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URPP Language and Space


Key Information

Dates of the conference:

September 9-11, 2024


Application: April 1, 2024


University of Zurich

Conference dinner:

September 10, 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:

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words excluding title and references; they should mention three to five keywords. Submissions should provide information on the topic, data, methodology, and theoretical framework(s) of the contribution and clearly state their interdisciplinary character and/or relevance beyond their main discipline. All submissions will be assessed in anonymised, peer-reviewed form. Each paper will have a 20-minute slot for presentation, followed by a 10-minute discussion. 

Abstracts should be submitted as anonymized PDF files (including only: title of the talk, abstract text, references) to the following email address: 

Deadline for submission is April 1, 2024.

Scientific committee:

Cristiana Lucchetti

Sara Racca

Philipp Striedl

Aleksej Tikhonov


Amit-Cohen, I. (2008) Contested Landscape and the Spirit of Place, the Case of Olive Trees and Urban Neighborhood in Israel. Journal for Geography, 4(1), 147-162.  

Bazrafshan, M., Spielhofer, R., Wissen Hayek, U., Kienast, F., & Grêt-Regamey, A. (2023) Greater place attachment to urban parks enhances relaxation: Examining affective and cognitive responses of locals and bi-cultural migrants to virtual park visits. Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 232.  

Berberich, C. (2016) Affective Landscapes in Literature, Art and Everyday Life: Memory, Place and the Senses. London: Routledge.  

Berg, L. & Vuolteenaho, J. (Eds.) (2009) Critical Toponymies: The Contested Politics of Place Naming. Ashgate: Aldershot.  

Braverman, I. (2009) Planting the promised landscape: Zionism, nature, and resistance in Israel/Palestine. Nat. Resources J., 49, 317.  

Bromhead, H. (2017) The semantics of standing-water places in English, French, and Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara. The semantics of nouns, 180–204.  

Burenhult, N. (2023) Sustainability and Semantic Diversity: A View from the Malayan Rainforest. Topics in Cognitive Science.  

Burenhult, N., Hill, C., Huber, J., van Putten, S., Rybka, K., & San Roque, L. (2017) Forests: The cross-linguistic perspective. Geographica Helvetica, 72(4), 455–464.  

Burenhult, N., & Levinson, S. C. (2008). Language and landscape: A cross-linguistic perspective. Language Sciences, 30(2–3), 135–150.  

Collins-Kreiner, N., & Kliot, N. (2017). Why do people hike? Hiking the Israel national trail. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 108(5), 669–687.  

Dahamshe, A. (2021). Palestinian Arabic versus Israeli Hebrew Place-Names: Comparative Cultural Reading of Landscape Nomenclature and Israeli Renaming Strategies. Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies, 20(1), 62–82.  

Derr, V. (2002). Children’s sense of place in northern New Mexico. Journal of environmental psychology, 22(1–2), 125–137.  

Dollimore, A. & Jordan, P. (Eds.) (2021) Place Names and Migration. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovač.  

Fagerholm, N., Martín-López, B., Torralba, M., Oteros-Rozas, E., Lechner, A. M., Bieling, C., Stahl Olafsson, A., Albert, C., Raymond, C. M., Garcia-Martin, M., & others. (2020). Perceived contributions of multifunctional landscapes to human well-being: Evidence from 13 European sites. People and Nature, 2(1), 217–234.  

Förster, F., Großmann, R., Iwe, K., Kinkel, H., Larsen, A., Lungershausen, U., Matarese, C., Meurer, P., Nelle, O., Robin, V. and Teichmann, M. (2012). What is Landscape? Towards a Common Concept within an Interdisciplinary Research Environment. Landscape Archaeology Conference (LAC 2012), eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies, Special Volume 3 (2012), 169–179.  

Lakoff, G. (2010). Why it matters how we frame the environment. Environmental communication, 4(1), 70–81.  

Long, J. C. (2009). Rooting diaspora, reviving nation: Zionist landscapes of Palestine–Israel. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 34(1), 61–77.  

Mark, D. M., & Turk, A. G. (2003). Landscape Categories in Yindjibarndi: Ontology, Environment, and Language. In W. Kuhn, M. F. Worboys, & S. Timpf (Hrsg.), Spatial Information Theory. Foundations of Geographic Information Science (S. 28–45). Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer.  

Mark, D. M., Turk, A. G., Burenhult, N., & Stea, D. (2011). Landscape in language: Transdisciplinary perspectives (Bd. 4). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.  

Mianowski, M. (2012) Irish Contemporary Landscapes in Literature and the Arts. 1st ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK  

Niblett, M. (2020) World Literature and Ecology: The Aesthetics of Commodity Frontiers, 1890-1950. New Comparisons in World Literature. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.  

Nomachi, M. and Kamusella, T. (2024) Languages and Nationalism Instead of Empires. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.  

Purves, R. S., Koblet, O., & Adams, B. (2022). Unlocking Environmental Narratives: Towards Understanding Human Environment Interactions through Computational Text Analysis. ubiquity press.   

Purves, R. S., Striedl, P., Kong, I., & Majid, A. (2023). Conceptualizing Landscapes Through Language: The Role of Native Language and Expertise in the Representation of Waterbody Related Terms. Topics in Cognitive Science.  

Siddall, S. (2009) Landscape and Literature. Cambridge Contexts in Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

Stibbe, A. (2020). Ecolinguistics: Language, ecology and the stories we live by. London and New York: Routledge.  

Tuan, Y. (1975) Place: An Experiential Perspective. Geographical Review, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 1975), 151–165   

Tuan, Y. (1977) Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.  

Van Putten, S., O’Meara, C., Wartmann, F., Yager, J., Villette, J., Mazzuca, C., Bieling, C., Burenhult, N., Purves, R., & Majid, A. (2020). Conceptualisations of landscape differ across European languages. Plos one, 15(10), e0239858.  

Wartmann, F. M., & Purves, R. S. (2018). ‘This is not the jungle, this is my barbecho’: Semantics of ethnoecological landscape categories in the Bolivian Amazon. Landscape Research, 43(1), 77–94.    

Weinstein, J. A. (2015) Humility, from the Ground Up: A Radical Approach to Literature and Ecology. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 22, no. 4 (2015): 759–77.  

Zakim, E. (2006). To Build and Be Built: Landscape, Literature, and the Construction of Zionist Identity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.  

Zapf, H. (2016) Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts. 1st ed. Environmental Cultures. London: Bloomsbury Academic.


Participation in the conference is free of charge.  
Please register to attend the conference and/or the conference dinner. Registration will open in Spring-Summer 2024.





Niclas Burenhult (Lund)


Claudia Keller (Zürich)


Přemysl Mácha (Prague)


Daniela Francesca Virdis (Cagliari) 


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