CFP – Panel Natural disaster & (dis)memory of islands: cultural issues on urban development

Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos Conference Copenhagen, 21-25 October 2014


Panel – Call for Participation

 Natural disasters and (dis)memory of islands: cultural issues on urban development Coordination: DMDM Project – CECC-UCP and CIERL-UMa

 Panel Abstract:

“Catastrophes and crises are […] disruptions of order […] [they] change and subvert what we have become accustomed to […]. They simultaneously demand and defy conceptual understanding and cultural representation and thus force our cultural imagination to invent new concepts and modes of understanding”    

C. Meiner & K. Veel (2012), The Cultural Life of Catastrophes and Crises, p.1.

 The panel wants to discuss the role of cultural memory in processes of (re)construction of islands representation and cultural identity as well as in processes of disaster and risk reduction (DRR), in particular in urban island contexts.

Given its (ultra)peripheral situation as well as its territorial discontinuity in relation to other spaces, the island comes into view as a paradoxical autonomous world. As Peckham (2003) points out “the island in this sense [is] a space in which ‘native’ customs might be preserved and, at the same time, a space in which potentially destructive, atavistic forces might be controlled and ultimately domesticated. It is here that the island emerges as an ambivalent, problematic place: at once a refuge and a prison, a place of innocent childhood adventure and of beastly aggression”.

“Small islands” report (Mimura et ali, 2007) highligthed that islands have characteristics which make them particularly vulnerable to disasters. These events, especially if arising from climate change, are expected to have important consequences in ecosystem and in natural and urban landscape, which are considered the main resources for economic incomes, in particular for the insular tourism industry. However, small islands vulnerability is also a consequence both of human behavior and imaginary, and of the process of (dis)memory of the place history.

Insular disasters are historical events, strongly implicated in urban development, although sometimes erased from cultural memory of touristic islands. They are also phenomena related to cultural, social and political issues, notably in subnational insular jurisdictions (SNIJs).

The panel wants to debate the processes of redefinition of identity of insular places and the role of external pressures and natural disasters in the process of identity (de)construction. Papers, from different backgrouds, are expected to focus on insular-urban contexts, particularly in SNIJs and touristic islands.


Key concepts: Cultural (dis)memory of insular places; representation of island and disasters; cultures of disaster; tourism; SNIJs; identity (re)construction


To propose a presentation, please contact  DMDM organizers  of the panel:

Deadline: 30 May, 2014


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