"Use of place names in public space" Session by ICA/IGU Commission on Toponymy

Dear colleagues,

The International Geographical Union (IGU) organizes 4-6 June 2018 in Moscow [Moskva] a Thematic Conference on “Practical Geography and XXI Century Challenges” (http://www.igras.ru/100igras/en/), which will also be dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - the largest and oldest geographical research organization in Russia.

In accordance with the general theme of the conference, our Joint ICA/IGU Commission on Toponymy invites you to a session titled “Use of place names in public space”. The session will analyze the use of place names (toponyms) on signposts in front of populated places, on street signs, (official) buildings, traffic signposts along roads and motorways, railway stations and airports in different countries and different parts of the world. More specific questions in this context are:
· Are endonyms or exonyms preferred?
· To which extent are minority names respected?
· Are versions in other scripts offered?

Based on these empirical findings the session could proceed also to questions like:
· What is the rationale behind these various usages?
· What does this handling with place names in public space mean for the reader, for the local population, for visitors and tourists?
· What do place-name changes mean for name use?
· What does the use or non-use of official place names tell us about space-related attitudes of the inhabitants?
· Are there other (non-official) names in parallel use?
· How do place names in public space, e.g. street names, become official?
· Who is involved in the decision? Is it a top-down or a bottom-up process?
· What do place names in public space tell us about political disposition and attitudes of the given society?

Please, register for the conference and submit your abstract by 15 January 2018 via the conference website (http://www.igras.ru/100igras/en/). You will also find all specifications (length of the abstract etc.) there.

We are looking forward to a scientifically rewarding session covering various aspects of our topic.

I use this opportunity to thank you all for your dedicated work in the field of toponomastics and especially your contributions to our Commission in this year and wish you – in the names of our IGU Commission Chair Cosimo Palagiano and our Common Vice-chair Paulo de Menezes a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

With kind regards
Peter Jordan (ICA Commission Chair)