International Small Islands Studies Association




John Donne was wrong

Anders Källgård



One of the most famous island quotations, ”No man is an island,” originates from a beautiful 17th-century text written by the English poet John Donne:




No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; 
every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, 
as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; 
any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

This text deserves to be analysed.

The use of the word ”man” for ”human...

Read more

At a recent public symposium sponsored by University of Prince Edward Island's Institute of Island Studies, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, speakers explored the current population landscape. Geographer and professor of Island Studies Dr. Jim Randall laid out the demographic challenges facing our island: an aging population, a declining birth rate, a shrinking workforce, chronic out-migration, rural decline.

Cultural geographer Katie Mazer profiled the new face of out-migration, inter-provincial workers (that is, Islanders who live here but work Out West) and the regulatory system that encourages that trend.


Finally, Tony Wallbank prefaced the imminent arrival of Ontario Amish families who are moving to the Island...

Read more



Seeing Island Red

Laurie Brinklow

In September 2015 I had an e-mail from an artist based in Ontario, Canada, who was looking for help in finding soil for an interdisciplinary art project documenting earth colours from across Canada. He was looking for “soils and rocks that leave a good stain or streak,” which he could use as an artist pigment.

We here at the Institute of Island Studies get lots of queries about our Island – our history, geography, our economy, our culture, our islandness. We hear from scholars wishing to visit or become Research Associates, and from students who want to come study for a few weeks or a semester. We have people looking for reports or books or information about PEI and our comparative studies with other islands. It’s fun to open my e-mail each morning to see what’s waiting.

But I must admit: I’ve never received a request for information about dirt. I was intrigued.

Prince Edward Island is well-known for its red soil. Except...

Read more




Stephen A. Royle

The editor of the ISISA blog, Laurie Brinklow, contacted me with an invitation: ‘One idea I thought of is for you to write something about your “collection” of islands – where you're at in the list, how it all started, the oddest thing you've seen... that kind of thing.’ How could I refuse?

Collection? This refers to my list of islands visited. I am a true obsessive; of course I keep a list. And I boast of it. When I wrote my Geography of Islands, published back in 2001, I recorded proudly that I had been to 320 islands. Small beer; for when Godfrey Baldacchino had me write for his Archipelago Tourism book published in 2015, as boasted in the title of my chapter I had made then a 767-island odyssey. Small beer, for I have now, as of 4 January 2016, visited 855 islands. I write this piece on the island of Kyushu, Japan, where I am Visiting Professor at the Kagoshima University Research Center for the Pacific Islands. I...

Read more



Welcome to the ISISA blog

Laurie Brinklow

As we launch our new ISISA website, I welcome you back to a renewed and revitalized ISISA blog - one in which I invite contributions from all of you.

As Editor, I envision this being a meeting place for those of us who happen to live on or study islands. I invite stories and news from your islands all around the globe. I invite editorials and rants, opinions and profiles, celebrations and research, island adventure stories and travelogues – and even gossip that’s too good not to share. Do you have questions or comments about island studies meetings or research projects or conferences – past and upcoming? Do you have some thoughts about a movie or documentary you’ve seen, or a book or an article you’ve read – for instance, maybe a paper in the latest issue of Island Studies Journal or Shima? Perhaps you’re doing a literature search or looking for potential research collaborators – let us know. This space is for...

Read more