"Berkeley School” Genius: Musings on a Feng-shui Perspective
Exotic feng-shui practices are an increasingly popular form of applied geography in Anglo-America today. Hardly scientific, feng-shui is, however, systematic, complex, and profound in the context of its own cosmology and symbolism. In this article, I muse on the provenance of “Berkeley School” genius at the UC Berkeley site in relation to its “power of place,” using a simplified feng-shui model. My examples introduce and elaborate on the propitious synchronicities found at the site perhaps responsible for the flowering of three prestigious “Berkeley Schools” of creative endeavor following WWI: Carl Sauer’s Berkeley School of Cultural Geography; Alfred Kroeber’s Berkeley School of Cultural Anthropology; and John Haley’s Berkeley School of American Scene Landscape Painting. I muse over some auspicious peculiarities in the common ground at the UC Berkeley site from which these three landscape schools emerge. A general feng-shui cosmological model describes how creative arrays of primal natural forces might converge at the campus site, creating a cosmic force field that generates and shapes the successful thoughts, visions, and creative output of certain of the site’s inhabitants. The founding fathers of these three Berkeley Schools, although unbeknownst to them, are perhaps beneficiaries of UC Berkeley’s excellent feng-shui site. The model provides a provocative alternative understanding of forces responsible for the longevity and continuing vitality of the “Berkeley School” tradition of cultural geography.