Making Every Week About Geography Awareness and Advocacy
By Derek Alderman
This column comes to you just a couple weeks before Geography Awareness Week’s 30th birthday. Founded by presidential proclamation in 1987, Geography Awareness Week (GeoWeek) is observed the third week of November each year. The purpose of my remarks is to reflect on what we might want to accomplish through GeoWeek in terms of not just building an awareness of geography but also advocating for geography. I also wish to use Geography Awareness Week to take stock of the broader, year-around importance of disciplinary advocacy, the specific promotional strategies, successes, and struggles of geography programs and departments, and what AAG is doing (and can do further) to assist in providing resources and funding the development of innovations in public promotion of geography.
Read past columns from the current AAG President on our President’s Column page.
2018 AAG Annual Meeting Presidential Plenary Announced
AAG President Derek Alderman, along with a panel of esteemed scholars, will present When the Big Easy Isn’t So Easy: Learning from New Orleans’ Geographies of Struggle for the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting Presidential Plenary. When the Big Easy Isn’t So Easy creates a space to explore the role of struggle in the making, unmaking, and remaking of New Orleans. Alderman and panelists will use the Annual Meeting location of New Orleans as a backdrop to explore broader conference subjects such as Black geographies, disaster response, food justice, landscapes of memory, and urban and environmental politics.
Career Mentors Sought for 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans
Career mentoring sessions provide an open forum where students, job seekers, and professionals can get advice, feedback, and information on a variety of topics related to careers and professional development. The AAG seeks volunteers representing the business, government, nonprofit, and academic/educational sectors to provide informal consultation during your choice of designated times during the conference. If you would like to participate, contact Mark Revell at mrevell [at] aag [dot] org.
Begin Planning Your Travel for #AAG2018
After registering for the AAG Annual Meeting, get your travel planning underway by RSVPing on Facebook for event updates or booking your hotel room in New Orleans. Official #AAG2018 hotels include the Marriott French Quarter, Sheraton New Orleans, and Astor Crowne Plaza, located steps away from one another along Canal Street between the French Quarter and Central Business District. The AAG has negotiated discounted rates, starting as low as $199/night.
Dining with Cajuns and Creoles
From beignets to backyard crawfish boils, Creole and Cajun foods are the focal point for many visitors and locals to New Orleans. The unique blending of the cooking traditions of western European immigrants with local flavors from the Americas created the cuisine that is iconic to the Crescent City. Take a culinary tour of southern Louisiana with Clifton ‘Skeeter’ Dixon, past president of SEDAAG and professor at University of Southern Mississippi in this month’s Focus on New Orleans & the Gulf Coast.
New Orleans: Place Portraits
New Orleans’ unofficial “geographer laureate,” Richard Campanella (Tulane School of Architecture) explores what lies below the surface of the Big Easy in this month’s Place Portraits series. A sandy atoll shaped by the Pearl River is partially responsible for the layers of urban streets that had to be repeatedly updated from the city’s founding in 1718 to present day. Underlying ethnic divisions also shaped the contemporary political landscape and divided NOLA into its current three municipalities.
Read all three articles:
- Beneath New Orleans, a Coastal Barrier Island.
- Like Geological Strata, Layers of Urban History Underlie Bourbon Street’s Pavement.
- Culture Wars, Ethnic Rivalry, and New Orleans’ Messy Municipality Era.
“Focus on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast” is an ongoing series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the greater Gulf Coast region in preparation for the 2018 Annual Meeting.
The AAG Launches Campaign, Resources to Celebrate Geography Awareness Week
The AAG invites members to celebrate Geography Awareness Week (#GeoWeek) from November 12-18, 2017. The theme for this year’s Geography Awareness Week has been designated “The Geography of Civil Rights Movements” to demonstrate on how a geographic education can shed light on important contemporary issues in society. To further highlight the theme and its place in geography, the AAG will be matching all donations made to the AAG Enhancing Diversity Fund during Geography Awareness Week. Other AAG efforts for Geography Awareness week include a StoryMap of national activities, the Profiles of Geographers working in Civil Rights and Social Justice resource, and the AAG #GeoWeek social media ambassador program.
The AAG Establishes Hurricane Relief Fund
The AAG has established its Hurricane Relief Fund to help coordinate support for those in affected Geography Departments in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas from the devastation of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, and Irma. Please consider lending a hand to your colleagues who are in dire need.15th is the deadline for applications to two annual awards presented by the AAG and supported by the Marble Fund for Geographic Sciences.
Administration Issues New Travel Ban
On September 24, 2017, President Trump signed Proclamation 9645, which would block entry into the U.S. of most individuals from eight nations: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. Though this proposed travel ban has mostly been blocked by decisions from federal district judges in Hawaii and Maryland, the AAG is monitoring the issue carefully, especially as it relates to our Annual Meeting attendees.
AAG Statement on the US Withdrawal from UNESCO
The AAG is disappointed by the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has issued an official statement regarding this policy move.
November 2017 Profiles of Geographers
Joseph Kerski, Education Manager at Esri, is featured as our Professional Geographer for the month of November. Read his full profile to get inspired about a job in geography! According to Joseph, there’s no better time than the present to get into a career in GIS or geography. The most important things for job seekers are to “Be Yourself and Be Curious.”
Trevor Paglen Named 2017 MacArthur Fellow
Artist and geographer Trevor Paglen has recently been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2017. Paglen’s work, such as Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, addresses sites of secrecy surrounding programs by the U.S. government and military. He uses photography to capture these locations, impressing on the public the efforts in which the government takes to shield activities from citizen’s eyes. Paglen is one of 24 individuals granted the prestigious award in 2017.
Stuart Aitken Reflects on AAG Influence throughout Career
“It would be inappropriate to say that I owe my career to the AAG; many actors support me in that endeavor. That said, there is no doubt that the institution has been supportive throughout my career and it is a pleasure to give back when I can.”
Carol L. Hanchette, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Louisville, died on a hiking adventure in the mountains of Wyoming on October 9, 2017. A medical geographer, Hanchette was particularly active in the development of the applied master’s program at U. of L. and with her research funded through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the NIH. Her collegiality, professionalism and dedication to geography will be missed by all of the lives she impacted.
Fall 2017 Issue of ‘The AAG Review of Books’ Now Available
All AAG Members now have access to the book reviews in volume 5, issue 4 of The AAG Review of Books. Featured reviews from this issue are of The Lost City of the Monkey God, A True Story; Jungleland; and The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation. Book reviews older than one year are free to the public and can be found in our searchable database.
New Books in Geography — September 2017 Available
The list of newly published books in geography and related fields includes topics from Foucault to forests. Some of these new titles will be selected to be reviewed for the AAG Review of Books. Individuals interested in reviewing these or other titles should contact the Editor-in-Chief, Kent Mathewson.
November Issue of The Professional Geographer now available!
The November 2017 (Volume 69, Issue 4) issue of The Professional Geographer is now available online! This issue features two themed sections – the 2016 AAG Nystrom Paper Competition participant papers and a focus on gender and the histories of geography as a discipline – in addition to a regular selection of manuscripts.
Just Published! The November 2017 Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’
Volume 107, Issue 6 (November 2017) of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is now available! All articles are available to members with your AAG membership. This month, articles span the breadth of topics from oil pipeline activism to extreme precipitation frequency to young people and everyday foods.
GEOGRAPHERS IN THE NEWS
- Geographer Simon Cook on running in public spaces
- Marshall Shepherd on correlation between people’s political affiliations and climate change opinions
IN THE NEWS
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- SEDAAG Division Fall Meeting
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