Appels à contributions
Territory in the English-Speaking World

Territory in the English-Speaking World

Publié le par Perrine Coudurier (Source : Fanny Moghaddassi)

“Territory in the English-speaking world”
RANAM 56, to be published in June 2023
Please note that proposals (250 words) should be sent to  Gwen Cressman (, Fanny Moghaddassi ( and Jean-Jacques Chardin ( by March 1st and full papers by October 15, 2022. 

We welcome proposals from the humanities, social sciences and related disciplines on the following themes. We expect contributors to approach territory in practical and conceptual terms. 

…Tell me, my daughters, 
(Since now we shall divest us of both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state)
Which of you shall we say doth love us most.
                                   (King Lear, I,1)


King Lear’s test of filial obedience at the beginning of the play connects territory with ruling and organizing space into a geographic and political entity.

The notion of territory is generally admitted to articulate the concept of space with that of its appropriation by a community (the Latin word territorium links the idea of space to that of jurisdiction: Varron’s “Ager Romanus”, Lingua latina, V, §55, defines the territory that all Roman tribes owned in common). In Pour une géographie du pouvoir (1980) for instance, the French geographer Claude Raffestin states that territories are being generated from space through the actions of an actor who territorializes space. In French geographical historiography, a remarkable expansion of the use of the concept of territory since the 1980s has led to its acquiring a nearly hegemonic status in the field. The reasons for such success lie in the very broad definitions territory has received in Francophone contexts. Brunet and Théry for instance note that “The notion of territory always includes legal, social and cultural, and even emotional dimensions. Territory differs from space in that it always implies a form of appropriation of space” (1993). Maryvonne Le Berre also notes that “Everything leads to discussing the idea of territory. Anything can be a territory”, while Yves Jean (2002) stresses that geographers sometimes define territory as “an imaginary and real space” or as “signs, symbols and images inscribed in time”. Using ethological notions of territory, Deleuze and Guattari have produced philosophical concepts of territory, territorialization and deterritorialization that are used in extremely varied research contexts. The fields of geography, history, anthropology, law, urbanism and social sciences have resorted to the concept, which is often used metaphorically as well. 

By contrast, Anglophone historiography seems to restrict the use of the word territory to more explicitly political contexts. In a seminal publication about The Significance of Territory (1973), Jean Gottman thus argued that “Territory is a political organization of space that defines the relationships between the community and its habitat”, and many Anglophone publications resorting to the concept of territory endorse that primacy given to the political dimension of the notion (for instance Moore, 2015). Explorations of other ways of appropriating territories (social, personal, emotional, literary, artistic…) resort, perhaps more often than in French, to the word ‘space’, associated to various forms of qualification. 

The present call for papers however means to draw attention to a defining feature of the concept of territory in both Anglophone and Francophone historiographies: its emphasis on the relationships territories imply between space and its usages by human actors, who try to organize space, physically, legally, linguistically, ethnically…

To analyze territory is to examine the negotiations and collaborations, sometimes the rivalries, in order to produce forms of space appropriation, ranging from adaptation to domination. Territorializing means naming and identifying space both in communal and personal terms, resorting to the projections of collective or more individual identities. Territory embraces such issues as social, local, regional, national, ethnic, religious, or linguistic identities in relation to the notion of otherness. Whether it be a geographic, or political entity, territory constructs, and is constructed by discourse. 

We welcome proposals from the humanities, social sciences and related disciplines on the following themes. We expect contributors to approach territory in practical and conceptual terms. Proposals should be sent to  Gwen Cressman (, Fanny Moghaddassi ( and Jean-Jacques Chardin ( by March 1st, 2022. 

1/Geography, politics, power

-       The specific historical contexts within which relations of domination and contestation have produced singular territories;

-       The cultural and political construction of territories through linguistic, literary and/or administrative mapping;

-       The cultural and ideological dimensions in the process of territorialization - understood as defining limits and boundaries, whether they be jurisdictional, geographic and/or political;

-       Processes of territorial appropriation and reclamation and the complexity of extra-, inter and intra-territorial relations implied; 

-       The tensions, exchanges and forms of negotiation induced by multiple and overlapping layers of authority in the organization of territories;

-       The emergence of third spaces (such as co-working areas) as alternative territories productive of social relations that seek to redefine notions of consensus and dissensus;

-       Environmental politics and the territory (resource management, sovereignty)

2/ Social practices and territorial identities

-       Cultural production of identity in relation to territory (discourse and practices) (territory producing identity and being produced by social relations);

-       Social, ethnic, religious, linguistic, personal identities and their Others in relation to national, regional and local territories;

-       Sociolinguistic policies and how territories construct, and are constructed by language;

-       Social belonging and interpersonal conversation as forms of territorial delimitation;

-       Mapping as sociohistorical where history and memory are constructed as territorial palimpsests; 

-       The production of mythical territories and the manufacturing of knowledge; 

-       Fluctuating territories or the territory in a permanent process of redefinition by its actors; 

-       Mapping the territories of discourse: gender, genre and the canon.

3/ Territories of the mind and the body

-       Imagining and constructing the self as territory;

-       Forms of language and artistic expression that capture the complexities of the relation between the self and the territory;

-       Territories of the self through sensory perceptions (visual / sound territories…);

-       Historical relation between the self, the territory and the environment: eco-critical approach, territory as experienced physically (illegal migration, aesthetic experiences of landscape and territory);

-       Subjective territories : the inscription of the individual in constructed and real territories or landscapes: finding one’s way and place, psychological topographies;

-       Imaginary and fictionalized territories : how the self defines, and redefines territory and its place within it;

-       Territories as projections of the mind: imaginary territories, video games, literature, film studies…

-       Discourses about the self that include the idea of territory, namely in psychology: line between mental health and pathological;

-       Verbal representations of territory in terms of metaphorical discourse, how metaphors can express our bodily experiences of territory (cognitive metaphor theory).

References :

Roger BRUNET, Hervé THERY, « Territoire », in BRUNET, Ferras et THERY, Hervé (dir.), Les mots de la géographie. Dictionnaire critique. Reclus, La Documentation française, 1993 (1e éd. 1992).

André CORBOZ « Le territoire comme palimpseste », Diogène, n° 121, janvier-mars, 1983.

Gilles DELEUZE, Félix GUATTARI, Mille plateaux, Paris, Ed. de Minuit, 1980.

Stuart ELDEN, The Birth of Territory, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Jean GOTTMANN, The Significance of Territory, Charlottesville, Unversity Press of Virginia, 1973.

Yves JEAN, « La notion de territoire : entre polysémie, analyses critiques et intérêt » in Lire les territoires, Yves JEAN et Christian CALENGE (dir.), Presses Universitaires François-Rabelais, coll. Perspectives Villes et Territoires, 3, 2002, 9-22.

Zoltan KOVECSES, Metaphor and Emotion, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Zoltan KOVECSES, « Methodological Issues in Conceptual Metaphor Theory”, in S. Handl & H. Schmid (eds.), Windows to the Mind: Metaphor, Metonymy and Conceptual Blending, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2011, 23–40.

George LAKOFF and Mark JOHNSON, Metaphors We Live by. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1980. 

George LAKOFF and Mark JOHNSON, Philosophy in the Flesh, New York: Basic Books, 1999.

George LAKOFF and Mark JOHNSON, “Why Cognitive Linguistics Requires Embodied Realism”, Cognitive Linguistics, 2002: 13(3), 245–263.

Ronald W. LANGACKER, Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 1: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987.

Ronald W. LANGACKER, Grammar and Conceptualization. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1999.

Maryvonne LE BERRE, « Territoires », in Antoine BAILLY, Robert FERRAS, Denise PUMAIN (dir.), Encyclopédie de géographie, Paris, Economica, 1995, 603.

Margaret MOORE, A Political Theory of Territory, New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015. 

Thierry PAQUOT, « Qu'est-ce qu'un « territoire » ? », Vie sociale, 2011 : 2 (n°2), 23-32, online : (16 Nov. 2021)

Claude RAFFESTIN, Pour une géographie du pouvoir, Paris, Librairies Techniques, 1980.

Leonard TAMLY, Toward a Cognitive Semantics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

Jakob von UEXKÜLL (1864-1944), Mondes animaux et monde humain, Paris, Denoël, (1934) 1984.