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November 2015

Welcome to the Newsletter of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). For more up-to-date news, stories, and announcements, read


Undergraduate Education: Let’s Pay Attention



By Sarah Witham Bednarz

I think the best part about being president of the AAG is attending the regional meetings. I have traveled to East Lakes at Kent State University; West Lakes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; and the Pacific Coast Geographers in Palm Springs, Calif. Thanks to all of you involved in these meetings for your hospitality and attention. This month I will attend two additional divisional meetings:—the Southwest Division (SWAAG) in San Antonio, Texas, and the Southeast Division (SEDAAG) in Pensacola, Fla. The meetings I missed, RMGP, NESTVAL, and Middle States, have been covered by my AAG colleagues, Glen MacDonald, Mona Domosh, and Melissa Gilbert. Thanks!

I say this is the best part because it has given me the opportunity to talk to a wide range of geographers—faculty, of course, but also undergraduate and graduate students, representing a broad spectrum of institutions, from community colleges to private undergraduate institutions to Research 1 schools. When I talk to faculty we usually share a number of concerns related to the theme of survival in a time of disruption in higher education. On a daily basis, I observe my colleagues across the country deal with external and internal pressures related to recruiting and retaining students, building strong programs, harmonizing personal and professional demands, balancing research and teaching, and coping with having to do more with less. I have thought of this as a listening tour, trying to sense what members across the spectrum need from our organization. This is a serious endeavor, and I have tried to interact and reflect as much as possible. Many of our fellow geographers are thinking deeply about our discipline, higher education, and best ways to situate ourselves in a shifting landscape. Continue Reading.

Recent columns from the President

AAG Publishes New ‘GeoHumanities’ Journal

This month sees the publication of the first issue of a brand new journal from the Association of American Geographers: GeoHumanities.

GeoHumanities is a new kind of journal, connecting the traditional humanities to both science and the creative arts.

Dr. David Green, Publishing Director International for Routledge Journals, explains: “In the past decade, there has been a convergence of transdisciplinary thought characterized by geography’s engagement with the humanities, and the humanities’ integration of place and the tools of geography into its studies. GeoHumanities journal will now provide the latest, cutting edge information and peer-reviewed research in the field.”

The journal’s editing is being shared by two scholars well qualified for the job. Tim Cresswell is Professor of History and International Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as Associate Director for Public Humanities at its Humanities Center. Deborah Dixon is Professor of Geography at the University of Glasgow in the UK. Learn More.


GoldenGateBridge-001AAG Annual Meeting Abstract Deadline Extended

Due to a high volume of submissions, the AAG abstract deadline has been extended to November 18.  AAG is accepting abstracts for papers and posters, sessions, workshops, and field trips for its annual meeting in San Francisco March 29-April 2, 2016. Researchers, scholars, professionals, and students are welcome to present papers, posters, and panel discussions on all topics relevant to geography. Learn more.

AAG Enrichment Funds Deadline Approaching, Apply by Nov 7

The AAG will allocate approximately $30,000 to support participation of distinguished non-geographers in the annual meeting. The purpose of the Enrichment Fund is to enrich the AAG Annual Meeting by providing funds for individuals who likely would not participate in an AAG meeting without the awards. Requests for reimbursement of lodging, meeting registration fees, subsistence, and travel will be considered on a competitive basis. Enrichment funds may not be used for honoraria.

To apply for meeting enrichment funds, fill out the online application. Learn more.


San Francisco, on the Golden Edge

By Robert W. Christopherson

The AAG returns to San Francisco for its annual gathering in 2016, our fourth visit following successful meetings there in 1970, 1994, and 2007. Given the unique strengths of geospatial science for the synthesis of human, physical, economic, historical, demographic, and other elements into a composite picture, the San Francisco Bay Area is a rich setting for our meeting. A “golden edge,” that sits in a cradle of faults aligned along the margins of two of Earth’s vast plates—the North American and Pacific. Evolving through a colorful history plated with wealth from a sequence of economic booms, beginning with gold and silver, then railroads, land development, oil, and war industries, on into aerospace, and the computer era. San Francisco is a place on the edge in many ways, setting styles, tones, and motifs that season our life and times. Read More.

[Focus on San Francisco is an on-going series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of San Francisco and the Bay Area]


Upcoming AAG Award Applications and Nominations Due in December

Deadlines are fast approaching for a number of AAG awards. To nominate someone or apply on your own behalf, please follow the links highlighted in each award listed for instructions or additional information.

The AAG Dissertation Research Grants provide support for doctoral dissertation research in the form of small grants of up to $1000 to PhD candidates of any geographic specialty. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2015.

The Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarship is awarded to students from community colleges, junior colleges, city colleges, or similar two-year educational institutions who will be transferring as geography majors to four year colleges and universities. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2015.

The AAG Marcus Fund for Physical Geography fosters personally formative participation by students collaborating with faculty in field-based physical geography research in challenging outdoor environments. Deadline for faculty applicants is December 31, 2015.

The AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography is awarded to a book that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography. Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015.

Butler_Judith_2016_Honorary_GeogAAG Names Judith Butler as the 2016 Honorary Geographer

The Association of American Geographers has named Judith Butler as its 2016 Honorary Geographer. She is the Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and Program in Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley.

Butler has advocated lesbian and gay rights movements and has been outspoken on many modern political matters. Two of her influential books, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex, challenge notions of gender and develop her theory of gender performativity, which is now a prominent position in feminist and queer scholarship. Butler studied philosophy at Yale University where she received her B.A. and her Ph.D. Learn More.


All submissions must be received by December 31, 2015.

AAG Seeks Interns for Spring, Summer Semesters

The AAG seeks interns on a year-round basis for the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Interns participate in most AAG programs and projects such as education, outreach, research, website, publications, or the Annual Meeting. The AAG also arranges for interns to accompany different AAG staff on visits to related organizations or events of interest during the course of their internship. A monthly stipend of $500 is provided and interns are expected to make their own housing and related logistical arrangements. Enrollment in a Geography or closely related program is preferred but not a prerequisite for these opportunities. Learn More.


Hamilton-Stuart-NSF-grantStuart Hamilton and Research Team Receive $1.8-million NSF Award

AAG member and geographer Stuart Hamilton, assistant professor of geography at Salisbury University, is part of a research team that has been awarded $1.8-million by the NSF to research Aquaculture in Lake Victoria, Africa.

This project investigates the dynamic links between the ecology of Lake Victoria (a natural system), the economy of its surrounding fisheries (a human system), and the bridge between these systems created by aquaculture. Learn More.

John Frazier gathers with the 2014 Binghampton Enrichment Program members.

John Frazier gathers with the 2014 Binghampton Enrichment Program members.

John Frazier Recognized by Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society

John Frazier, professor at Binghampton University, was inducted as an honorary member of the Gamma Delta Chapter of the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society at their 11th annual induction ceremony on October 24, 2015. Professor Frazier was honored for his decades of work with the Educational Opportunity Program which includes five years as an instructor for the Binghamton Enrichment Program. Learn More.



Worldwide Team Assembles for the Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon

The Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon will take place November 15-21, 2015, as part of Geography Awareness Week. Work with a worldwide team of faculty, students, staff and citizens anytime and anywhere during that week to add to and edit the online database of feminist geographic sources now containing more than 3,000 citations.

The week-long event, sponsored by the Association of American Geographers’ specialty group Geographic Perspectives on Women (GPOW), is part of five years of planning, and more than 25 years of a collective effort of women and trans-geographers and other scholars and students. A hackathon is a time when a group of people come together to work on a digital project, usually by coding and creating content for an app or website. Skills and time involved are minimal. Learn More.


GAO Study Highlights Need for Funding Geography Education

K-12 Geography Proficiency Levels Have Not Improved Since 1994

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an important report last week that underscores the need for funding K-12 geography education in the United States. The Association of American Geographers (AAG) provided substantial input to GAO during their process of developing this report.

“The GAO report is another clarion call for the need to support geography education in the U.S.,” said AAG Executive Director Douglas Richardson. “Geography is integral to nearly all aspects of life today, ranging from our economy to our foreign policy.”

AAG President Sarah Bednarz added, “This important and timely study reinforces our efforts to promote the importance of K-12 geography education in preparing American students for rapidly-growing job fields.”

The report includes a U.S. Department of Labor projection that the employment of specialists in geography, or geographers, is expected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022—much faster than the average 11 percent growth for all occupations. Learn More.

NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Seeks Input on 2016-2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) has issued a request for information (RFI) (NOT-OD-16-018) seeking the broad input of the scientific community and the public, including academia, industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific and/or professional organizations, and other federal agencies regarding the scientific priorities that should be considered as it begins its strategic planning process to update the Office’s 2007 strategic plan for FY 2016 – FY 2020. Learn More.


Call for Applications: SSSP 2016 Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship

Under a generous bequest from Evelyn L. Pruitt, the Society of Woman Geographers (SWG) offers two fellowship programs annually to support women graduate students in the US and Canada in geography and related disciplines. The doctoral awards fund dissertation research. The master’s fellowships support minority women students accepted to or currently enrolled in masters programs in the US or Canada who are citizens of those countries. Details are provided on the Society’s website (see Deadline for applications for the 2016-2017 doctoral awards is February 1, 2016 and for the Minority Award March 15, 2016Learn More.


Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day Approaching, Organize an Event Today!

logoGeography Awareness Week is an annual public awareness program that encourages citizens of all ages to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Each third week of November, students, families and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meeting with policymakers and business leaders as part of that year’s activities.

This year’s theme is “Explore! The Power of Maps,” and will take place November 15 – 21, 2015Learn More.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Invites New Ideas for Environmental Studies Program for Fiscal Year 2017

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for ensuring that the effects on the natural and human environment are taken into consideration during the leasing and development of oil, natural gas, renewable energy and marine mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

To help inform management decisions affecting the OCS, BOEM develops, oversees and funds the collection of environmental information as directed by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act through its Environmental Studies Program (ESP). The ESP focuses on applied science, including baseline information about the environment and the effects from activities that result from the leasing and development processes under our authority. The goals of the ESP are to establish the information needed to assess, predict, monitor and manage environmental impacts on marine biota and the human, marine and coastal environments. BOEM is beginning to formulate its FY2017 Environmental Studies Development Plan covering all BOEM energy and minerals activities. Learn More.


Top stories from the AAG SmartBrief


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