Warning! important communication on upcoming IGU / ICA Toponymy events from President Peter Jordan


Joint ICA/IGU Commission on Toponmy 

Co-chairs: Peter Jordan (ICA), Cosimo Palagiano (IGU)

Common vice-chair: Paulo de Menezes

Dear colleagues and friends,

Please receive further below information and calls on/for two important geographical events in 2021, in the framework of which our Joint ICA/IGU Commission on Toponymy organizes sessions: the 34th IGU Congress in Istanbul, 16-20 August, and the 8th EuGeo Congress in Prague, 28 June – 1 July. You are cordially invited to submit abstracts for both events – for the IGU Congress in addition to those already accepted for the event, if it would have taken place in 2020.

(1) 34th INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHICAL CONGRESS Geography: bridging the continents, Istanbul, Turkey, 16-20 August 2021, Congress website:  http://www.igc2020.org/en/


The Congress, due to be held in August 2020, was postponed to August 2021. Papers accepted in 2020 were transferred to the 2021 program.  Our Commisson organizes the following session:



Place names as indicators of human perception of space

From the perspective of geography, place names are not only explaining map symbols and cannot only serve as tools of orientation in the real world. They also tell us, how humans in various historical periods, of various cultures and in different parts of the world have perceived their environment, geographical space around them. By naming, to specify the point, they highlighted what looked important for them on the background of their culture and interests. Farmers, e.g., had a view on their environment different from herdsmen or seafarers, people in the mountains a view different from lowland dwellers, inhabitants of the temperate zones different from people in tropical regions. But even within a given society attitudes towards space and places reflecting themselves in the use of place names may vary by age groups, educational strata, gender and other aspects and thus shed a light on how people perceive their environment. Children, e.g., like to apply special names to features at places where they play. The spatial pattern of street names stored in the memory of persons can tell something about their range of activities and even about their political orientation, if they, e.g., maintain the already abandoned name commemorating a politician or a political event and refrain from using the new, now official name. Country names and names of regions and landscapes can tell something about how the name-givers as the (once) dominant group conceived themselves and this section of space. The use of exonyms reveals the network of external relations of a community and can indicate the process of globalization. Place names can thus be regarded as condensed narratives about name givers and name users. It is the intention of this session to explore this field in the historical (diachronic) as well as topical (synchronic) dimension, also under the aspect of globalization and localization.


The following papers had already been submitted and accepted for the event in 2020 and were transferred to the 2021 program:

Kanauija, Kriti (New Delhi): Reading toponyms as mental maps and intangible heritages: A case study of urban villages of Delhi                         

Jordan, Peter (Vienna): Place names as ‘condensed narratives’ about the geographical feature denoted and the name-giving community

Huang, Wenchuan (Taipeh): The spatial politics of toponymy. On the urban landscape of Hong Kong                                                                 

Włoskowicz, Wojciech (Cracow, Poland): The military purpose of a topographic map as a factor in cartographic name policy                               

Palagiano, Cosimo (Rome): Distinctive identities of place names

Herzen, Andrey (Moscow): Toponymic perception of a historic-geographical landscape

Mamvura, Zvinashe (Berlin): Place naming, place making, and human perception of place in the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields in eastern Zimbabwe during the period 2006-2008

Alasli, Malak (Budapest): Place names as expressıons of the perceptıon of space: ‘Fas’, the toponym for Morocco                              

Tsitsagi, Mariam; Makharadze, Ekaterine; Kekenadze, Valeriane (all Tbilisi): Gis-based spatial analysis of place names in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia

Choo, Sungjae (Seoul): Sustainability of human perception and place names

Geršič, Matjaž; Gašperič, Primož; Perko, Drago (Ljubljana): Choronyms as cartographic elements on old maps of Slovenian territory

Kang, Peter (Taipeh): The European place-naming on the island of Formosa (Taiwan): A comparison of the toponymic practices between the 17th and the 19th centuries

Pfukwa, Charles (Harare): Who owns Gaza? A study of the toponym Gaza in Zimbabwe and eastern southern Africa

Cahyono, Ari; Hartono, Hartono; Susilo, Bowo; Wirasanti, Niken (all Yogyakarta): Exploratory analysis of geographical names in Yogyakarta City concerning the implementation of Yogyakarta Special Province status

Jenjekwa, Vincent (Harare): The fading footprints of Enkeldoon: The erasure of colonial toponyms in Chivhu, Zimbabwe                      

lf you wish to submit an additional abstract, please, respect the following dates and attribute it to our session:

  • Deadline for abstract papers and posters submission: 11 January 2021
  • Notification of acceptance: 8 February 2021
  • Early bird registration deadline: 5 April 2021
  • Authors’ registration deadline: 5 April 2021
  • Regular registration – 06 April – 21 June 2021
  • Late & On-site registration – 22 June – 20 August 2021


(2) 8th EuGeo CONGRESSPrague, Czechia, 28 June -1 July 2021, Congress website:  https://www.eugeo2021.eu/


Our Commission organizes the following session:

Minority place-name standardization – A comparison of regulations and approaches in Europe

Related to the representation of minority place names in public space (on town signs, road signs etc.) and on maps exist various regulations in Europe. They differ by definition of the minority, by feature categories included (populated places, natural features etc.), by the administrative level where the decision is taken (national, province, district, commune level), by the share of minority population necessary for taking advantage of the regulation, by additional procedures necessary to effectuate the right on the name, by the choice between standard language and dialect name versions, by the kind of visual representation of the minority name, by comprehensiveness of the fields where the minority name has (in addition to the majority name) to be used (only on town signs, also on maps, in all kinds of communication), by the level of officiality of the minority name (as official as the majority name, supplementary official, just for information etc.) and certainly by several others. It would be scientifically rewarding to compare such regulations in the various countries of Europe on the background of ethnic and linguistic structures, historical and political developments, the political landscape, and external relations. It would also be interesting to learn, to which extent these regulations satisfy minorities and are accepted by majorities or whether they arouse even conflict. The call for this session will ask for papers authored by geographers and colleagues from related disciplines providing nation-wide surveys on this topic.


It is the intention to regard this session as a starting point for a platform on geographical research on places in the framework of EuGeo with two initial thematic focuses (1) minority place names, (2) place names in educational media and to aim as a first tangible result at book representing European minority situations related to place names: legal framework, actual practice, perception by minority and majority, historical and political backgrounds.


Abstract submission deadline: 31 January 2021. Please, submit your abstract directly at the Congress website https://www.eugeo2021.eu/ and attribute it to our session.



Wishing you, also in the name of my co-chair Cosimo Palagiano, all the best in these challenging times and a joyful festive season


I remain with kind regards

Peter Jordan

Dec 14, 2020 | Posted by in News and Events | 0 comments
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