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Summer School Modules

Five (5) Summer School Modules will be offered as part of the RETI Annual Meetings 2014; internationally-recognized scholars in island studies will provide in-depth instruction to graduate students on the most significant island-based issues.

Tentative schedule

Monday, July 7th, 9:00-12:00

Dr. Bernard Poirine, Université de la Polynésie Française
"Small Island Economies: Constraints and Strategies"

This module will introduce students to the following aspects of small island economies: the relationship between smallness, insularity, scale economies and openness; the effects of remoteness and insularity on small island trade; the growth on small islands that comes from external resources such as exports, aid, tourism, and financial services; the concept of the "island paradox of trade"; and three development strategies for small islands.


Monday, July 7th, 13:30-16:30

Dr. Tanya Chung Tiam Fook, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island
“Coastal Communities and Climate Change – Developing Participatory Scenarios”

This module focuses on climate change adaptation in coastal communities and participatory approaches that can be adopted by students to better understand and research these issues. The course material will draw on the Prince Edward Island context and be relevant to other island/coastal community contexts. It includes both a theoretical component and an interactive activity component.

Tanya is currently working in the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI as a postdoctoral fellow on coastal community climate change adaptation with the Partnership on Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation. She has a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University and an MA in International Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. Tanya has also been a lecturer in Environmental Studies, Geography and International Development Studies at York University, University of Toronto and URACCAN university in Nicaragua. Her research interests include:  biodiversity conservation, Indigenous environmental perspectives and governance, climate change, political ecology, wildlife and forest management, and international development. She has worked for many years on research and community development projects related to environmental and education issues in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Netherlands. 

Complete module description


Tuesday, July 8th, 9:00-12:00

Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, University of Malta and UPEI
"Practising Island Studies in a Small Island University: Reflections for Students, Scholars and Others"

This session will serve as a critical commentary about the specific nuances involved in working or studying at a small island university, and their implications, including: the likelihood of operating as a monopoly institution of higher education; the need for flexible specialisation amongst academic and administrative staff; the strong likelihood of students returning home (possibly to their parents) on a regular basis; the public obligation to provide a wide remit of courses and disciplinary programs, but not always being able to do so; balancing the needs of offering local tertiary education opportunities while encouraging islanders to seek opportunities for seeking education elsewhere. Based on personal experiences in various tertiary education institutions; plus taping into the rich research undertaken by the London, UK-based Commonwealth Secretariat into the functioning of ministries of education of small states, this session should be of interest to students as well as employees of UPEI and of other small island universities.

Godfrey Baldacchino is Professor of Sociology at the University of Malta, Malta; Island Studies Teaching Fellow and outgoing Canada Research Chair (Island Studies) at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada; Visiting Professor of Island Tourism at the Università di Corsica Pasquale Paoli, France; Founding Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal (ISSN: 1715-2593); and Vice-President of the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA).

Complete module description


Dr. Ioannis Spilanis, University of the Aegean
The attraction of small islands to business and residents: a European perspective.

Islandness is the common characteristic of all islands, regardless of their size, population and level of development. Islandness expresses ‘objective’ and measurable characteristics, including small land area size, small population (small market), isolation and remoteness, as well as unique natural and cultural environments. However, it also involves a distinctive ‘experiential identity’, which is a non-measurable quality expressing the various ways in which islands and islanders are connected. 

With various small islands facing economic decline, a study - called EUROISLANDS - financed by the European Union (under its ESPON program) sought to identify factors which are attractive for establishing both competitive economic activities and attracting population. Without these two reinforcing trends, island socio-economic viability is severely threatened.

The EUROISLANDS study, completed in 2011, sought to address these key questions:  What is the situation of Europe’s islands within the context of sustainable development? What has caused this situation, and does islandness matter? What policies would be appropriate for increasing the attractiveness of islands and ensure that their development meets the tenets of sustainability?

The final EUROISLANDS report is available here 

Tuesday, July 8th, 13:30-16:30

Dr. Christian Bouchard, Professor and Chair, Environmental Studies, Laurentian University
“The Military Functions and Geostrategic Significance of Islands”

This module explores the multiple military roles small islands have played historically and are playing today, their geostrategic significance in regional and international geopolitics and great powers military strategies, as well the role and significance of local military forces. In doing so, Dr. Bouchard will refer to specific case studies, including the US Navy global deployment, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and/or Guam in the Pacific, the Japanese territorial disputes (over islands), Singapore's geostrategic significance, the South China Sea disputes, and the Falklands/Malvinas dispute. Dr. Bouchard will also touch on a few Canadian examples (e.g., Grosse Ile, île d'Orléans, etc.).

Complete module description


Wednesday, July 9th, 9:00-12:00

Ms. Laurie Brinklow, PhD Candidate, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia
“Defining Islandness”  

Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey calls it an “inexorable gravitational pull… elusive, ephemeral, and barely definable when we try to say exactly what it is and how it shapes us.” The Island Institute’s Philip Conkling calls it “a metaphysical sensation that derives from the heightened experience that accompanies physical isolation,” which can be equally experienced by visitors as an “instantaneous recognition.”Newfoundland’s Lisa Moore just calls it “this Newfoundland thing.” By taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding culture and identity; by looking at theories of identity, place, and culture; and by exploring specific examples of how island identity manifests on specific islands around the world, this course explores the nuances of "islandness."

Laurie Brinklow is a poet, editor, and former book publisher from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. A graduate of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program at UPEI (2007), she is currently a PhD candidate in Geography and Environmental Studies (School of Land and Food) at the University of Tasmania. Her PhD research explores people’s attachment to islands by examining “islandness” in Tasmania and Newfoundland, some of which has been published in academic and popular culture journals. She is also the author of a book of poetry, Here for the Music (Acorn, 2012). She taught “Islandness: Culture, Change, and Identity” at UPEI this past year, and will take up the position of Interim Co-ordinator of the MAIS program this coming year. She is also the Chair of the North Atlantic Forum, an international conference set for Summerside, PEI, September 17-19, 2015.

Complete module description

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