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August 2020

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


The Invisible and The Silent

By Amy Lobben

"Look me in the eye" graphic“I am the parent of an adult child with intellectual and developmental disabilities and have spent the past two decades watching how society (dis)engages with him. People avert their eyes. People pretend not to see him.  People give him a wide berth in store aisles… Society trains us to have low tolerance of imperfections in our own and others’ bodies. It’s no wonder that in the race to perfection, those with physical imperfections are ultra marginalized by society.”

Continue Reading.


Registration Now Open for #aagSEATTLE

Seattle FeesThe 2021 AAG Annual Meeting marks the launch of a fully online event alongside the in-person meeting in Seattle. With new participation options, the registration fee structure has been updated. New categories for online-only registration and K-12 educators and students have been added; and the Developing Regions Membership has been and clarified. In-person registrations include access to all virtual content. To secure the lowest rate, be sure to register before September 14, the early bird deadline.

View the Registration Options.

Seattle, WA to Host Hybrid 2021 AAG Annual Meeting

Seattle Skyline

Mark your calendars for the AAG Annual Meeting April 7-11, 2021 both in person and virtually. We invite you to organize and participate in sessions, workshops, field trips, special events, and activities. Look for the call for papers by August 31, 2020. We look forward to seeing you in the Pacific Northwest and online!


NEW The Professional Geographer Issue Alert:
Articles with topics ranging from tiny house villages for the homeless to a new remote sensing-based drought index

Professional Geographer

The most recent issue of The Professional Geographer has been published online (Volume 72, Issue 3, August 2020) with 12 new research articles on current geographic research. Topics in this issue include gender and geographical publications, divorce rates in Oman, rural-urban voting preferences by gender in the U.S., accuracy of geocoded gunshot locations, and antiretroviral treatment in Botswana. Locational areas of interest include Galicia, Spain; Tehran, Iran; and Alabama, U.S.. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including Clark University, Missouri State University, Louisiana State University, and Mohammed V University

All AAG members have full online access to all issues of the Annals through the Members Only page. Each issue, the Editors choose one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Telling Stories about Climate Change by Dylan M. Harris for free for the next 3 months.

Questions about The Professional Geographer? Contact PG [at] aag [dot] org

In addition to the most recently published journal, read the latest issue of the other AAG journals online:

Annals of the American Association of Geographers
The Professional Geographer
The AAG Review of Books

NEW Summer Issue of the AAG Review of Books Published

AAG Review of Books Summer 2020 Volume 8 Issue 3

The latest issue of The AAG Review of Books is now available (Volume 8, Issue 3, Summer 2020) with nine book reviews and three book review essays on recent books related to geography, imperialism, policing, mobility justice, race in politics, and bioethics. The Summer 2020 issue also holds 2 book review fora, including a consideration of How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism by Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancıoğlu, reviewed by Eric Sheppard.

Questions about The AAG Review of Books? Contact aagreview [at] aag [dot] org.


The Geography of Despair, or All Those Rubber Bullets

Gavin H. Cochran Elementary School

“Despite our understanding of colonial thought and power, geographers — like many other scholars — are less willing to look inward. We speak in platitudes and identify oppression as placeless, when the place is here and now.“ Read Dr. Aretina R. Hamilton’s perspective on racism within the geography discipline. You can follow Dr. Hamilton on Medium and on Twitter at @BlackGeographer.

COVID-19 Task Force Updates

Image of coronavirusMore than 60 members working on five subcommittees (students, departments, regions, members, virtual/connections) and a Blue Ribbon Panel created proposals for supporting departments, students, and professional geographers, with particular attention to marginalized and economically vulnerable geographers and students. The AAG Council has selected 12 initiatives that will be funded by AAG at nearly $1 million. Some proposals — like a technology and equipment grant for students at TCUs, HBCUs and MSIs–will have an immediate impact, while other more complex projects will take time to implement.

Details on the projects available.

Nominations Sought for AAG Council Positions

The AAG Nominating Committee seeks nominations for Vice President (one to be elected) for National Councilor (two vacancies), and for International Councilor (one vacancy for an inaugural, 2-year Observer position on Council) for the 2021 election. The AAG encourages nominations of a broad range of colleagues who reflect different disciplinary specialties, regional locations, gender, race, ethnicity, diverse ability, stage in career, etc. Those elected will take office on July 1, 2021. AAG members should submit the names and addresses of each nominee and their reasons for supporting nomination to any member of the AAG Nominating Committee no later than September 18, 2020. As part of your nomination statement, please confirm that the person is willing to be considered for the position for which you are recommending them. Nominations by email are strongly preferred.

Please send nominations or questions regarding these positions to the AAG Nominating Committee: Kate Berry (Chair), Becky Mansfield, and Daoqin Tong.


HHS Bypasses CDC in COVID-19 Data Collection, Sparking Concerns

U.S. Capitol by Martin FalbisonerThe following update comes from our colleagues at the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA).

On July 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance that instructed hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in reporting COVID-19 data and instead send the information directly to the Department through a relatively new system called HHS Protect. The change has raised concerns among many public health and science stakeholder groups that it could signal an effort to sideline the CDC in responding to the pandemic and to limit the data available to the public.

Prior to the change, hospitals submitted COVID-19 information to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), which released data on hospital capacity and staffing, but is now no longer being updated. While some reporting indicates that HHS officials intend to make data collected by the new system publicly available at some point, no concrete plans to do so have been announced.

The AAG joined nearly 100 stakeholder organizations in a letter to the Coronavirus Task Force calling for the Administration to reverse this decision and commit to ensuring that COVID-19 data remains publicly available.

In the News:

  • Congress is moving closer to adjourning for August recess, but discussions around the next coronavirus relief package are not yet resolved. Debate over the next package includes the issues of unemployment extension, hazard pay, state and local government support, small business support, and another round of stimulus checks.
  • The Census Bureau announced this week that it will cut short its count by a month, ending operations on September 30th rather than October 31st. Many fear this will result in an undercount, particularly of minority and immigrant populations.


August Member Updates

The latest news from AAG Members.

Dr. Jennifer Collins and Amy Polen of the University of South Florida are collaborating with Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and Pinellas County EOC on a statewide survey assessing people’s perceptions about evacuation and shelters in light of COVID-19. A preliminary report has already been distributed to those in emergency management/planning and interest came from emergency management in numerous states. The team is now seeking funding for a full analysis and to better understand the social connections of those who go to shelters compared to those who evacuate and those who shelter in place.


AAG Releases New 2019-2020 Edition of The Guide

2019-2020 Guide to Geography Programs

The AAG’s Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas, or The Guide, includes detailed information on undergraduate and graduate geography programs in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, including degree requirements, curricula, faculty qualifications, program specialties, financial assistance, degrees completed, and more. The 2019-2020 edition of The Guide is now available for free online. The AAG has also published an interactive, companion map where users can search for programs by location, degree type, field of interest, and regional focus.

Browse the Guide. 

Nominate Inspiring Geographers: September Awards Deadlines

Awards PinAAG Grants and Awards make a huge impact on our community of Geographers and help maintain the legacy of geographers of the past while paying tribute to geographers thriving right now. September deadlines are approaching fast. Don’t miss your opportunity to apply or nominate someone deserving! Learn more about the following grants and awards before their due dates:
Sept. 15: AAG Enhancing Diversity Award and AAG Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award
Sept. 22: AAG Nystrom Award for Recent Dissertations

Register for the August Kauffman Early- Stage Research Professional Development session!

Kauffman FoundationJoin Kauffman in their virtual professional development series that links early-stage entrepreneurship researchers with mentors focusing on impactful research. The next session will take place on August 28 from 1 pm -2 p.m. (Central US), with mentors April Franco, an Associate Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto-Scarborough with a cross appointment to the Business Economics area at Rotman, and Denis A. Gregoire, an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at HEC Montréal, where he also holds the Rogers-J.A.-Bombardier Chair of Entrepreneurship Research. This monthly series is open to 15 early-stage researchers to connect with research mentors to discuss research approaches, professional development and the research career trajectory. 

Register here.

Save the Date: August 20 Data Workshop Explores K-12 Geography Education

NAEP LogoOn August 20, AAG will co-sponsor a workshop with the National Center for Education Statistics, unveiling a new tool for understanding the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The new NAEP Data Explorer puts assessment data into the hands of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working to improve learning outcomes in schools.

Read more.


The AAG is saddened to hear of the passing of these colleagues.

Dwight Brown, retired professor of geography and former geography department chair at the University of Minnesota, died on June 19 of natural causes. He was 83. Brown’s expertise during his career of more than fifty years spanned geographic information and analysis, physical geography, and cartography, with specific interest and expertise in biogeography, environmental systems, grasslands, global change, resource use, and landscape evolution. He initiated the first GIS course at UM. More.

Sherwood M. “Woody” Gagliano, a geologist, geographer and archaeologist who documented Louisiana’s rapidly eroding coastline in the 1970s in a process that alerted the state to the problem, died on July 17 at the age of 84. Gagliano advocated tirelessly for a state comprehensive coastal protection program in Louisiana. Dr. Gagliano’s work marked a turning point in coastal science and in the state’s decision to meet the challenge of coastal erosion at scale. More

Ron Johnston, a human geographer who helped shape the discipline and was a winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from AAG, has died at the age of 79. A prolific author and co-author of more than 1,000 publications, including 50 books and 800 articles, he specialized  in quantitative and political geography, but also ranged widely in urban and social issues, electoral geographies, and the history of geography. More.

Geographer Leonard Kouba died on July 15, 2020. A longtime  professor at Northern Illinois University until 1993, he was 82. Kouba was a past recipient of NIU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. He established the Leonard J. Kouba Geography Graduate Student Fund to provide scholarships and other resources for graduate students in his home department at NIU. More

Robert A. Muller, a 2003 AAG honoree for Lifetime Achievement in climatology, died on March 12, 2020 in Baton Rouge. He was 91 years old. A graduate of Lyndhurst High School in 1945, Bob worked as a printer adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan for seven years, and served in the US Army in Germany during the Korean War. He graduated in geography from Rutgers University in 1958, earning an MS and PhD in physical geography and climatology at Syracuse University in 1962. More.

Brian Robson–a geographer who helped to develop the British Index of Multiple Deprivatio and changed the way British governments dealt with socio-economic decline in towns, cities and regions–died on July 2, 2020 at the age of 81. Robson’s research and design of the index provided an integrated, extensive and fine-grained understanding of poverty and financial mechanisms for relieving it in Great Britain, crafted around an area-based regeneration approach that Brian focused on the needs of towns and small cities, not only large urban areas. More 



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