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URPP Language and Space


Key Information

Dates of the conference:

September 9-11, 2024


The submission for 2024 is closed.


University of Zurich, RAA, Rämistrasse 59

Conference dinner:

September 9, 2024

Call for Papers

Landscapes are essential for people’s physical and psychological well-being. Conceptually, landscapes extend on a continuum between space – the largest and most abstract geographical notion – and place – a sub-unit of space, which humans create through experience and invest with meaning and objectives (Tuan, 1977). Interactions between humans and landscapes are manifold (Fagerholm et al., 2020): Not only do humans shape landscapes in their daily activities to provide for a living, but they also relate to landscapes as an integral part of their identity, which is expressed in the notion sense of place (Collins-Kreiner & Kliot, 2017; Derr, 2002). Therefore, the notion of landscape is relevant well beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries of geography. 

For example, research on language and landscape has been carried out from anthropological, philosophical and cognitive psychological perspectives to reveal relations of landscape elements – often regarded as universally perceivable natural elements – and culturally dependent conceptual structure as embedded in language (Burenhult & Levinson, 2008). Landscape ontology has described conceptual divergence of landscape categories such as forest between typologically different and closely related languages (Bromhead, 2017; Mark & Turk, 2003). From a political perspective, processes of categorisation and framing of landscape are essential for successful implementation of and communication about sustainability measures (Lakoff, 2010).  

Within the scope of ILANSCO, we refer to landscape as a dynamic space perceived as having features making it representative from an ecological, historical, cultural, social and/or other points of view (compare Förster et al., 2012; Tuan, 1975). Consequentially, not only landscapes themselves, but more precisely their conceptualisation, linguistic expression and social meaning are subject to change. For conservationist aims, it is essential to document and to keep track of these multidimensional dynamics.  

The following research questions are addressed by ILANSCO: 

  • How do people from diverse backgrounds think, talk about and interact with landscapes?  
  • In what ways does linguistic structure influence and/or reflect conceptualisations of landscapes? (relativist vs. universalist perspective)  
  • How do societal dynamics (e.g. migration) affect the way in which people relate to landscapes?   
  • What role do political and ideological attitudes play in landscape conceptualisations?  
  • What are possible implications for sustainable landscape management?

To tackle these and related questions, we invite for original, interdisciplinary contributions from researchers working in the domains of linguistics, cognitive science, sociology, migration studies, political science, communication studies, human geography, GIS, history (of science/ideas), literary studies and cognate fields. We welcome contributions using applied, theoretical, quantitative, qualitative, experimental and computational approaches. Especially, we encourage contributions from early career researchers and presentations of ongoing and unpublished research.

The organizing team is planning a publication after the conference. Details will follow in late 2024.

Submissions to ILANSCO can address but are not limited to the following topics (examples in brackets):

  • Conceptualisation, metaphorisation and framing of landscape (Burenhult & Levinson, 2008; Lakoff, 2010; Stibbe, 2020)  
  • Meaning of landscapes and/or landscape elements for different speaker communities/social groups (Bromhead, 2017; Burenhult et al., 2017; Purves et al., 2023; Van Putten et al., 2020; Wartmann & Purves, 2018)  
  • Migration, landscape(s), national and linguistic borders (Dollimore & Jordan, 2021; Bazrafshan et al., 2023)  
  • Corpus linguistic approaches to landscapes (Purves et al., 2022)  
  • (Critical approaches to) toponomastics (Berg & Vuolteenaho, 2009; Dahamshe, 2021)  
  • Landscape narratives, ideologies and nationalism (Amit-Cohen, 2008; Braverman, 2009; Long, 2009; Zakim, 2006)  
  • Literary study approaches to landscape and sustainability (Berberich, 2016; Mianowski, 2012; Niblett, 2020; Siddall, 2009; Weinstein, 2015; Zapf, 2016)  
  • Landscape conservation policies and sustainability (Burenhult, 2023) 

How to apply:

The submission for 2024 is closed.

Scientific committee:

Cristiana Lucchetti

Sara Racca

Philipp Striedl

Aleksej Tikhonov


Here is a reference list for interdisciplinary work on landscapes, curated by the ILANSCO-Team: Reference list (PDF, 90 KB)


Participation in the conference is free of charge.

The registration for dinner closes on August 26, 2024 and for the other days on
September 6, 2024.
Please register to attend the conference and/or the conference dinner: HERE





Niclas Burenhult (Lund University)

“Language and landscape – what’s next?”



Claudia Keller (University of Zurich)

“Between Aesthetics and Ecology – Considerations on a New Concept of Landscape in the Biodiversity Crisis”



Přemysl Mácha (Czech Academy of Sciences)

“The Emotional Geography of Home: Place Names, Identity, and Landscape Perception in a Multilingual Czech-Polish Region”




Daniela Francesca Virdis (University of Cagliari)

“Ecostylistic Approaches to Landscapes: Between Theory and Practice”


Preliminary conference program: HERE (PDF, 281 KB)

Weiterführende Informationen

UZH WiFi for guests

Information: Link

Activities in Zurich and nearby

On the Zurich Tourism Website you can find suggestions for activities in Zurich and nearby, for example:

Top 10 Places to Visit in Zurich

Zurich in One Day

The Most Beautiful Views in Zurich

Excursions and Day Trips from Zurich