ICARUS VI, Ann Arbor, Michigan, September 29 - October 1, 2023.

The Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences (ICARUS) brings together scholars, researchers, students, decision-makers, and activists working on adaptation to climate variability and change. Members of the initiative are particularly interested in social-scientific and humanistic approaches to understanding climate-related vulnerabilities, risks, and human and ecosystem responses to vulnerability and risks over time and across scales. Vulnerability and adaptation are key concepts in the social science literature on climate change. They have long interlinked histories. Scholars of development, disaster management and mitigation, hunger, famine, migration, and ecological systems have contributed insights into the meanings and drivers of vulnerability. The current ICARUS event marks the sixth workshop since 2010.

Workshop Themes


We invite papers that deal with long-term system-wide changes in response to climatic and other stressors. Potential topics include (but are not limited to) radical ideas for the reorganization of global institutions; changing aid structures; the concept of Loss and Damage; concerns of maladaptation; (re)conceptualizations of adaptation.


We invite papers that interrogate inequalities in climate change adaptation and also those focusing on just, sustainable, and equitable adaptation policies and practices from the global to the local levels. Potential topics include (but are not limited to) indigenous knowledge; climate finance; anxiety-producing effects of climate change; causality and responsibility

Responses and Solutions

We invite papers that focus on adaptation responses, solutions, and what we have learned from 30 years of adaptation science and action (or lack thereof) on the ground, including potential synergies and tradeoffs with other sustainability goals and development policies


Dr. Jola Ajibade, Associate Professor, Portland State University

The ICARUS workshop is designed to facilitate deep engagement and exchange. Therefore the meeting is kept relatively small, with 20-40 participants. There is no registration fee to participate in this workshop. A very limited number of need-based stipends are available for travel and accommodation costs. More information will be provided with notification of abstract acceptance.

Workshop participants will be encouraged to contribute their paper to a special issue proposal.

Key Dates

You may submit multiple abstracts, however, only one may be accepted. 

Abstracts should be no more than 200 words. They should follow the structure below to convey the most salient features of your work:

  1.  Open with a jargon-free sentence or two, providing a basic introduction to your work that is understandable to a broad audience (students, scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, donors, non-government organization representatives, grassroots organizations, etc.) interested in climate adaptation issues. It should clearly state the general problem, within the climate domain and should focus on a key meeting theme;
  2.  Two to three sentences that provide more detailed information about the situated/on-the-ground context and relevance of your work that can be understood by an audience from diverse disciplines, sectors, and geographies;
  3.  Two or three sentences summarizing the methodology, approach, and main findings (please use the phrase, “Our/My study finds,” or We/I show” or equivalent);
  4.  Two or three sentences explaining the scholarly significance and practical application (the “so what”) of the main findings and argument, especially as compared to what is already known;
  5.  One or two sentences that situate the results in a more general context, framed by the relevant meeting theme.

Oral presentations: 10-12 minutes

Approximate presentation length *Subject to change, pending final meeting program

ICARUS VI Committee
Arun Agrawal, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan
Rajiv Ghimire, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan
Maria Carmen Lemos, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan
Ben Orlove, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Jesse Ribot, School of International Service, American University
Cristy Watkins, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Questions? Contact Cristy Watkins

Meeting Themes