2015 Honorary Geographer: Peter Bol

The Association of American Geographers has named Peter Bol as its 2015 Honorary Geographer. Bol is the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. In making its selection, the AAG recognized Bol’s leadership role and engagement with the AAG to build university-wide support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research at Harvard University, and the resulting establishment of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, of which he was its first and extraordinarily successful director.

In addition to founding and developing the CGA, Bol’s long career of distinguished scholarship on the history and geography of China is of great interest to geographers and has contributed to a better understanding of China among geographers. Finally, his sustained and innovative research and scholarship in the field of historical GIS has helped shape and advance the discipline of geography. As director of the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history, Bol pioneered interdisciplinary tools, methods, and approaches that have opened fruitful new pathways for discovery and understanding for both historians and geographers.

AAG Executive Director Douglas Richardson will confer the 2015 AAG Honorary Geographer Award upon Peter K. Bol at the 2015 AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago during the “Launch of the AAG GeoHumanities Journal” session on Thursday, April 23. The session begins at 1:20 p.m. in the Gold Coast room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Learn more.

Every year, AAG bestows its Honorary Geographer Award on an individual to recognize excellence in the arts, research, teaching, and writing on geographic topics by non-geographers. Previous awardees have included biologist Stephen J. Gould, architect Maya Lin, Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman, sociologist Saskia Sassen, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and authors Calvin Trillin, Charles Mann, Barbara Kingsolver and Barry Lopez, among others.