(Re)naming Places, (Re)shaping Identities

Full Title: (Re)naming Places, (Re)shaping Identities

Date: 28-Oct-2015 - 29-Oct-2015
Location: Naples, Italy
Contact Person: Luisa Caiazzo
Meeting Email: lcaiazzo@unior.it

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Typology

Call Deadline: 30-Jun-2015

Meeting Description:

The power and politics of (re)naming plays a key role in the social construction of space and in the complex process of attaching meaning to places (Berg and Kearns 1996), in that names inscribe ideological messages about the past (and the present) into the texts of our everyday life, thus making certain versions of history appear as the natural order of things (Azaryahy 1996). The cultural importance of place (re)naming as a social negotiation process becomes even more crucial in colonial and post-colonial settings where, like the naming of individuals and peoples, it often marks the ideological discourse enveloping the process of conquest and appropriation.

Within this shift towards a study of names that recognizes the role of naming as an active and contestable process, scholars in the social sciences and humanities are investigating the power relations inherent in naming practices, with a growing interest in the relationship between place names and discourses of national, local, and ethnic identity, the commodification of place, the cultural formation and administrative shaping of space and the politics of collective memory through the construction of commemorative landscapes (Azaryahu 1996, Alderman 2009, Vuoltenaho and Berg 2009). Further lines of research have also addressed identity related issues, focusing on the ‘symbolic resistance’ of marginalized voices (Alderman 2009) and on people reactions to being (re)named as they are represented in blogs, forums and online newspapers.

Responding to this ‘critical turn’ in the field of toponymy, the conference aims to foster interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars who work in different geographical settings and historical contexts, while also critically assessing theoretical traditions that have inspired contemporary place-name scholarship.

Keynote speaker: Iman M. Nick, University of Cologne, Germany; President of the American Name Society

Call for Papers:

We welcome both theoretical contributions and place-specific Case Studies as well as a (re)consideration of methodological issues and data sources. Areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, practices of spatial inscription in terms of

- Nation building
- The colonial process of claiming territory
- The post-colonial process of recovering lost language and memory
- The commodification of places
- The politics of collective memory
- Symbolic resistance
- Naming controversies in the news


Please send an abstract of up to 300 words together with a brief bio-sketch to opalusci@unior.it and lcaiazzo@unior.it by 30 June 2015.
Notification of acceptance: by 30 July 2015 A selection of Papers will be peer-reviewed for publication.

Registration fee: 100 EUR (further details will be sent after abstract acceptance)

Scientific coordinator: Oriana Palusci, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’

Scientific Committee:

Luisa Caiazzo, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’
Mirko Casagranda, University of Calabria Iman M. Nick, University of Cologne, Germany; President of the American Name Society Katherine E. Russo, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’

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