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Themes

Each year the AAG President, in consultation with the Executive Director, identifies themes for the annual meeting to help focus discussion and provide a fresh and engaging structure to the conference program. Due to the extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic, we have retained the four themes established in 2020 and 2021 with an additional new theme for 2022.

Climate Justice

Image showing protesters gathering for climate justice demonstration; credit: CC BY-SA 2.0, Ilias BartoliniAs the effects of climate change pummel the globe, they are doing so in a highly unequal way – where those least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions are also the most vulnerable to suffering the effects of extreme weather events, extreme temperatures, sea level rise, declining agricultural production and water supplies, and more. This, in turn, further exacerbates socioeconomic, racial, gendered, and other forms of inequality. Consequently, there are many well-known but unresolved questions about what a just global path toward mitigation would look like. However, injustice plays out at many scales beyond the nation-state and in many realms beyond climate change effects. For example, concerns about climate change may be taken up through ethno-nationalist, racist, or even eco-fascist discourses that harden nation-state boundaries against migration. Projects purportedly aimed at adaptation or resilience may in some cases be as devastating for historically marginalized people as climate change effects themselves. Some proposed mitigation measures such as solar radiation geoengineering are also likely to exacerbate injustice and inequity. Furthermore, climate justice advocates argue that only approaches to climate change that are based in social and environmental justice into account will be able to address the true causes of climate change, rather than treat the symptoms in ways that enrich and empower some at the expense of others. This theme seeks papers and other forums broadly concerned with any aspect of climate justice.

Send theme-related queries to ClimateJustice_Theme@aag.org


Geographies of Access: Inclusion and Pathways

Image showing person in a wheelchair on an accessible forest trailThough simply stated, Access is a broad construct that represents affording the opportunity for everyone entrée, use, and benefit to/of/from everything in society. This theme is comprehensively applied to include any barriers to access. We seek papers that address, interrogate, or discuss issues of access in geography. We especially encourage papers that focus on systemic issues that represent barriers or facilitators to access for people with disabilities.

Send theme-related queries to Access_Theme@aag.org


Ethnonationalism and Exclusion around the World

Image showing dramatic contrast in population on border between United States and MexicoThis theme describes and interrogates new political movements based around a more exclusive form of national identity. These movements often draw on race-based appeals, target immigrant populations, and may be violent. While ethnonationalism has been present within every society throughout history, modern-day ethnonationalist movements have given rise to several strong political movements contributing to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the rise of populist parties in Hungary, Poland and Brazil, and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. An exclusionary nationalist identity has also led to the hardening of borders as well as the vicious repression and destruction of minority groups, such as the Uighur people in China and the Rohingya in Myanmar. As part of this theme, we seek papers and other forums that are broadly concerned with nationalism, ethnic-inspired terrorism, racism, immigration, genocide, borders, populism, electoral geography and other related aspects.

Send theme-related queries to Ethnonationalism_Theme@aag.org

Committee

  • Lise Nelson, University of Arizona
  • Merje Kuus, University of British Columbia
  • Pauliina Raento, Tampere University (Finland)
  • Natalie Koch, Syracuse University
  • Wes Reisser, U.S. Dept. of State
  • Vidyamali Samarasinghe, American University
  • Jeremy Slack, University of Texas at El Paso
  • Corey Johnson, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Kara Dempsey, Appalachian State University

The Changing North American Continent

Image collage showing flooding, draught and forest fireThis theme examines how the land and people have been transformed from pre-history through history. A meeting in Denver, the capital city of the US West, allows us to focus specifically on the transformation of the western landscape, the effects of climate change, indigenous rights, new immigrant geographies of the West, the perils to our ecosystems, water scarcity and distribution, the West as a social laboratory, and other related aspects. We seek papers and other forums that address these topics and that otherwise fit within this broad rubric.

Send theme-related queries to ChangingNAmericanClimate_Theme@aag.org

Committee

  • Yolonda Youngs, Idaho State University
  • Maria Lane, University of New Mexico
  • Glen MacDonald, UCLA
  • Geoffrey Buckley, Ohio University
  • Patrick Lawrence, University of Toledo
  • James Meacham, University of Oregon
  • Jenni Vanos, Arizona State University
  • Emily Skop, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Brandon Vogt, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Expanding the Community of Geography

Image showing panelists from underrepresented institutions during a special session at AAG 2019This theme looks at how we can increase the active participation of geographers, at the AAG and elsewhere, who may have otherwise felt excluded, moved away from geography as a discipline, or may not realize their kinship with geography. One factor of this exclusion lies with geographers who work in often underrepresented institutions. This includes stand-alone geographers, community college stakeholders, those who work and study at Historically Black and Tribal institutions, and geographers who work outside of the academy. Most people who go on to get a Masters or Ph.D. in geography do not end up working as academics. They may have drifted away from the AAG, and we need to find ways to increase their contribution and interest in our society. As part of this theme, we seek papers and other forums that involve coping with limited resources, enhancing geography at minority serving institutions, community engagement, outreach to geographers beyond the academy, alternative ways of knowing, fostering interaction among stand-alone geographers, and many other related aspects.

Send theme-related queries to ExpandingGeography_Theme@aag.org

Committee

  • Mike DeVivo, Grand Rapids Community College, Mich.
  • Jacquie Housel, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio
  • David Padgett, Tennessee State University
  • Nicole Reiz, University of Kansas
  • Weronika Kusek, Northern Michigan University
  • Patricia Solis, Arizona State University
  • Qihao Weng, Indiana State University
  • Angeline Johnson, University of Toledo (grad)
  • Joseph Kerski, ESRI
  • Guntram Herb, Middlebury College
  • Amanda Rees, Columbus State University
  • Heather McAfee, Clark College, Vancouver, Wash.