The Royal Geographical Society was the beautiful surrounding for the 16th International Conference of Historical Geographers that took place from 5th to the 10th of July. The conference takes place every 3 years and brings together historical geographers from around the globe. This year’s conference brought together over 700 delegates from far flung countries, including Argentina, Brazil, China Japan, Tiawan, and many others. With up to 12 parallel sessions occurring at any given time, the conference provided many engaging topics ranging the whole discipline of historical geography.
There were several fascinating plenary papers such as Catherine Hall from University College London who discussed Rethinking Slavery and Freedom, Simon Schaffer who presented on Astronomy at the Imperial Meridian: The colonial production of hybrid spaces, and Alan Baker from Cambridge who discussed Historical Geography as an International Discipline. The conference also coincided with the first British Academy’s Geography Lecture which was presented by William Cronon from Wisconsin on Who reads Geography or History anymore? The challenge of audience in a digital age.
At the conference there were 2 papers presented by members of TCD Geography. In the session ‘Managing the landscape: early modern to modern’ Rachel Byrne presented her paper Philanthropic and state-sponsored tree planting initiatives in Ireland, 1740 to 1910: a comparison which discussed the interactions and impact of state initiatives to encourage tree planting in the Irish landscape and the influence of philanthropic initiatives in the form of the RDS. In the ‘Legacies of Empire’ session Kevin Lougheed presented his paper National Education and the state: Ireland in the Empire which discussed the rationale and impact that the creation of a state education system had in Ireland and how that influenced the spread of state education in the British Empire, with colonies in Canada and Australia replicating the Irish system and using Irish textbooks.
Authored by Kevin Lougheed, TCD Geography