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  • Time for Geographers

     Versión en castellano con ese link.
     
    The centenary of the IGU is an opportunity to meet in Paris around the theme "Time for Geographers". 

    Geography, a science in action, has a rich history behind it, and a renewed importance for the present and the future society. 

    We propose to examine at this centenary Congress the main trends in the evolution of the geographical discipline and the different perspectives that are opening up to it: in international and interdisciplinary cooperation between researchers, its role in the understanding and betterment of the world, its place in the social and natural sciences, but also its relevance for decision-makers and the training of young people and citizens around the world.

    The times for geography are accelerating with such worldwide changes as globalisation, advances in international transport and communication technologies, and increasing global environmental constraints and disasters. International conferences and symposia provide an opportunity, more easily than in the past, to meet with colleagues from various backgrounds and to discuss various approaches to geography in a friendly atmosphere. However, these times for geography remain differentiated from one country to another, as some advanced technologies used widely in geography are still difficult to access in some countries. Some innovative themes, particularly in social geography, remain for the moment limited to specific cultural areas. 

    The emergency health context related to COVID-19 is also a reminder of the brutality with which some disruptions can occur. It seems to have accelerated certain processes and prompted a re-examination of the parameters and dynamics of globalisation. The scientific paradigms of a few countries dominate research, as can be seen in the academic journals published by some powerful publishing groups from the Anglo-American world. How can themes specific to other regions or countries be raised and disseminated in the international scientific discourse? The linguistic and thematic diversity of research seems to be diminishing over time even as the volume of publications expands: is this an inevitable evolution? This is undoubtedly one of the challenges for the geography of the future in a world where the continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America represent a growing share of the planet's population and of the number of researchers.

    The theme "Time for Geographers" invites us to question the links between the spatial and temporal dimensions of the living environment of humans and non-humans. It allows us to confront instant and duration, ephemeral and permanent, temporality and timelessness, uniqueness and repetition, rapidity and slowness, mobility and immobility, cycles and renewal, mortality and immortality, revolutions and stagnation, dynamics and resistance, crisis and resilience, stability and instability, biostasis and rhexistasis, youth and old age, heritage and prospective, spatial and temporal scales, geography and the society.

    All fields of geography will find subjects for debate, both theoretically and methodologically: 

     In geomorphology (long time of the continents, short time of earthquakes and landslides, geomorphological heritage); 
     In climatology (global climate change and variability, meteorological extremes, temporal variations in rainfall, El Niño cycles);
     In hydrology (flash floods, slow floods, rhythms…);
     In the geography of risks (prevention, reactivity, emergency management, physical and human resilience);
     In demography and geography of populations (demographic transition, population growth and migration); 
     In transport geography (travel time, intermodality and interconnection times);
     Political geography (stability or evolution of borders, geopolitical reconfigurations);
     Historical geography (the longtime of geography, events);
     Urban geography (urban transition, urban renewal, planning);
     Social geography (spatiotemporal dynamics of exclusion, gender and rhythms of life, perceptions and experience of space at different ages of life);
     Cultural geography (heritage, places of the ephemeral and of events, geography of the night), etc...  
    There are many more…..
     
    This theme of time makes it possible to integrate and revisit "time geography", the geography of rhythms and diffusion models, dynamic cartography, reflection on sustainable development. Linear time has lived.

    The correspondence between space and time, associating, for example, living spaces, their scales and specific durations (minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries and millennia) is being called into question by the increasing mobility of populations, work migrations, professional travel by train or plane, the immediacy of communications, the emergence of virtual spaces and communities (cyberspace, social networks). If the extent and structure of spatial systems are traditionally correlated to the duration of their existence (Chinese civilisation, the Judeo-Christian world, urban hierarchies, intensive rice-growing systems), this coupling is imperfect, new polarities and new centralities in the networks appear in unexpected places with the rise of air transport (for example, Dubai). Journey times are more important than the kilometres to be covered and modify people's perception of space. Brussels is an hour and a half from Paris by rapid train, Hong Kong two hours from Manila by plane. We no longer cross the United States in 5 months, 5 weeks or 5 days, but in 5 hours. Space seems to shrink, unevenly, with time.

    Let us, together, turn this geographical moment in the summer of 2022 into a memorable stage in world geography, and reaffirm the relevance of the geographical approach for the society of our time and future!
     
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