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Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice

Deadline: October 15, annually


This award honors geographers who have a demonstrated record of the type of research and active contributions to society that have marked Harold Rose’s career. The award will be given to those who have served to advance the discipline through their research, and who have also had on impact on anti-racist practice.  The award is presented at the Awards Luncheon during the AAG's Annual Meeting.

Criteria: Individuals are eligible, regardless of their status as AAG members.

Nominations: Please include the complete name and address of the nominee and a brief (500 word maximum) description of the reasons why your nominee should be selected. Two aditional letters supporting the nomination are required. Digital submissions are encouraged. Please gather all required supporting documents before completing the online Application Form at this link. The Application Form will require you to upload all supporting documents before being able to complete your submission. You cannot save a partially completed form and return to it later, so it is important to have all materials ready before accessing the online Application Form. For questions or difficulties, please contact or call the AAG at 202-234-1450. Alternately, nominations can be sent to: Association of American Geographers, attn: AAG Harold Rose Award, 1710 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20009-3198.

About the Award: This award honors Harold M. Rose, who was a pioneer in conducting research on the conditions faced by African Americans. Rose received his PhD at Ohio State University in 1960, whereupon he began a joint appointment in the departments of Geography and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. He has devoted his career to expanding the discipline of geography into anti-racist scholarship, an area that had been virtually ignored. Rose conducted research on the black Ghetto, blacks and Cubans in Miami, and the quality of life in black communities, especially the exposure of many black communities to high rates of homicide. He also conducted research on black residential mobility and interregional migration. Rose became the first black president of the AAG in 1976. In 1977, he voiced the need to expand research into the experiences of blacks in his presidential address entitled “The Geography of Despair”. Harold Rose’s work reminds us that it is possible for scholars to go beyond theoretical understanding of racism and other social practices to engage actual communities and to make a difference in human life.

Note: See also President's Column, AAG Newsletter (47):5.

Rose Award Recipients

Dr. John Frazier of Binghamton University has made crucial contributions to anti-racist knowledge and praxis in geography in his nearly four-decades-long career.  His leadership as founder of the Race, Etnicity, and Place (REP) Conference is a hallmark of his contributions to challenge racsim in the  discipline and beyond. REP is now in its second decade and features research across the discipline. Frazier has been instrumental in holding this event at a wide variety of universities, including HBCUs, to expose geography to more diverse audiences and students. Frazier's research has addressed core issues in contemporary racial and ethnic geography and immigrant experiences. His work is widely used in teaching, and has paved a pathway into the discipline for generations of geographers. Frazier has played a significant role in institutionalizing a ciritical study of race, equity and inclusion in geography and making anti-racism part of the official, programmatic life of geographers.

Dr. Audrey Kobayashi exemplifies the ideals of the AAG Harold Rose Award, with a decades-long commitment to anti-racist research that has reshaped the discipline with impact far beyond university walls. In terms of research, Kobayashi has published on anti-racist practice in top field journals and in her Presidential addresses to the AAG “The Idea of Race in Geography,” and to CAG “What’s Race Got to Do with it? The Geography of Racialization in Canada.” Kobayashi’s writing is frequently taught in graduate courses, thus impacting the next generation of geographers in the project of building an anti-racist geography. She is an impressive model of anti-racist praxis, from her work advocating for employment equity in Canada to her involvement authoring commissioned reports on anti-racist practice, to her mentoring of early career underrepresented scholars and efforts to consult with university administrators. Of Kobayashi it has been said, “Rose’s effort to confront the “Geography of Despair” remains unfinished. However, as exemplified by the steadfast work of scholar-activists such as Professor Kobayashi, this work continues.”

Dr. Katherine McKittrick of Queen’s University has not only contributed to the study of race and gender through her prodigious scholarly output, but she has been a consummate mentor to various students and faculty of color. She has also been one of the most high-profile advocates for the burgeoning field of Black Geographies. Through her work on numerous editorial boards, and as an associate editor of Antipode, she has worked to promote faculty and students of color and mentored junior scholars in writing and publishing in the discipline. Her efforts were recognized when she was awarded the inaugural Ban Righ Mentorship Award at Queen’s University. Dr. McKittrick has also been instrumental in seeing scholarship that engages with the perspectives of underrepresented persons made more visible in the discipline and in bridging the views of Black Studies, Women’s Studies, and Geography.

Laura Pulido, University of Oregon has significantly  impacted the study of race and the environment.Pulido's work on environmental racism is path-breaking and documents the pivotal role of white privilege and white supremacy in the uneven geography of environmental hazard exposure. Also, her book Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left is a seminal piece of scholarship that has driven conversations in Geography and Ethnic and Racial studies about race, politics, and anti-racist activism. In addition to these scholarly contributions, Dr. Pulido is tireless in helping new generations of scholars enter into the field. Like Harold Rose himself, who mentored generations of students at U. Wisconsin- Milwaukee, Professor Pulido's generous support of students and colleagues in geography is a vital part of her anti-racist praxis.
Dr. Melissa Wright, for her path breaking work in Mexico and on the US-Mexico border, especially for bringing attention to the plight of women and student activists in Mexico. Dr. Wright's work is a powerful testament to her committment to social justice and anti-racist research. Most importantly, her research underscores related struggles across the Americas, and highlights the use of geography and our methodological and empirical tools to understand the plight of the working poor, and provides vulnerable communities with those tools.

Dr. Joe T. Darden is a committed anti-racist whose research and civic contributions mark him assomeone dedicated to change. His research  offers a borad perspective on the many racialized groups that live in North American cities, and the ways in which their spatial insertion in the city is related to poverty. health, housing, and access to civic participation. Darden has been a strong public advocate for anti-racism, contriburing in various ways to teh Chicago Bpard of Educaiton, the State of Michigan Task Force on  Minority Health Affairs. the  National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Detroit Police Force. He has made many important contributions to teh deiscipline of geography, including servng on numeroud committees of the AAG and especially as Chair of the Enhancing Diversity Committee.


Dr. Bobby M. Wilson's career exemplifies the principles for which the Harold M. Rose Award was established. Wilson’s path-breaking research agenda examines the socio-spatial dialectics of race and class in the United States, and he demonstrates not only how racism perpetuates inequality but also how capitalism, in its structural dependence on inequality, perpetuates racism. His multi-scalar studies America’s Johannesburg and Race and Class in Birmingham are rooted in his own experiences. In childhood he struggled to understand why his mother’s best job opportunities were hundreds of miles from home. Later on, as a doctoral student at Clark University, he consolidated his direct experience under the theoretical frame of historical materialism. Generations of students of Wilson’s work have learned how struggle might be better organized and developed. His leadership roles as a geographer, researcher, writer, teacher, mentor and community resource are the reasons why the AAG is pleased to recognize Bobby Wilson with this award


Ruth Wilson GilmoreDr. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's tireless commitment to political activism, exploring complex racial and class formations, uneven development, and the African diaspora has changed the epistemological terrain of human geography as well as other cognate disciplines. Dr. Wilson Gilmore has said that her work explores both "the dire and the hopeful." Asking crucial questions about the ways movement and labor reconfigure and reshape landscapes of both production and consumption, Dr. Wilson Gilmore's career demonstrates a lifelong commitment towards asking how individuals employ power in ways that enhance life opportunities rather than guaranteeing premature death. Given her important anti-racist and anti-sexist research agenda, she is a fitting awardee for the Harold M. Rose Award.

2013 (Inaugural)

Donald DeskinsThe late Donald R. Deskins, Jr., professor emeritus of sociology and urban geography at the University of Michigan. In his highly productive career, he made important scholarly contributions to our understanding of racial dynamics in American society. He was also known as a demanding, but compassionate mentor, including to many individuals from under-represented backgrounds. His leadership inspired more grographers of color to pursue geography as a career choice. His research and active contributions honored and reflected the career of Harold M. Rose.