Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Call for Papers — AAG Featured Theme

Mainstreaming Human Rights
in Geography and the AAG

Mainstreaming Human Rights, image courtesy AAASNearly all geographers are concerned about human rights, and in their personal and professional lives seek meaningful ways to act on these concerns and values. The AAG and the discipline of geography intersect with human rights in numerous ways. During the past decade, the AAG has undertaken many initiatives to interact geography with human rights organizations and their work. A few examples include:

Science and Human Rights Coalition (SHRC) – The AAG helped found this coalition and AAG executive director Doug Richardson served as Chair of the SHRC Steering Committee for its first five years. Hosted by the AAAS, the SHRC brings together dozens of scientific associations to advance crucial human rights work around the world. Since its launch in 2009, the Coalition has served as a resource for major human rights organizations and for analysis of the role of human rights and scientific practice. Visit the website or Read the opening address of the AAG Executive Director at the launch in 2009.

AAG Geography and Human Rights Clearinghouse – With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the AAG developed an inventory of geographic research and scholarship relating to human rights including bibliographic, informational, and research resources. Many of these resources can be found on this page. One particular goal was to identify research substantive enough to be used as evidence or in support of expert testimony in international tribunals investigating human rights abuses.

Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights – The AAG supported this AAAS project to develop applications and information resources for the non-governmental human rights community. Since 2006, the project has brought high-resolution satellite imagery, GPS units, and geographic analysis and methods into wider use by human rights organizations and sought a more integrated approach to monitoring, documenting, and preventing human rights abuses. For example, geographic tools were used to monitor attacks on civilians in Darfur (Eyes on Darfur website)

AAG Annual Meetings – Human rights have been featured every year at the AAG Annual Meetings during the past decade. A few examples include the 2012 Meeting in New York with a Theme on Social Justice, Media, and Human Rights with more than 20 featured sessions. Speakers included Salil Shetty (Secretary General of Amnesty International), Nicholas Kristof (New York Times columnist), and Ivan Simonovic (Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), and Mary Robinson. Watch the video The 2009 Meeting in Las Vegas featured a special track of sessions on Human Rights and Geographic Research, and the Washington, DC meeting featured workshops on Human Rights 101. Find out more information click here.

Call for Papers

This special Theme within the 2017 AAG Annual Meeting will explore intersections of Human Rights and Geography, and will build on the AAG’s initiatives to mainstream human rights in geography and the AAG. An Interview with Noam Chomsky by Doug Richardson will keynote this theme at the 2017 Boston Annual Meeting.

We welcome papers from all disciplines, subfields and perspectives. Topics may include but are not limited to:

– Mainstreaming human rights in disciplinary societies

– Climate change and human rights

– Addressing human rights abuses around the world

– Monitoring, documenting, and/or preventing human rights abuses

– Geographies of spatial inequalities

– Geographers and responses to social injustice

– Mapping and documenting evidence of human rights abuses

– Human rights in academic codes of ethics

– Human rights and disabilities

– Media and human rights

– Application of geographic methods, tools, and technologies in human rights work

– Human rights education and informational resources

– Geographic technologies, dual use, and human rights

– Geography and human rights organizations

– The UN Responsibility to Protect and interventions to prevent genocide

– Geographic research, ethics, and human rights

– Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related Covenants

To participate in this theme, please submit your abstract or organized session at When you receive confirmation of a successful submission, please then forward this confirmation to: GeoHumanRights [at] aag [dot] org. The deadline has been extended to November 17, 2016.

For more information, please visit, or contact members of the theme’s organizing committee. 

Organizing Committee: Douglas Richardson, Chair (AAG), Sheryl Beach (University of Texas), Jessica Wyndham (American Association for the Advancement of Science), Audrey Kobayashi (Queen’s University)