Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

Island Dynamics Home

Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

Special Territorial Status

and Extraterritoriality

Exceptional Sovereignties and Sovereign Exceptions

20-24 January 2019, Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Territorially based sovereign states are commonly presented as the basic, fundamental units of the international political world system, and they clearly represent powerful, even dominant, forces in global institutions of governance. But the world is also replete with myriad cases that defy the presumed logic of state sovereignty as the elemental operating unit of the global political system. Certain contexts for extraterritorial legal jurisdiction over individuals or places, and the corresponding immunity from local laws, are well-established in international relations practice regarding diplomatic and military installations and personnel. Extraterritoriality can be conceptually expanded to effectively address a range of other ways in which particular territories, institutions, and individuals are subject to exceptional forms of political, legal, and existential status. These conditions frequently, although by no means exclusively, index colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial conditions, as well as military, civic, and geopolitical circumstances, and their combined intersections.

These extraterritoriality practices take a wide range of forms including, but not limited to, enclave and exclave states, protectorates, realms, dominions, and overseas territories; self-governing autonomies, reservations, reserves, and lands held in trust; free-trade zones, export processing zones, and exclusive economic zones; parks, monuments, memorials, and heritage sites; military installations, no-fly zones, and occupied or contested areas. The extraterritoriality of people, places, and organizations is represented in creative works and performing arts in a range of ways across genres and media.

About Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Longyearbyen (population 2200) is the world’s northernmost town, the main settlement in the vast Svalbard archipelago. Svalbard is under Norwegian jurisdiction and is administered by a Governor appointed by the Norwegian state. Nevertheless, the terms of the Svalbard Treaty (1920) have placed significant limits on Norway’s ability to control immigration to and economic activity in this distant territory. Longyearbyen is home to residents of over 40 nationalities, Russia runs the mining town of Barentsburg, and the settlement at Ny-Ålesund hosts research stations from more than a dozen countries. The polar night, when the sun never breaches the horizon, lasts from late October until mid-February.

© Heinrich Eggenfellner

About the conference.

Delegates will arrive in Longyearbyen on 20 January. On 21 and 24 January, delegates will take excursions out into Svalbard’s spectacular Arctic landscape and industrial heritage: 1) a trip into the polar night by dog sled and 2) a visit to one of Longyearbyen’s old coal mines. (The precise excursions are subject to weather.) Conference presentations by delegates will be held on 22-23 January at Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen. Registration covers five dinners and all conference activities.

How to make a presentation.

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes presentations from any scholarly or performative discipline, or from individuals or collectivities with direct experiences, that address the creation, evolution, or destruction of any special territorial status or condition of extraterritoriality, or address identifiable consequences, outcomes, or results of such a designation, whether tangible or intangible, material, social, economic, political, cultural, philosophical, or otherwise. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to, territorially conditioned differentiations in economic policies and practices; effects on inward or outward migration; culture, language, and traditions; health; Indigenous self-determination; military alliances and installations; scientific and research practices; environmental issues; jurisdictional capacity; and diplomatic or paradiplomatic practices. Presentations addressing any region of the world as well as innovative perspectives that highlight the complex intersections of multiple peoples, places, and polities, are welcome, as are presentations addressing the representation of extraterritoriality in the creative arts.

To propose a presentation, please fill out this presentation proposal form, and e-mail it to Write ‘Abstract for Special Territorial Status’ in the subject line of the e-mail.

If you have any questions, e-mail convenor Zachary Androus (

Convenor: Zachary Androus


The final deadline for registration is 31 October. You can register and order accommodation by filling out this registration form and e-mailing it to Write ‘Registration for Special Territorial Status’ in the subject line of the e-mail. The registration fee must be paid by bank transfer.

Categories of registration.

Full Registration: Covers attendance at all conference events: 5 dinners (20-24 January), excursions on 21 and 24 January, and conference presentations on 22-23 January. Registration fee: 5500 Danish kroner.

Accompanying Delegate: Covers attendance at 5 dinners (20-24 January) and excursions on 21 and 24 January. Does not cover conference presentations on 22-23 January. (Only open to individuals accompanying another delegate.) Registration fee: 4900 Danish kroner.


We can offer special room rates (approx. 20% discount) at the conference venue, Funken Lodge. The special rates include breakfast and WiFi. We strongly recommend that delegates book their rooms directly through Island Dynamics. Accommodation must be booked by the 31 October 2018 at the latest.

We recommend that you arrive on 20 January and depart on 25 January. Delegates are free to stay in any accommodation they wish, but for the best possible experience, we strongly recommend that delegates stay at Funken Lodge.

If you have any questions or need help with the registration form, please contact convenor Zachary Androus.