Call for Session Proposals: World Congress of Rural Sociology 2020 – Rural Sustainability in the Urban Century

RHN 38/2019 | Call

Organisers: International Rural Sociology Association, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University

8-12 July 2020, Cairns, Australia

Deadline for session proposals: 26 April 2019

Call for Session Proposals:
Rural Sustainability in the Urban Century
XV World Congress of Rural Sociology, Cairns, Australia

Whose versions of sustainability count in the urban century? How does spatial disadvantage intersect with injustices based on gender, ethnic, linguistic, religious and other dimensions of social difference? What opportunities do flows of people, capital, information and commodities between urban and rural spaces present for sustainable rural development?

Delegates to the 2020 World Congress of Rural Sociology will consider these and many other questions relevant to contemporary rural society. Proposals for themed sessions are welcome. Please note proposals are due 26 April 2019 and must be prepared following the guidelines on this page.

Session formats
The majority of sessions will follow a traditional format based on an open call for abstracts and equal time allocation for each participating presenter. Session proponents may consider other formats including panel debates, open workshops and lightening talks.

The official Congress language is English. If you would like to propose a session in a language, or languages, other than English you will need to provide the Program Committee with information on who will present and participate in the session. Please note the Congress will not be able to provide you with translation support.

Session proposal guidelines
Your session proposal should include:

  • Session title
  • Organizer(s) names, affiliations and contact details
  • Session format
  • Participants (i.e. will there be an open call for abstracts and, if not, who are your intended presenters/participants?)
  • Abstract (300 word maximum)

Please send proposals to

Session themes
Session proposals are welcome on any topic of relevance to rural sociologists although proposals that address the Congress theme are encouraged. Potential topics include, but are not restricted to:


  • Rural imaginaries and identities: narratives of community, citizenship, gender and sexuality, art, nation-building, cultural heritage and nature in the urban century.
  • Population dynamics including drivers of rural-urban migration and the shifting demography of rural spaces.
  • Community development, service provision, and the persistent gap between rural and urban health and wellbeing.
  • Urban ruralities: the contribution of agriculture, food and forestry to place-making, identity and sustainable development in the city.
  • Participatory research, knowledge relations, and innovation in rural research and education.


  • Agrarian transitions and contestations: the changing character of Indigenous, peasant and family farm livelihoods in the developing and developed worlds.
  • Commodity flows and networked spaces in the global economy.
  • Alternative food systems: short supply chains, non-commoditized production and exchange.
  • Spatial dispossessions/re-possessions: resource appropriation and struggles over property rights among Indigenous and peasant resource users, family farmers and others.
  • New rural economies? Opportunities and threats arising from mining and other extractive industries, urbanization, technological disruption and demand for ecosystem services.


  • The reciprocal relationships between natural resource management and rural community economic and social development.
  • Landscape transitions including urbanization, gentrification of the peri-urban fringe, natural and cultural heritage conservation, agro-industrialization and resource extraction.
  • Climate change and opportunities to enhance both adaptive capacity and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in rural communities, industries and landscapes.


  • Implementation and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in rural areas.
  • Subnational leadership in climate and natural resource governance.
  • State policy and practice: procurement, trade, food security etc.

Key dates for session organizers:

26 April 2019: Session proposal deadline
10 May 2019: Notification of session organizers
27 September 2019: Abstract submission deadline
25 October 2019: Finalization of abstract selection
29 November 2019: Notification of presenters
29 May 2020: Registration deadline for speakers
12 June 2020: Finalization and distribution of program
8–12 July 2020: Congress

Congress Website: