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      Dr. Baldacchino is Canada Research Chair in Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P.E.I., Canada c1a 4p3, and a visiting professor of sociology at the University of Malta, Msida msd 06, Malta.

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    The author thanks John R. Gillis, David Lowenthal, and Matt Matsuda, conveners of the conference “Islands on Our Minds” held at Rutgers University in 2004, which inspired a draft of this article; Christian Depraetere and Stefan Gössling for specific island-related information; and Eric Clark, Pete Hay, Jane Ledwell, Stephen Royle, and two anonymous reviewers for critical comments.


ABSTRACT. Being on the edge, being out of sight and so out of mind, exposes the weakness of mainstream ideas, orthodoxies, and paradigms and foments alternatives to the status quo. Islands are thus propelled as sites of innovative conceptualizations, whether of nature or human enterprise, whether virtual or real. They stand out as sites of novelty; they tend toward clairvoyance; they are disposed to act as advance indicators or extreme reproductions of what is present or future elsewhere. This article, which is essentially bibliographical, celebrates islands as the quintessential sites for experimentation, with reference to the physical sciences, the social sciences, and literature.