In the last years, an outstanding international and multilingual rediscovery of anarchist geographers has occurred at the level both of academics and of grassroots movements, drawing at the same time on a renewed interest for historical figures like Pyotr Kropotkin (1842-1921) and Elisée Reclus (1830-1905), and on the contributions of anarchist and antiauthoritarian ideas and practices to present-day struggles for social liberation worldwide. Special issues on anarchism and geography have been published by outstanding international journals, such as Antipode and ACME, leading to a flourishing of recent papers and books on these topics, including the organisation of successful sessions on anarchist geographies at the most widely attended geographic international conferences, such as the RGS-IBG, the AAG and the IGU, and for the international conferences of the Anarchist Studies Network. An international mailing list of anarchist geographies has also been inaugurated.
In the French-speaking circuits, a flourishing of grassroots initiatives and scholarly research has likewise taken place, leading to the foundation of a network of anarchist geographers (Réseau de géographes libertaires), which organises a number of periodic conferences and workshops in France and Switzerland, and contributes to two important annual festivals targeting the communication between scholars and wider publics in France. The first, Les Reclusiennes, takes place in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, the town of origin of Elisée Reclus, and the second, the Festival International de la Géographie in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, includes an anarchist-driven Forum of Critical Geographies. In South America, conferences and public courses on anarchist geographies are periodically organised, mainly in Brazil, by the networks of ReKro-Rede Reclus-Kropotkin de Estudos Libertários and the Anarchist Library Terra Livre, in collaboration with universities like UFRJ and USP. This list could continue, but it is just a sample of the rich and cosmopolite field in which the present-day debates in anarchist geographies are developing.
In light of the flourishing of anarchist geographies, we propose to organize an independent international conference, to be repeated in different countries every 2 or 3 years, to create a space for scholars and militants interested in these topics to enjoy a deep and fruitful exchange, and present an opportunity for those interested in anarchist geographies and rooted in broader social movements internationally to exchange ideas and make meaningful connections’. The choice of doing the first conference in an Italian small town like Reggio Emilia, where an established local anarchist movement already promoted events and publications on anarchist geographers is instrumental to the capital tasks of continuing a discussion among scholars and militants from different linguistic and cultural areas, and ensuring discussions involve grassroots movements and militant situations outside the academy.