Association of American Geographers
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Vice President

(one to be elected)

 

Barney WarfBARNEY WARF. Professor, Dept. of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas. Ph.D., University of Washington, 1985; M.A., UCLA, 1982; B.A., UCLA, 1979.

Service to AAG: I have served on AAG Honors, Book Award, Conference Program, and Centennial Celebration Coordination Committees; the latter led to the co-edited volume WorldMinds: Geographic Perspectives on 100 Problems in 2004. From 2011 to mid-2019 I edited The Professional Geographer. In 2018-2019 I served as head of the Great Plains / Rocky Mountain Division and recently organized the regional conference in Lawrence.

Other Service: 1994-2006 Chair, Dept. of Geography, Florida State University, where I started the Ph.D. program. Currently, I serve as editor of Geojournal and co-editor of Growth and Change, editor-in-chief for geography for Oxford Bibliographies On-Line, and I edit one series of geography books for Rowman and Littlefield and another for Springer. I have served on committees for the American Geographical Society and the NSF Geography and Regional Science Grant Proposal Review Panel. I have conducted external reviews of several geography departments. I also currently serve on seven journal editorial boards.

Publications: I have authored or co-authored six research volumes, three textbooks, 60 book chapters, and roughly 110 refereed journal articles. I also edited or co-edited 11 volumes and three encyclopedias. My monographs concern e-government, time-space compression, corruption, geographies of the internet, and cosmopolitanism. A forthcoming edited volume concerns the geographies of Donald Trump. My papers have appeared in the Annals of the AAG, The Professional Geographer, Economic Geography, Political Geography, Urban Geography, Antipode, Geographical Review, Regional Studies, Urban Studies, Tijdschrift, International Regional Science Review, Transactions of the IBG, Area, Southeastern Geographer, Environment and Planning A, B, and D, Geoforum, Geojournal, Asian Geographer, Polity and Space, Journal of Latin American Geography, Journal of Cultural Geography, African Geographical Review, Social and Cultural Geography, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Journal of Geography, and Journal of Geography in Higher Education. I have also published in interdisciplinary outlets such as Growth and Change, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, International Regional Science Review, and Information, Communication and Society.

Awards, Honors, and Grants: 1981 UCLA Dept. of Geography Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award; 1997 SEDAAG Research Honors Award; 1999 Florida State University Teaching Award; 2006-08 Earl and Sophia Shaw Professorship, Dept. of Geography, Florida State University; 2011 Fulbright Teaching Award, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. External grants from NSF and the Economic Development Administration, and numerous internal grants from universities.

Research and Teaching Interests: My research and teaching interests lie within the broad domain of human geography. I have studied a very broad array of topics. Originally trained in economic geography, my earlier works concerned maritime transportation, military spending, producer services, global cities, and offshore banking. Most of my research has focused on telecommunications, including fiber optics, the satellite industry, and particularly the geographies of the internet, particularly digital divides, e-government, and internet censorship. I view these topics through the lens of political economy and social theory. A related interest is time-space compression, or how societies fold time and space in different ways. I dabble in the geography of Latin America and have conducted field work in Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. I also maintain an active interest in political geography, including elections, voting technologies, and the U.S. electoral college. I have published on religious diversity, the geography of cannabis, and several papers concerning geographic education. I am currently writing about cosmopolitanism in geography and have studied corruption from a spatial perspective.

My teaching interests include freshman human geography, upper division courses and graduate seminars in urban and economic geography, the history of geographic thought, and globalization. I have taught in study abroad programs in Italy, Spain, and Panama.

Statement: Intersecting with my interests in political geography, I am increasingly dismayed by the domestic and global intellectual climate of authoritarian neoliberalism. In addition to the wholesale assault on democracy and human rights around the world, we face an onslaught against science and a tsunami of “fake news.” Even the very existence of truth is under question. Large shares of the American public are openly hostile to higher education, and climate change denial and attacks against the theory of evolution are rampant. Social media has greatly enabled the proliferation of hate speech and encouraged racist and xenophobic movements everywhere. Combined with ongoing disinvestments in education, and the withdrawal of the state from social reproduction, these circumstances spell dire times for academics and intellectuals as a whole. The Trump administration exemplifies American anti-intellectualism, but attacks on teachers, scientists, and scholars will continue long after Trump has faded from the scene. Currently, we are in an all-hands-on-deck moment to defend democracy and the freedom of scholarly inquiry.

Combatting these trends is a matter of grave and urgent concern. Simply teaching and telling the truth will not suffice. I envision an AAG that takes a more pro-active stance, building alliances with similar groups and reaching out to progressive policy makers. The AAG has supported scholars who testify in Congress on behalf of defending scientific integrity in the Department of the Interior, an excellent example of what I have in mind. Agitating for adequate funding for NSF and NIH is another. Openly confronting anthropogenic climate change denial/skepticism groups, such as the Heartland Institute, is a third; highlighting funding from the Koch Brothers and related groups is important. We must not only teach the truth, but show how different truths are financed and produced. Creating synergistic ties with social and environmental activists, such as Bill McKibben, is a fourth; his 350.org website is a case in point. International efforts to protect endangered scholars abroad, such as geographer Tashpolat Tiyip in Xinjiang, comprise a fifth; the Scholars at Risk network offers a fine prototype of how to act in this case. I’d like to see the AAG develop ties with Amnesty International, Cultural Survival, and similar groups.

Many academics may be uncomfortable with taking such an overtly political stance, a position I understand well. We are trained to be objective and apolitical, and not to use the classroom to proselytize. But current circumstances do not afford us such a luxury. Geographers of all types, regardless of their specialties and interests, must unite to resist anti-democratic and anti-intellectual trends that threaten our scholarship, teaching, and discipline as a whole.

 

Emily T. Yeh

EMILY T. YEH. Professor, Department of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder. Ph.D., 2003, University of California Berkeley, Energy and Resources Group; M.S. 1995, B.S, 1993, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Email: emily.yeh@colorado.edu

Professional Experience: Assistant to Full Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder (2003-). Chair, Department of Geography at CU Boulder (2014-2018). Faculty Affiliate, CU Boulder Center for Asian Studies, Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. CU Boulder Arts and Sciences Council, Boulder Faculty Assembly.

Service to Geography and the AAG: As Chair of the Department of Geography at CU Boulder, I prioritized elevating the visibility and status of Geography in the university. I have served on the editorial board of a number of Geography journals including Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, and Eurasian Geography and Economics, as well as other journals where geographers publish, such as Conservation and Society, Environmental History, and Journal of Peasant Studies. I have also served as a referee for 88 different journals spanning natural science, social science and the humanities, and as a panelist and a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and 10 other domestic and international research foundations. I have reviewed more than a dozen candidates, in Geography and in cognate fields, for tenure and promotion. I have been an active member of the AAG since 2003, and have organized numerous panels and paper sessions. I worked with two colleagues at CU Boulder to host the 20th annual Critical Geography conference in 2014.

Other significant service and synergistic activities: China and Inner Asia Council, Association of Asian Studies, 2014-17 (nationally elected); International Association of Tibetan Studies, Coordinator of Geography, Demography and Environment Section for 2019 meeting; Development Team, Natural Assets Knowledge-Action Network, Future Earth, 2017-18. I have reviewed monographs for 10 book publishers, as well as being a frequent reviewer of book proposals.  I have served on a number of advisory boards, such as for the Tibetan Village Project, a Colorado-based NGO, and I have been interviewed on Pacifica Radio and KPFA about contemporary Tibet. I have briefed the Foreign Policy Committee of the Danish parliament about Tibet.

Awards, Honors and Grants: Awards2015 E. Gene Smith Book Prize on Inner Asia, awarded by the Association of Asian Studies (for Taming Tibet); 2010 Leopold-Hidy Prize for best article published in Environmental History, (for “From wasteland to wetland?); 2007 Ashby Prize, Environment & Planning A (for “Hip-hop gangsta…”). Fellowship awards: 2018, Fulbright Scholar Award; 2009 Social Science Research Council Book Fellowship; 2019 CU Boulder College Scholar Award; 2009 CU Boulder Faculty Fellowship; 2005 MacArthur Foundation Global Security and Sustainability Research and Writing Grant. National Science Foundation grants include a CAREER award (2009); and grants through the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems, Human and Social Dynamics, and Geography and Spatial Science competitions.

Publications: In addition to Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Cornell University Press, 2013), I have edited/co-edited three books (Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands; Rural Politics in Contemporary China; and The Geoeconomics and Geopolitics of Chinese Development and Investment in Asia), co-edited two additional special journal issues, and published one co-translated book. I have also produced an educational film (Shielding the Mountain), about cultures of nature and environmentalism in Tibet, which has been shown in three film festivals and is currently being used in a number of classes in North America and Europe.  In addition, I have authored or co-authored 53 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as a number of other editor-reviewed chapters. Peer-reviewed publications include those in Geography disciplinary journals such as the Annals of the AAG, Environment and Planning A, Society and Space; Geoforum, Political Geography, Social & Cultural Geography, and Applied Geography; interdisciplinary journals of the environment and development, such as Global Environmental Change, World Development, Human Ecology, and Journal of Peasant Studies; and area studies journals, such as Journal of Asian Studies and China Quarterly. My publications span social scientific work in human geography, interdisciplinary research conducted with modelers and ecologists; and publications for a humanities audience. 

Research and Teaching Interests: My research is ultimately motivated by concerns about environmental and social justice, as manifested in the relationship between society and non-human nature, particularly in processes of development. My inquiries include studies of conflicts over access to natural resources, the causes and consequences of new regimes of property rights, the intersection of ideologies of nationalism and nature, and the effects of state sovereignty and territorial control for landscapes and livelihoods. I have pursued multiple projects on the political ecology of pastoralism on the Tibetan Plateau, encompassing studies of the social and ecological assumptions that underpin development strategies and conservation programs, and how these policies intersect with expanding market relations to deepen vulnerability and marginalization of some people and not others. It has also included collaborative work in interdisciplinary teams to study vulnerability to, and indigenous knowledge of, climate change. Other areas of research have included the formation of environmental identities and the political economy and cultural politics of commodity chains. Empirically, the majority of my research has been in Tibetan areas of China, but I have also conducted research on conservation politics and post-earthquake livelihood trajectories in other parts of China, as well as exile identities in the United States.

I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses in environment & society, development geography, political ecology, geography of China, and research design. Mentoring and advising are important to me. I have graduated 6 PhDs, with an additional 4 current PhD students. I have also advised 6 MA students and served on more than 40 other graduate committees. 

Statement: Through the efforts of AAG leadership in recent years, the organization and Geography as a discipline have become significantly more attentive to questions of diversity, to elevating geographical research in public policy and debate, and to the need for strong ethical guidelines. The Harassment-Free AAG Initiative is but one example of a much-needed move in the right direction. As we navigate this moment of political, environmental, and social crisis, we need to affirm our commitment to evidence-based inquiry, and to inclusivity without regard to citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexuality.

In practical terms, there are several things I would like to prioritize if I have the privilege to serve in this position. First, as Amy Lobben has outlined, I believe that advocacy for Geography is extremely important. The current climate of anti-intellectualism, which has enabled the evisceration of scientific institutions and attacks on researchers and the varied types of scholarship they produce, makes this defense of geographical inquiry and knowledge crucial.  In addition to advocating for public funding of geography research, this also means continuing to address broader trends in undergraduate education and what they mean for the declining number of Geography majors and the recent closure of a number of geography departments in the US.

Second, much has been done to think about increasing the accessibility of the AAG annual meeting in terms of a tiered pricing structure, and for those with disabilities. Less progress, however, has been achieved as of yet in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of the annual meetings. A recent petition indicates that AAG members want this to happen. After all, air travel is one of the most significant ways in which academics contribute to climate change, and the standard systems that have developed around large conferences also have high climate impacts. Face to face interaction is invaluable and cannot be completely replaced, but we also need to think outside the box, for example by encouraging experiments with virtual platforms that also provide accessibility to those who cannot travel due to cost or hardened borders, promoting regional hub conferences, or perhaps even reducing the frequency of in-person meetings.

Finally, I would advocate continuing to increase outreach and resources to minority serving institutions. I also believe AAG should continue to provide resources and support for departments to address pressing issues including the adjunct crisis in the context of the ongoing neoliberalization of higher education, supporting healthier relationships with graduate students, and rejecting bullying behavior wherever it occurs.