the significance of waterfalls. Their importance has always been clear to me but what about others? Waterfalls are great indeed but what about them imply greater significance? Why are they important? What are relevant issues that surround waterfalls? I’ve been grappling with these questions throughout the entire concentration process and still don’t have answers. However, I now have a clearer framework as to addressing these questions. In relation to my topic summaries, I plan on examining the role of waterfalls in both Asian and American tourism as well as Japanese religion. I will also consider the potential impacts tourism has on places with high concentrations of waterfalls and how to properly manage tourism in waterfall areas – like the Columbia River Gorge.

At this point, I plan on including both Japan and the Columbia River Gorge as situated contexts for exploring the significance of waterfalls. They have interesting geologic similarities but the culture of both places are drastically different. Both of these variables would be interesting to compare as my concentration progresses.

The most challenging part of the concentration process has been formulating questions of the appropriate category (Descriptive, Explanatory, Evaluative, Instrumental). Many of my questions turned out to be either explanatory or instrumental. Several of the questions were also repetitive or asked the same thing in slightly different wording. Meeting with professor, Elizabeth Safran has helped me greatly with differentiating these questions and decreasing repetition.  My current questions include:

Descriptive: What aspects of waterfalls are people drawn to?

Explanatory: What geomorphic variables affect waterfall location? Waterfall appearance?

What effect does waterfall appearance and location have on religious pilgrimage?

Evaluative: What are the benefits and drawbacks of having a waterfall be easily accessible? Difficult to access?

Instrumental: What are the most effective methods of waterfall visitation and preservation?

Edits still need to be made on the essay portion of my concentration but overall I am excited about the direction it is taking. Waterfalls have been a lifelong passion of mine and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to study them in greater scholarly depth.

 

 

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