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  • Call for Papers

Climate Change in Coastal Cities: Centring the Voices of Urban Residents in Asia and Africa

15 November 2020

This Call for Papers is for an institutional panel of the IIAS-Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA), to be held at the 12th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 12), Kyoto, Japan, 24-27 August 2021.

Climate, political economy and society

The notions of adaptation, mitigation, resilience and vulnerability through which climate change is commonly approached in public policy and discourse are predicated on the positioning of the climate as something outside of society—an external threat that can be addressed through policies and practices that maintain the underlying status quo.  

However, this view is increasingly being challenged by scholars working in the humanities and social sciences. Building on an older tradition of inquiry which has disputed the notion of 'natural' disasters (Davis, Mike. 2000. Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World. London: Verso.), scholars working in the fields of political ecology and critical urban studies have demonstrated the fundamentally entangled social, spatial and meteorological factors that 'co-produce' the weather. (Moore, Jason W. 2016. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London: Verso; and Taylor, Marcus. 2015. The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation: Livelihoods, Agrarian Change and the Conflicts of Development. London: Routledge/Earthscan.)

Panel objectives and target group

The goal of this IIAS-Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) panel is to foreground everyday urban practices as a source of knowledge and action in relation to the climate. What do the narratives and activities of city residents reveal about how the climate is changing? How are shifting climatic conditions conceptualized, experienced, addressed or ignored on the ground? How is a sense of vulnerability or resilience in relation to the weather perceived at the level of the household, street or neighbourhood? And how might urban lived experience be mobilized to produce more inclusive and sustainable urban planning strategies?

The panel will address these questions and more from the perspective of residents of coastal cities in Asia and Africa. Coastal cities, which house ever-growing numbers of people in both continents, are widely recognized as being particularly vulnerable to rising waters and extreme weather events.

In addition to bringing together leading scholars studying how coastal urban residents are thinking about, living alongside and coping with the weather, we seek to address the northern bias that continues to dominate studies of climate change by giving priority to academics based at research institutes in Asia and Africa. Creating a space for dialogue between those working on urban coastal climate change around the world, the goal is to build a transnational and interdisciplinary network of scholars, committed to multi-centring knowledge production in this field.

ICAS-12 in Kyoto, Japan

This panel will be a one-day event that will take place during the International Convention of Asia Scholars​​​​​​​ (ICAS) in Kyoto, Japan, to be hosted by Kyoto Seika University (SEIKA) and scheduled for 24-27 August 2021. (Note: the specific date in this panel will be communicated once the final convention program has been published).

Panel paper presenters and participants may join the event in person, in Kyoto, and there will also be possibilities for online participation.

Concept note
For more detailed information about the symposium objectives and scope, download the concept note (pdf) for this event.
For more information about ICAS-12, visit: www.icas.asia

Application procedures and contributions

Interested scholars and practitioners should submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, as well as a short biography of no more than 200 words by 15 November 2020, using the online application form. 

Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by early January 2021. Following the acceptance of their abstracts, authors should be prepared to submit a draft final paper to the symposium organizers by 15 July 2021.

Applicants should indicate whether they wish to join the event in person at ICAS-12 in Kyoto or prefer to participate online. Limited travel grants will be available for selected paper presenters who are planning to join the panel in person.

Following the symposium, the organizers will select the best final papers for publication in a special journal issue or edited volume.  In addition to papers, the organizers also welcome multi-media contributions including video, film, photography and art, either on their own or in combination with a paper.

Papers should address a coastal city in Asia or Africa or discuss Asian and African cities in comparative perspective.


For further information and questions, please contact Ms Xiaolan Lin of the UKNA Secretariat at IIAS, at x.lin@iias.nl