Winged Geographies will address the question of our evolving spatial relationships with bird life. The presence of birds and their song has long shaped human experience and conceptualisation of the skies, the countryside as well as urban and domestic environments.
Birds have been collected, traded and re-contextualised across territories. Their migrations have inspired new kinds of human connections, both psychic and physical. How have birds been part of human efforts to make sense of terrestrial and avian spaces and places? Such a question implicates all kinds of actors: gardeners, scholars, pilots, naturalists, children, writers and philosophers. Aristophanes’ play The Birds saw two frustrated Athenians join with the birds to build a utopian city in the clouds, a new republic where ‘Wisdom, Grace and Love pervade the scene’. Steven Feld’s work with the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea showed that the avian voices heard in the forest defined an entire cultural and spiritual realm. Today, birds increasingly draw attention as indicators of environmental crisis. In the Anthropocene, are the much-loved imaginative and metaphorical readings of bird life still culturally productive or dangerously retrograde?
We encourage papers of all kinds but you may want to consider these themes:
Flight and space: seeing with the eyes of a bird, escape from terrestrial boundaries, aviation
Soundscape: bird song and calls in defining spaces and places
Shared space: habitats and landscapes of co-existence and extinction
Proximity: birds in captivity, birds in the home and garden
Mobility and borders: trading, watching, mapping, territory and identity
Imaginative avian geographies: ideas from art, literature and music.
International scholars from geography, history, animal studies, anthropology, ornithology, environmental humanities, STS and cultural studies are encouraged to participate, although all disciplines are welcomed.
There will be some financial support for travel for PhD students and early career scholars.
The aim of the workshop is to facilitate the development of papers for an edited collection or a special journal edition.
Abstracts of 250 words
should be submitted by 8 November
2019 via the workshop submission page:
Or simply click the button 'SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT"
Rachel Mundy specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies. Her research shows how music has been used to navigate changing boundaries between race, species, and culture in the twentieth century.
Dolly is most interested in how human technologies shape the world around us and how we come to understand what is "natural" and what is not, what is acceptable environmental behavior and what is not. Her research spans from medieval to contemporary environmental issues. Her primary areas of interest are human-animal relations, the urban environment, and environmental policymaking.