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CfP: Dealing with Drought: Water Scarcity, Human (Im)mobility and Adaptation Strategies in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East 30 June – 02 July 2022 (Augsburg University)

Call for Papers 

for the International Research Conference on

Dealing with Drought: Water Scarcity, Human (Im)mobility and Adaptation Strategies in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East

30 June – 02 July 2022 (Augsburg University) 

Hosted by the Chair of Human Geography and Transformation Research (Augsburg University) with support of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Rural communities in arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East are increasingly suffering from water crises: Declining access to drinking water, crop failures, damage to ecosystems, loss of habitats and health risks are among the many negative manifestations of water scarcity. Human-made climate change is undermining water availability through rising temperatures, prolonged droughts and heat waves, while simultaneously increasing water demand. Human interferences in the water cycle and political decisions, such as the construction of dams, extension of irrigation agriculture or water pricing, can put certain regions or populations in threatening situations and exacerbate water crises.

At this backdrop, this conference aims to focus water crises from the perspective of migration studies, political ecology, resource geography, risk research and socio-ecological studies.

The relationship between environmental change and people’s decisions to migrate or stay is multifaceted and complex. For some, migration may be a successful adaptation strategy, while others lack the capabilities to move. Also, subjective aspects like place attachment or emotional well-being play important roles in (im)mobility decision-making and may foster preference to stay. Despite the improving evidence-base, these complex realities of environmental (im)mobility warrant further investigation.

The subject of political ecology is based on the premise that socio-economic and ecological problems are the result of actions conducted and implemented by various actors. Water scarcity is therefore rarely the inevitable consequence of drying up water supplies but is always related to management and control over access to the resource: Interrelations that require further research efforts in semi-arid and arid regions, where control and use of water increasingly leads to conflict.

This conference seeks interdisciplinary contributions from the social environmental sciences (human geography, anthropology, political ecology, etc.) to exchange insights, concepts, and ideas on

  • environmental (im)mobility in the context of water crises, and
  • issues in the realm of water management and political ecology.

We also aim to examine examples of successful adaptation that offer a positive prospect for sustainable solutions despite climate change.

The conference offers the opportunity for paper presentations as well as space for discussion and networking beyond disciplinary boundaries and is aimed at experts in the field, Postdocs, PhD students and interested students. To cover the widest possible range of perspectives, case studies as well as critical and conceptual issues on the aforementioned topics and regions are welcome!

We intend an edited publication based on paper presentations and discussions, featuring written contributions from participants.

Paper Submissions

Please send your presentation proposal (English) with title, abstract (max 400 words) and a short bio by March 1, 2022, to: dwd-conference@geo.uni-augsburg.de

Early submissions are welcome. Successful applicants will be notified on a rolling basis by March 31st, 2022.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Matthias Schmidt, Sebastian Transiskus, Robert Gonda

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