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AAG Enhancing Diversity Awards Honor Pioneers

May 31, 2013

2012 AAG Enhancing Diversity Awards
The AAG is pleased to bestow an annual award honoring geographers who have pioneered efforts toward or actively participated in efforts toward encouraging a more diverse discipline over the course of several years. 
Laura Pulido is a professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. She researches race, political activism, ethnic studies and Los Angeles. Pulido studies how various groups experience racial and class oppression, how these experiences differ among particular communities of color and how they mobilize to create a more socially-just world. Last year, Pulido was a visiting scholar teaching Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in the University of California at Santa Barbara Black Studies Department where she is also working to complete several projects left by her recently deceased friend and colleague, Clyde Woods. Laura wrote a pivotal, ground-breaking article that appeared in the Professional Geographer entitled "Reflections on a White Discipline" in 2002.

Clyde Woods passed away suddenly last year and he is very much missed. He was an important black scholar and was a gracious mentor to many in geography. Woods began his appointment at the University of California, Santa Barbara in fall 2005. In 2009, he became Acting Director of the Center for Black Studies Research. With a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, Woods developed a one-of-a-kind research program engaging social and public policy issues by examining the cultural practices of those oppressed by such policies. His book, Development Arrested, is highly acclaimed and a model of interdisciplinary research that shifted the telling of the history of the Mississippi Delta by unraveling the blues epistemology of its residents. At the time of his passing, Woods had just published In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: New Paradigms and Social Visions (2010), a Johns Hopkins University Press book version of his special edited American Quarterly issue on Katrina.  He was also working on three additional books—Development Drowned and Reborn on Post-Katrina New Orleans (under review at University of California Press), a book on Black California that emerged from funded research at the Center for Black Studies Research and a revised, updated version of Development Arrested. A prolific scholar with a commitment to social justice, Woods was a ground-breaking thinker, believing that the purpose of public intellectual thought was to challenge and contest the connections between knowledge embedded in communities of color and the knowledge disseminated by universities. He has been an important mentor to many, and his co-edited book, Black Geographies, with Katherine McKittrick, has been a pivotal text in race and human geographic knowledge production.


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