2012/08/26-30 The 32nd IGC in Cologne,Germany, IGU Commision on Islands Meeting on East Frisian Island (Aug.31 to Sept.4)


The 32nd International Geographical Congress(IGC) August 26-30, 2012, in Cologne

C08.22 Commission on Islands

Human/Nature-Interaction on Small Islands – an integrative geography perspective on Monday, 27 August, at 8:00-15:30, Main 03

Field trip:
Human-Culture Interaction on Norderney – 
East Frisian Islands, August 31 to September 4, 2012

Call for Papers:
Please visit the IGC website at and submit your abstract by December 15, 2011 (closed)
 The International Geographical Union Commission on Islands is organizing sessions at the upcoming IGC in Cologne on the theme of Human/Nature-Interaction on Small Islands – an integrative geography perspective. We welcome abstract submissions to these sessions. Field Trip: After the IGC, the Commission on Islands is also organizing a field trip to the East Frisian Islands which will be part of the IGU Commission on Islands annual meeting.
Islands: Human/Nature-Interaction on Small Islands – an integrative geography perspective
Chairs: Beate M.W. Ratter (Hamburg), Phil Steinberg (Tallahassee), Huei-Min Tsai (Taipei)
Small islands face a host of environmental and social challenges, due in large part to their isolation, their relatively small populations and economies, and their limited domestic land-based resources. On islands the interaction of social and natural systems is particularly direct and immediate, however it is no less complex than on the mainland. Islands may be small in terms of space or in terms of the number of agents that contribute to socionatural systems, however they have complex dynamics not unlike larger entities. Indeed, islands are confronted with the special challenge of being unable to “hedge” risk through geographical redistribution.
Currently small islands are attracting a high level of attention in the news media and among policy makers, and the sustainability of island socionatural systems amidst climate change has become a leading issue in international politics. While we agree that small islands face a number of unique challenges, this session seeks to go beyond the simple assertion that small islands are under threat to propose that an integrative, non-linear dynamic systems approach for understanding the specific vulnerabilities and resiliencies of island societies amidst linked processes of social and environmental change.
Questions which could be addressed include (but are not limited to): Is there a special innovation capacity of societies with close social kinship networks which provide critical means for intervention at the juncture between the climate system and human activities? What can small islands with their limited resources do to cope with natural hazards? Are small islands in a position to turn their windows of vulnerability into windows of opportunity?
Because small islands are arenas of particularly intense dynamism between human and natural systems, we invite papers from both physical and human geography to contribute to this “Integrative Geography” session. We welcome theoretical papers that develop variants of this approach and discuss its potential applicability to the understanding of small islands as well as case study papers that report on attempts at applying integrative models.
Please note that commission members are of course welcome to submit abstracts on other island-related research and participate in the IGC and the fieldtrip. With sessions on four key topics the IGC 2012 has introduced a new form of participation besides the sessions of the IGU Commissions and Task Forces. The scientific programme will include more than 140 thematic sessions on the ‘key topics’:
 • Global Change & Globalisation
 • Society & Environment
 • Risks & Conflicts
 • Urbanisation & Demographic Change.
This provides an abundance of opportunity to find a niche in which to present your island research at the IGC, also if it is not immediately related to the theme of the sessions organized by the Commission on Islands.