Session 04

Heritage and Islandness: the Islanders’ Narratives (AGeI- Association of Italialian Geographers. Working group on Archipelagic States and Small Islands Geography)
Chair: Stefano Malatesta (University of Milan Bicocca)

Island Studies (Grydehøj 2017, Baldacchino 2018) stress the gap between insiders (islanders) and outsiders' views and representation of insularity and islandness (Conkling 2007). Geographical categories such as remoteness, smallness, vulnerability or fragmentation shape the image of islands as paradoxical places (Stratford, 2006) built on a complex and fascinating system of antithesis: fragile and resilient, strategic and peripheral, colonial and postcolonial, porous and caged, sovereign and not sovereign. The heritage, both material and immaterial, may be seen as a key driver of these geo-writing process. The session aims to focus, through the exposition of original theoretical contributions and case studies, on the use of natural, cultural and historical heritage islanders do to produce narratives on their islandness, a use that is often in contrast with outsiders' (non-islanders) one. Far from being merely a spatial feature, islandness here is understood as a form of self-representation, produced and reproduced even through the iconic and narrative power of material and immaterial objects constituting the cultural, natural and historical heritage of islands. Material (ecological niches, environmental and historical monuments, human artifacts and historical sites) and immaterial (fisheries practices, languages, literature and place telling) embody a spectrum of cultural and geographical features (such as uniqueness, remoteness, typicity) reinforcing a stereotyped idea of inslandness.

We encourage abstracts/papers submissions addressing theoretical issues and local studies in different islands contexts and proposing a geographical approach on three topics:
1. The use of heritage within political discourses on sovereignty, languages and cultural traits' protection.
2. The promotion of insular heritage as a strategy empowering place stewardship and environmental awareness.
3. The post-colonial readings of islands' heritage.

Essential bibliography:
Baldacchino, G. (2018), The Routledge International Handbook of Island Studies. A World of Island, Routledge.
Conkling P. (2007), On Islanders' and Islandess, Geographical Review, 92, 7, 191-201.
Grydehøj, A. (2017). A future of island studies, Island Studies Journal, 12(1), 3-16.
MacLeod D, Cultural Realignment, Islands and the Influence of Tourism: A new conceptual approach, in "Shima. The International Journal of Research Into Island Cultures", vol. 7, n. 2 (2013), pp. 74-91
Stratford, E., Baldacchino, G., McMahon, E., Farbotko, C. & Harwood, A. (2011). Envisioning the Archipelago. Island Studies Journal, 6(2), 113-130.
Taglioni, F. (2011). Insularity, Political Status and Small Insular Spaces: a Critical Review. The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. 5(2), 45-67.