New Wave 2017
For the ninth consecutive year, Charles University hosted in Prague on 25th and 26th May the International and Early Career Conference NEW WAWE. The conference was organized by the Ph.D. students of the Geographical Institute, Faculty of Science. During these two days, more than 40 speakers, most of them coming from Czechia and Slovakia (but there was also a small foreign minority composed of Italian, Chinese, Croatian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Brazilian students), were invited to present their field researchers in human geography regarding a wide range of topics. Panels were split into two parallel sessions in which you could choose to listen to presentations regarding geographies of sexuality, migration studies, urban issues and even more.
After greeting and welcome speeches from the organizers and the representatives of the Charles University and other institutions which supported the event, the conference was inaugurated by the lecture of Mona Domosh from Dartmouth Colleague presenting an interesting archive research: “From the US South to the Global South: Practicing Development at Home”. Exploring the archives of three different states, she showed how the US policy tried to domesticate the agricultural practices of African American people in the American South in the first decades of 20th century. She focused especially on practices and techniques that were after World War II exported to the other south of the world.
This keynote opened the way to the first parallel session of the day devoted respectively to the “urban processes and transformations” and to the “poetics of place: perception and experience”. In the first one, each speaker presented a peculiar case study: the city of Istanbul, as well as a comparative research of San Paolo and Lisbon as well as Korea and Singapore, were explored through the lens of urban studies. In a parallel session, speakers dealt with the thorny topic of the relationship and the shift between imaginary and experience of spaces, analyzing how these two elements contribute to shaping the perception of places among people.
Lunch break came as an occasion for the participants to meet and to discuss all the issues arisen after this intense morning. Afterward, the conference restarted with the two parallel sessions: “migration in places and politics” in which the migratory topic was explored by a cartographic, a linguistic and a political perspective; and “geographies of human body”, a session questioning and analyzing the relationship between space, gender, and religion.
The following two sessions “migration in families” and “(re)interpretation of the past, closed the “formal” part of the day: in room Levá Rýsovna speakers were involved in a crucial topic for the contemporaneity: the impact of the migratory event in the families involved and, more broadly, in the society. Meanwhile, in room Věž, the core of the discussion was the relationship between past, heritage, and memory, focusing how these elements still contribute to shaping current spaces and discourses.
After these engaging and meaningful hours, the “informal” part of the day could start with a field trip to the underground complex of Casemates and Gorlice in Vyšehrad Castle and in the gardens surrounding the fortress: group pictures taken as tradition would demand! Then, participants met for an informal and a very pleasant dinner, made of traditional dishes and tons of beer.
After a more than deserved sleep, participants met again the second day, welcomed by a warm and sunny morning and faced with new very interesting topics to be discussed.
The keynote was given by Bálint Kádár (University of Budapest) exploring the urban tourist consumption in Budapest, Vienna, and Prague through an appealing and nonetheless critical visual and cinematic story-telling. He opened the floor to the first two thematic sessions of the day, focusing respectively on the “development of small cities” and on “the future of tourism in different places”. Both chairs were very competent in finding the contact points between the various presentations, profoundly diverse in the adopted case studies, methodologies and theoretical framework, by inviting charismatically the public to pose questions and trigger small debates.
After lunch, it was very interesting to attend the Marcel Horňák’s lecture (University of Bratislava) who introduced a new topic of discussion: how the sometimes perceived arid, quantitative, and technical “transport studies” are instrumental in understanding and illuminating the social exclusions experienced in the city.
The second part of the afternoon has then been devoted to the poster session, where young Master and Ph.D. students from different parts of the world (Brazil, Japan, Czechia and others) engaged their colleagues in multisensorial activities, since they should participate both in the listening of their interesting research and in the equally serious task of eating tasteful cakes.
The ‘hot’ topic of social exclusion has not been forgotten anyway, and the last session hosted around four papers on “social exclusions and pathological phenomenon” in the room Věž, while the other room, Levá Rýsovna, saw other young researchers involved in the theme of “national and transnational geographies”.
The conference was closed by a wine tasting and a conclusive getting together, reminding all participants how is important to share not only knowledge but also desires, doubts and hopes, smiles and obstacles faced outside and inside the university, in a moment of huge crises and problematics that, now more than ever, need the composed alliance of our critical thinking and action.
Francesca Genduso and Laura Lo Presti, the University of Palermo
(edited by organizing committee)
The conference was organized with the financial support of Specific university research project SVV no. 260425.
We look forward to seeing you in Prague next year!
PhD students of the Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Faculty of Science, Charles University
(Geography of Leisure Research Center)
(Trasport Geography Research Center)
(The Research Centre for Cultural and Historical Geography)
(The Research Centre for Cultural and Historical Geography)