IMPORTANT NEWS: a letter from the ICA Chair Peter Jordan

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Dear colleagues and friends,


The International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS) invites us to the approaching October lecture of the Onomastics Online series, Wednesday 19 October 2022, 5 p.m. (CET), Carole Hough (University of Glasgow) ”Metaphor and Metonymy in Names”. Link to the Zoom event: Please find the abstract enclosed.


Please find attached also an advertisement for a postdoctoral fellowhship at the University of the Free State (South Africa) with a focus on toponymy.


At this occasion I would also like to hint you at our Commission’s events in 2023:


(1)   IGU Thematic Conference ”The Ocean and Seas in Geographical Thought”, Milan [Milano] (Italy), University of Milano-Bicocca, 6-8 June 2023: Our Commission is co-organizing this conferences and has submitted a proposal for a session titled “Names and naming of oceans and seas as a specific and politically delicate issue”. The call for papers starts 21 November 2022 and ends 9 January 2023. You are also free to submit additional session proposals up to 21 October. For details see the conference website

(2)  Names and naming of oceans and seas as a specific and politically delicate issue

(3)   Session presenters: Cosimo Palagiano (Sapienza Università di Roma), Peter Jordan (Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of the Free State), both members (co-chairs) of the Joint I CA/IGU Commission on Toponymy


Names and naming of oceans and seas are specific for at least four reasons: (1) They refer to unpopulated features. (2) They refer to usually large features, some of which have for this very reason (3) been perceived as geographical entities only rather late in the age of discoveries, through the development of sciences, especially of a geographical world view and its cartographic representation. (4) They only exceptionally refer to features under a single sovereignty and are thus exposed to political conflict. Names of oceans and seas are therefore a mixture of some having emerged from local use and others applied from the outside. Dual and even multiple naming in the narrower sense (not confined to translations) from different coasts is not an exception. Due to the symbolic power of place names in general, names of oceans and seas are sometimes understood as political claims causing conflict. An international authority, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), is in charge of standardizing maritime names for the purpose of international navigation and charts but cannot prevent deviating use in the media and education. The session will be open for papers on all these issues starting from the history of naming across the practical and emotional relation of coastal dwellers to ‘their’ sea as reflected by naming, the question of whether toponomastic terminology applicable to names for features on land (like ‘endonym’ and ‘exonym’) is completely transferable to maritime features or whether additional terms like ‘international name’ or ‘thalassonym’ are needed. The session is to cover also the specific problems of standardizing maritime names as well as name conflicts and their character as indicators of deeper political conflicts, of which names are just the symbolic surface. The session will very likely show that geographical names are also in the case of names of oceans and seas points of convergence of many geographical perspectives.

(2) 31st International Cartographic Conference (ICC), Cape Town/Kaapstad/ iKapa (South Africa), 13-18 August 2023, with toponymy as one of the conference themes. Our Commission will organize a toponymic session with a focus on toponymy in cartography. Abstracts are due by 5/12 December 2022. For details see the conference website We were also invited to organize a pre-conference workshop but are still considering the topic. All ideas are welcome.

Important dates:

5 December 2022: Submission of full papers closes
12 December 2022: Submission of abstracts closes
February 2023: Conference registration opens
28 February 2023: Notification of acceptance
8 May 2023: Submission of revised abstracts and papers
15 May 2023: Early Bird registration closes

15 May 2023: Registration deadline for presenters of abstracts, papers and posters

(3) International Symposium on Place Names (ISPN 2023), Bloemfontein (South Africa), 25-29 September 2023, organized by the University of the Free State in cooperation with our Commission with the general theme “The presence of minority and indigenous languages in urban naming” and subthemes like (a) The rate of change of urban names, and the implications thereof, (b) National and municipal regulations regarding urban naming, (c) Best practices in urban naming, (d) In what way are the presence of minority and indigenous languages important in the namescape? (e) For whom is it important to have their names in the public space? Keynotes will be presented by Thapelo Otlogestwe (Botswana) und Phil Matthews (New Zealand). Abstracts are due by 10 March 2023. A pre-conference workshop on “Management of toponymic files” will try to answer the questions how to store toponymic data, what aspects and variables are useful and necessary to include, and how to disseminate data (e.g., online databases, dictionaries, etc.)?


(4) Conference “Literary, polar and extraterrestrial place names”, Rome [Roma] (Italy), 23-24 November 2023, organized by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in cooperation with our Commission. A call for papers will be disseminated in May 2023.


It is also our great pleasure to announce that the proceedings of the virtual SIPAT Conference 2021 in Rio de Janeiro are now available also in English translation under (ISBN: 978-65-00-52999-9). Thanks to our Brazilian colleagues and financial support by ICA and IGU this could be made possible.

With kind regards

Peter [Jordan]

Oct 19, 2022 | Posted by in News and Events | 0 comments
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