Ağri 2015 C12.29 annual conference report


The annual conference was held in a marginal region in eastern Anatolia. The University of Ağri had offered to organize the event from August 23 to 28 including a three-day field trip.

The venue, Ağri Ibrahim Çeçen University, was founded in 2007 and started with a faculty of education. Its campus lies to the west of the town and is still under construction. The Geography Department is taking up its activities in autumn 2015.The conference comprised two days for paper presentations (August 24 and 25) and a field trip to Erzurum – Trabzon and back to Ağri (August 26 – 28). The local organizers had originally planned an excursion to the Van Lake region, but for security reasons this trip had to be cancelled. Despite the critical situation in Southeast Turkey both conference and field trip took place as usual, and no problems were felt. However, the number of participants was extremely low: only seven members of the Commission undertook the journey to Ağri, and they represented seven countries. To these must be added a varying number of local participants.

The ten conference papers were grouped in the following three thematic categories, with an additional paper on the location of the conference.

I Theoretical aspects of marginality and marginalization

  • WalterLeimgruber (Switzerland): Between metrics and ethics: approaches to marginality

  • Stanko Pelc (Slovenia): Marginalization as a topic of geographical research

W. Leimgruber, Switzerland

S. Pelc, Slovenia

II Marginalization of ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous people

    • Ruth Kark (Israel): Indigenous peoples in international and local context: declarations, practices, dilemmas and future applications

  • Walter Leimgruber (Switzerland): Minorities – an expression of diversity and an exercise in tolerance

  • Gina Raluca Kerkmann (Turkey): Aspects of Roma community living in an urban ecosystem: verdict ‘marginalization’?

R. Kark, Israel

G. Raluca Kerkman, Turkey

III Economic aspects of marginality and marginalization

  • Raghubir Chand (India): Occupational diversification and changing marginality conditions of Brokpas of Bhutan in the 21st century

  • Daichi Kohmoto (Japan): Marginalization of tea estates in Sri Lanka in the changing global and national context

  • Firuza Begham Mustafa (Malaysia): Aquaculture system among small farmers in Khulna, Bangladesh

  • Tomas Havlicek (Czech Republic): Demarginalization and church property: the case of Czechia

  • Stanko Pelc (Slovenia): Eleven years of EU membership – the case of Slovenia

R. Chand, India

D. Kohmoto, Japan

F. Begham Mustafa, Malaysia

T. Havliček, Czechia

IV About Ağri province

  • Selvinaz Yakan (Turkey): The geographic location of Ağri and wildlife

S. Yakan, Turkey

The small number of participants allowed for sufficient time for presentation and discussion, which has been undoubtedly an advantage, although a wider range of participants and papers would have been welcome. It is planned to publish the contributions in our new series “Perspectives on geographical marginality” to be published by Springer.

Field trip

The field trip took us first from Ağri to Erzurum, where we visitied the ski resort of Palandöken, the city, and Atatürk University, particularly the aquaculture section that cultivates trout in the context of its curriculum, but also for research and for sale to fish breeders in the Erzurum region. The second day included a visit of the Karaca karst cave (near Gümüşhame) and the Sümela monastery close to Trabzon. Both visits were interesting from the point of view of (indigenous) tourism; particularly Sümela was packed with people who did not mind tackling the difficult walk towards the monastery. On day three we followed a slightly different route back to Ağri, passing first along the coast of the Black Sea as far as Rize, then travelling inland across the Karadeniz mountains. The landscape included both hazlenut and tea plantations, and both products are very important export commodities of the country.

Despite the low participation the conference was successful and gave rise to stimulating discussions. We are hoping that the events in the following years will attract more speakers and listeners.

Walter Leimgruber, 10 September 2015




Erzurum university fish farm

Sümela monastery


Tea plants on the slopes of İkizdere Çayı valley