Title: “The Ocean and Seas in Geographical Thought” IGU Thematic conference

As a contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), this thematic conference of the IGU, will focus on the ocean and seas as complex and relational geographical ‘objects’ through a plurality of foci. For centuries, the ocean and seas have been means for connecting people and at the same time separating them, corresponding to different functions through different times and cultures. While the earliest studies were made by maritime nations, and especially with either colonial or military reasons, more recently the emphasis has been on firstly the need to exploit the oceans and secondly on the links with global changes. Hence, these liquid spaces and their pictorial and cartographic representations have been the object of rich studies in the geographical tradition that anticipated some features of current debates on non-state geopolitics, hybridity, and global change, to mention only some of the most often quoted matters in broader disciplinary and transdisciplinary conversations.

Marine complexity and the many uses and users require that all the disciplines within both physical geography and human geography are required to be combined in true interdisciplinary studies.The ocean and seas are social spaces, political spaces, logistical spaces and cultural spaces. Since the early 2000s, the scientific community has renewed its interest in the ocean by focusing also on their educational value: Ocean Literacy means understanding the influence the ocean has on human beings and of human beings on the ocean.

Furthermore, the ocean and seas are at the center of current discussions on the life of the planet, climate change and sustainability. From an economic perspective, the use of ocean resources is one of the most critical challenges that humanity needs to tackle in the coming years. Almost invariably, these issues are intersected by gender and social location. Successfully addressing these issues implies a dialogue between different academic specialties and between scholarship and public policy, including grassroots movements and activism. The seas should not be spaces of exclusion, but help to ensure mobility for all. In particular, there is the need to cover the continuum from ecological structure and functioning, to ecosystem services and then to societal goods and benefits. IGU commissions and task forces have a lot of expertise about wide arrays of maritime issues. This thematic session aims to put together interventions from all branches of geography and critical thinking on the chosen theme to foster intra and interdisciplinary dialogue on such a large part of the earth’s surface (70%). That is the part of our globe covered with waters, one which geographer Elisée Reclus described as a metaphor of universal human brotherhood, being the grand common basin in which all different individual streams converge. The meeting will especially look for contributions which bring a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding and management of the ocean.

Sessions and papers could be devoted (but not limited) to the following sub-themes (see the
conference website for the call):

● History of Ocean and Seas
● The Ocean and Diversity
● Livelihoods and Life in and on the Ocean and the Seas
● Imaginaries and representations of the Ocean and the Seas
● Heritage, culture, tourism in coastal and maritime areas
● Planning and governance of coastal and maritime regions
● Ocean and Seas: spaces of inclusion and exclusion
● The climate emergency from a maritime perspective
● Adaptability and resilience of coastal and maritime areas

Organizing Commissions:
Commission on the History of Geography (initiator)
Commission on Gender and Geography
Commission on Geography of Governance
Commission on Mediterranean Basin
Commission on Political Geography
Commission on Toponymy
Commission on Tourism, Leisure and Global Change

Local organizer: Marcella Schmidt di Friedberg, Dept Human Sciences for Education “Riccardo Massa” University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy marcella.schmidt@unimib.it

Contacts: valentina.anzoise@unimib.it
Info: geografia@unimib.it

Date and place:
6-7 June 2023 – Milan (Italy), University of Milano-Bicocca
8-9 June 2023 – Post-conference excursion: Venice (Italy)

New Deadlines:

we are pleased to inform you that the deadline to submit abstracts the IGU Thematic Conference “The Ocean and Seas in Geographical Thought” – that will be held in Milan on 6-7 June 2023 and will be followed by a two days post-conference in Venice – is extended to 25th January 2023 00:00 CET.

The new deadlines are as follows:

  • November 21st, 2022 – 25th January 2023: Call for Abstracts
  • February 6th, 2023: Notifications of abstracts’ acceptance

To submit an abstract:
– the list of sessions is available here: https://igu-chg-2023.unimib.it/session-list/

– presenters have to fill a dedicated Google form that can be found at this link: https://igu-chg-2023.unimib.it/call-for-abstract/

We are also happy to announce the availability of IGU grants awarded on a competitive basis to help defray the costs of in-person participation in the 2023 Thematic Conference in Milan: https://igu-chg-2023.unimib.it/grant-program/ 

We would appreciate if you could spread the news among your networks and colleagues and in case of any question regarding abstracts submission or the grant program do not hesitate to write to: https://igu-chg-2023.unimib.it/