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The 'international' in geography: concepts, actors, challenges

posted on 03.05.2022, 12:48 by Heike JonsHeike Jons
This chapter critically interrogates the notion of the 'international' in the discipline of geography. Drawing on interdisciplinary conceptual debates about internationalisation strategies in higher education, the analysis compares the geographical reach of the four International Geographical Congresses (IGCs) in Paris 1984, Sydney 1988, Cologne 2012, and Beijing 2016. This chapter shows that between the last decade of the Cold War and the greater geopolitical multiverse in the first decade of the 21st century, geographical knowledge production and exchange not only diversified and decentralised on a global scale but also experienced a profound shift from a distinct Anglo-American internationalism towards a more complex multicultural internationalism. Consequently, I argue that the international nature of geographical knowledge production and exchange is relational because international conference experiences vary by the geopolitical, socioeconomic, cultural, linguistic, and academic positionality of the event and its participants. Policy-relevant conclusions highlight the great value of the IGCs for facilitating international experiences for growing numbers of attendees from the events’ host countries; they stress the important politics of choosing host cities in different world regions and offering flexible conference delivery formats and registration options; and they call for a greater emphasis on the development of intercultural skills to achieve more equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in geography.



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

A Geographical Century: Essays for the Centenary of the International Geographical Union




AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This book chapter was accepted for publication in the book A Geographical Century: Essays for the Centenary of the International Geographical Union [© insert copyright holder]. The definitive published version is available at [insert link].






Vladimir Kolosov; Jacobo Garcïa-ïlvarez; Michael Heffernan; Bruno Schelhaas


Prof Heike Jons. Deposit date: 30 April 2022