50 Years AKO

In September 1967, the United Nations convened its first conference on the standardization of geographical names in Geneva. National name standardisation, which was to form the basis for international name standardisation, played a major role in the negotiations. Subsequently Josef Breu, who had been proposed by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and took part as Austria’s representative made efforts to establish a national name standardisation board in Austria. It was agreed that it would be best to make use of the existing framework of the Austrian Cartographic Commission in the Austrian Geographical Society. In 1969, with the approval of the Geographical Society, the so-called Abteilung für Kartographische Ortsnamenkunde (AKO) – in 1994 renamed to Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kartographische Ortsnamenkunde  in der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft und in Verbindung mit der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften – was established.

To celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the foundation of AKO we are happy to invite to the following symposium:

GeoNames19 Symposion

“Place Names and Migration”

Vienna [Wien], 6-8 November 2019

Migration is a global and all-time phenomenon. Ever since humankind exists, people were migrating – individually or in groups. Concerning place names people can migrate to rather scarcely named areas but also to areas that have a densely and established namescape. Especially in the latter case it is interesting to look on how people – often with a different linguistic and cultural background – deal with the situation. Recent research shows that place names are clearly connected to personal and group identity. But research on how exactly migrants use, adapt and maybe change place names is a desideratum.

Related to place names, this prompts a number of delicate questions: How do migrants deal with place names? Do they accept the place names they find? Do they adapt them to their own language by translation, morphological or phonetic adaptation? Do they create new names of their own for already named places? And how do long-term residents of the place react to these attitudes?

Some of these questions get addressed already in traditional fields of onomastics. Additionally recent fields of study like “critical onomastics” and “colonial onomastics” give a new view on the same questions. The symposium intends to highlight in this respect various historical situations as well as recent migration events in all parts of the world.

Subthemes (with no claim to be exhaustive):

  • Place-name use in historical situations of migration
  • Place-name use in recent situations of migration
  • Reactions of long-term residents to the place-name use by migrants
  • Attempts (by migrants or the resident community) of integrating migrant place names into the official namescape
  • Place-name use of migrants by feature categories
  • Place-name use by kinds of migration
  • Transfer of place names from the former home to the new place
  • Use of exonyms of the local community by migrants

No participation fee is requested.

Symposion language: English

A second circular after the registration deadline as of 30 March 2019 will inform you about the preliminary program and provide you with some travel information. Please, mind that accommodation in Vienna is your own responsibility and early reservation is recommendable.

Venue:  Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen (Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying), Schiffamtsgasse 1-3, 1020 Vienna