AAG Announces 2021 Book Awards 

The AAG is pleased to announce the recipients of the three 2021 AAG Book Awards: the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, the AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography, and the AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography. The AAG Book Awards mark distinguished and outstanding works published by geography authors during the previous year, 2021. The awardees will be formally recognized at a future event when it is safe to do so. 

The John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize

This award encourages and rewards American geographers who write books about the United States which convey the insights of professional geography in language that is both interesting and attractive to lay readers. 

Profiting from the Peak book coverJohn Harner, Profiting from the Peak: Landscape and Liberty in Colorado Springs

(University Press of Colorado, 2021) 

John Harner’s Profiting from the Peak: Landscape and Liberty in Colorado Springs triumphs as an accessibly written, wonderfully illustrated historical geography of a distinctive American place. Dedicated to Peirce Lewis, the book explores how Colorado Springs profited from its singular physical setting as well as its highly distinctive cultural evolution. Laced with dozens of grayscale and color maps and photographs, Harner brings to life a landscape shaped by various forces which are engagingly summarized in nine thematic chapters. 

Harner describes the shaping power of Grass, Water, Air, Metal, Rock, Fun, War, Liberty, and God as he crafts his historical narrative, taking us from Native hunters on the short-grass plains to twenty-first century evangelists who envision the place as a Front-Range crucible of conservative politics. Harner concludes this lovingly crafted and beautifully designed book by arguing that the Springs’ special sense of place derives from its physical setting, its vibrant downtown, and from the unique cultural values of its population. 

The AAG is pleased to recognize John Harner with the 2021 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize.


The AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography

This award is given for a book written or co-authored by a geographer that conveys most powerfully the nature and importance of geography to the non-academic world. 

Atlas of the Invisible book coverJames Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, Atlas of the Invisible

(W.W. Norton & Company, 2021) 

James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s Atlas of the Invisible is a stunning collection of maps and visualizations that tells the stories of our past, present, and future – turning massive datasets into inviting, intriguing, and sometimes disturbing presentations for both geographers and a broader audience. The volume displays the expertise of Cheshire in geographic data analysis and Uberti in cartography, addressing a wide range of topics from historical geography and climate change to geopolitics and social justice. Compelling essays explore myriad ideas and debates in the discipline: the history of mapping from Alexander von Humboldt to GIS, the power of mapping from redlining and gentrification to lead poisoning and air quality, the ethics and use of mobile phone data – even the role of data and mapping in a crisis as the approaching pandemic turned the abstract and invisible into the present and deadly. 

This is a book that geographers everywhere will recommend to non-geographers with pride. The authors hope that their work will move us from being simply spectators: “We hope that at least one of our stories will have inspired you to act.” Little doubt of that, and little surprise that this volume is scheduled for translation into nine languages. A far broader audience will become happily lost in what Cheshire and Uberti have found.


The AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography

This award is given for a book written by a geographer that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography.  

Dear Science and Other Stories book coverKatherine McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories

(Duke University Press, 2021) 

Dr. Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science and Other Stories is the recipient of the 2021 American Association of Geographers’ Meridian Book Award, which recognizes a book published in the past year that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the art and science of geography. 

Dear Science presents incredibly rich conceptual and methodological contributions for researchers in human geography and beyond. This innovative book traces how multiple forms of Black scholarship, art, and indeed, Black life, move through and beyond the straits of knowledge systems co-constituted with and emergent from white supremacy. It compels the reader to contend with their own spatial praxis through a concerted meditation on metaphor and memory and advances current debates in geography by introducing insights from a broad range of archives and interdisciplinary voices. 

McKittrick’s writing on the forms of productive and destructive erasure that confront Black geographies will become necessary and likely transformative reading for scholars within and beyond the discipline. 

The AAG is pleased to recognize Katherine McKittrick with its 2021 Meridian Book Award. 

The 2021 AAG Meridian Book Award Honorable Mention 

Palm Oil Diaspora book coverCase Watkins, Palm Oil Diaspora: Afro-Brazilian Landscapes and Economies on Bahia’s Dendê Coast (Cambridge University Press, 2021) is an exemplary piece that is certain to withstand the test of time. The longstanding influence of the author’s academic lineage extending from Sauer to Parsons, Denevan, Turner, Doolittle, and Sluyter is evident in the work. Moreover, through the integration of previously uncovered evidence, this book offers new perspectives and raises questions concerning the impact of racism and colonial ways of knowing on academic scholarship. 

The Radical Bookstore book coverKimberley Kinder, The Radical Bookstore: Counterspace for Social Movements (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) presents a new paradigm emerging in American geographic thought that is oriented toward social justice. Splendidly written, The Radical Bookstore not only offers a glimpse behind the scenes of a unique type of establishment that seeks to bring voice to marginalized peoples and perspectives, but it also challenges scholars to explore social movements through the lens of constructive activism. 

    Share

AAG Announces 2022 Award Recipients

The AAG is pleased to announce the recipients of the three 2021 AAG Book Awards: the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, the AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography, and the AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography. The AAG Book Awards mark distinguished and outstanding works published by geography authors during the previous year, 2021. The awardees will be formally recognized at a future event when it is safe to do so. 

The John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize

This award encourages and rewards American geographers who write books about the United States which convey the insights of professional geography in language that is both interesting and attractive to lay readers. 

Profiting from the Peak book coverJohn Harner, Profiting from the Peak: Landscape and Liberty in Colorado Springs

(University Press of Colorado, 2021) 

John Harner’s Profiting from the Peak: Landscape and Liberty in Colorado Springs triumphs as an accessibly written, wonderfully illustrated historical geography of a distinctive American place. Dedicated to Peirce Lewis, the book explores how Colorado Springs profited from its singular physical setting as well as its highly distinctive cultural evolution. Laced with dozens of grayscale and color maps and photographs, Harner brings to life a landscape shaped by various forces which are engagingly summarized in nine thematic chapters. 

Harner describes the shaping power of Grass, Water, Air, Metal, Rock, Fun, War, Liberty, and God as he crafts his historical narrative, taking us from Native hunters on the short-grass plains to twenty-first century evangelists who envision the place as a Front-Range crucible of conservative politics. Harner concludes this lovingly crafted and beautifully designed book by arguing that the Springs’ special sense of place derives from its physical setting, its vibrant downtown, and from the unique cultural values of its population. 

The AAG is pleased to recognize John Harner with the 2021 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize.


The AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography

This award is given for a book written or co-authored by a geographer that conveys most powerfully the nature and importance of geography to the non-academic world. 

Atlas of the Invisible book coverJames Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, Atlas of the Invisible

(W.W. Norton & Company, 2021) 

James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s Atlas of the Invisible is a stunning collection of maps and visualizations that tells the stories of our past, present, and future – turning massive datasets into inviting, intriguing, and sometimes disturbing presentations for both geographers and a broader audience. The volume displays the expertise of Cheshire in geographic data analysis and Uberti in cartography, addressing a wide range of topics from historical geography and climate change to geopolitics and social justice. Compelling essays explore myriad ideas and debates in the discipline: the history of mapping from Alexander von Humboldt to GIS, the power of mapping from redlining and gentrification to lead poisoning and air quality, the ethics and use of mobile phone data – even the role of data and mapping in a crisis as the approaching pandemic turned the abstract and invisible into the present and deadly. 

This is a book that geographers everywhere will recommend to non-geographers with pride. The authors hope that their work will move us from being simply spectators: “We hope that at least one of our stories will have inspired you to act.” Little doubt of that, and little surprise that this volume is scheduled for translation into nine languages. A far broader audience will become happily lost in what Cheshire and Uberti have found.


The AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography

This award is given for a book written by a geographer that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography.  

Dear Science and Other Stories book coverKatherine McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories

(Duke University Press, 2021) 

Dr. Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science and Other Stories is the recipient of the 2021 American Association of Geographers’ Meridian Book Award, which recognizes a book published in the past year that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the art and science of geography. 

Dear Science presents incredibly rich conceptual and methodological contributions for researchers in human geography and beyond. This innovative book traces how multiple forms of Black scholarship, art, and indeed, Black life, move through and beyond the straits of knowledge systems co-constituted with and emergent from white supremacy. It compels the reader to contend with their own spatial praxis through a concerted meditation on metaphor and memory and advances current debates in geography by introducing insights from a broad range of archives and interdisciplinary voices. 

McKittrick’s writing on the forms of productive and destructive erasure that confront Black geographies will become necessary and likely transformative reading for scholars within and beyond the discipline. 

The AAG is pleased to recognize Katherine McKittrick with its 2021 Meridian Book Award. 

The 2021 AAG Meridian Book Award Honorable Mention 

Palm Oil Diaspora book coverCase Watkins, Palm Oil Diaspora: Afro-Brazilian Landscapes and Economies on Bahia’s Dendê Coast (Cambridge University Press, 2021) is an exemplary piece that is certain to withstand the test of time. The longstanding influence of the author’s academic lineage extending from Sauer to Parsons, Denevan, Turner, Doolittle, and Sluyter is evident in the work. Moreover, through the integration of previously uncovered evidence, this book offers new perspectives and raises questions concerning the impact of racism and colonial ways of knowing on academic scholarship. 

The Radical Bookstore book coverKimberley Kinder, The Radical Bookstore: Counterspace for Social Movements (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) presents a new paradigm emerging in American geographic thought that is oriented toward social justice. Splendidly written, The Radical Bookstore not only offers a glimpse behind the scenes of a unique type of establishment that seeks to bring voice to marginalized peoples and perspectives, but it also challenges scholars to explore social movements through the lens of constructive activism. 

    Share

Author N.K. Jemisin Named AAG Honorary Geographer

Photo of author N.K. Jemisin by Laura Hanifin, copyright 2015
Author N.K. Jemisin; Photo by Laura Hanifin, copyright 2015

AAG has named its 2022 Honorary Geographer: Author N.K. Jemisin. Jemisin is the world-building sci-fi author of The City We BecameThe Inheritance Trilogy, and The Broken Earth Trilogy. Her work is grounded in a keen geographical understanding of the world and of human societies.

Ms. Jemisin, a speculative fiction writer, is the recipient of numerous Hugo and Locus Awards, as well as a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship. She was named to the Time100 list in 2021. Of here work, AAG nominating member Julie Cidell of the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, says “Her fiction encompasses multiple genres, always with an eye towards how place and space matter to her characters and their worlds. She considers human-environment relationships as fundamental in her writings, including how power relations unfold and are resisted, demonstrating a keen geographical understanding throughout her varied works.”

Raised in Mobile, Alabama and New York City, Jemisin has been writing since childhood, although she considered it to be “just a hobby” until her early thirties. After attending the Viable Paradise writing workshop, she began seeking publication in earnest. Today, she is the first author in genre history to have won the Best Novel Hugo three consecutive times. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Jemisin’s work is supremely conscious of place, climate, and culture. As described in her award citation:

Struggles against gentrification, white supremacy, misogyny, and the erasure of Indigenous people are all part of a greater battle against the homogenizing forces that seek to erase the unique strengths of the city and make it a bland space subordinate to capital. In her teaching on worldbuilding (creating believable worlds for speculative fiction authors), she. She begins with the physical environment in terms of climate, plate tectonics, natural hazards, and biogeography. She asks students to consider how this environment would shape social interactions, from economic development to architecture to religion. Finally, she asks what kind of social inequities and power imbalances would exist as a result of these physical and social systems, and how human capabilities might alter environments as well. In teaching authors to think this way, she also demonstrates the connections in our world between environment, society, and justice.

Every year the Association bestows its Honorary Geographer Award on an exceptional leader, to recognize excellence in the arts, research, teaching, and writing on geographic topics by non-geographers. Previous AAG Honorary Geographer 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, Barbara Kingsolver, John McPhee and Barry Lopez, among others.

    Share

Geophysicist Marcia McNutt Honored with 2022 AAG Atlas Award

Photo of Marcia McNuttGeophysicist Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, has been awarded the AAG’s highest honor, the AAG Atlas Award. Dr. McNutt will speak at AAG 2022, reflecting on what she has learned in a trailblazing career that includes serving as President and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and as the first woman to direct the US Geological Survey, where she led numerous disaster response efforts, including earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

During the Deepwater Horizon crisis, McNutt led a team of government scientists and engineers at BP headquarters in Houston to contain the oil and cap the well. For her contributions, she was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal.

McNutt’s academic career started at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a Professor of Geophysics, and directed the MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering Joint Program. She received her BA in physics from Colorado College and her PhD in Earth sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

As AAG’s flagship honor, the Atlas Award was launched in 2010 to recognize and celebrate outstanding, internationally recognized leaders who advance world understanding in exceptional ways. The image of Atlas shouldering the weight of the world is a powerful symbol for this award program, as our nominees are those who take the weight of the world on their shoulders and move it forward, whether in science, politics, scholarship, or the arts. Dr. Marcia McNutt joins esteemed past recipients of the Atlas Award, including Primatologist Jane Goodall, international human rights and political leader Mary Robinson, civil rights icon Julian Bond, public intellectual Noam Chomsky, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

AAG is honored to offer this recognition to Dr. McNutt and welcome her to speak at AAG 2022. Find out more and register here.

    Share

Regional Divisions Announce Outstanding Student Papers During their Fall Meetings

The AAG is proud to announce the Fall 2021 student winners of the AAG Council Award for Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Student Papers at a Regional Meeting. The AAG Council Award for Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Student Papers at a Regional Meeting is designed to encourage student participation at AAG Regional Division conferences and support their attendance at AAG Annual Meetings. One graduate student and one undergraduate student in each AAG Regional Division receives this yearly award based on a paper submitted to their respective regional conference. The awardees receive $1,000 in funding for use towards their registration and travel costs to attend the AAG Annual Meeting. The board members from each region determine student award winners. 

The winners from each region will be presenting their papers in two dedicated paper sessions at the upcoming 2022 AAG Annual Meeting.

Association of Pacific Coast Geographers/Pacific Coast – APCG

Zihui Lei, Graduate Student Paper, CSU Northridge; Paper Title – “Afro-Latinx Communities in Southern California: Using Cartographies to Understand Social and Environmental Justice”
Cameron Calverley, Undergraduate Student Paper, University of San Diego; Paper Title – “Drought Impacts and Water Management in Semi-Arid Regions: Analyzing Cape Town, South Africa’s ‘Day Zero’”

East Lakes Division of the AAG – ELDAAG

Scott Fitzgerald, Graduate Student Paper, Western Michigan University; Paper Title – “Coastal Geomorphic Change Due to Shoreline Protections – A Study on Lake Michigan’s Eastern Shoreline”

Sean Whelan, Undergraduate Student Paper, The Ohio State University; Paper Title – “Establishing a Climatology of Significant Tornadoes within the Southern United States”

Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Division of the AAG – GPRM

Katie Grote, Graduate Student Paper, University of Kansas; Paper Title – “Controlling the Narrative: Critiquing the Geopolitical Agendas of U.S. Environmental Impact Assessments and Exclusion of Indigenous Communities”

Mid-Atlantic Division of the AAG – MAD

Qian Liu, Graduate Student Paper, George Mason University; Paper Title – “Cross-track Infrared Sounder Cloud Fraction Retrieval Using a Deep Neural Network”

Middle States Division of the AAG – MSDAAG

Logan Gerber-Chavez, Graduate Student Paper, University of Delaware; Paper Title – “How do we plan for compound hazards? Current state emergency plans conceptualizing modern disaster”

Eliza Leal, Undergraduate Student Paper, Colgate University; Paper Title – “Road to Reclaimation: The Impact of PGIS Efforts in the Amazon”

New England – St. Lawrence Valley – NESTVAL

Aaron Adams, Graduate Student Paper, University of Connecticut; Paper Title – “Relation between mobility, extreme weather events, and health: A case study of COVID-19 outbreaks”

Faith M. Kim, Undergraduate Student Paper, Southern Connecticut State University; Paper Title – “Racing to the polls: The voter demographics of New Haven, CT”

Southwest Division of the AAG – SWAAG

Katherine Lester, Graduate Student Paper, University of North Texas; Paper Title – “From Rurual Penalty to Suburban Resilience: Untangling the geography of suicide mortality, urbanization, and race/ethnicity”
Paul Seminara, Undergraduate Student Paper, University of Central Arkansas; Paper Title – “Identifying the Effects of Climatic and Socioeconomic Variables on the Spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas”

West Lakes Division of the AAG -WLDAAG

Austin Holland, Graduate Student Paper, University of Iowa; Paper Title – “An exploratory analysis of land cover and application of conservation easements in the US Midwest”
Jennifer Nguyen, Undergraduate Student Paper, DePaul University; Paper Title – “Chronic Illness & Energy Negotiation: Revisiting Cultural Ecology in Exploring New Avenues for Geographies of Disability”

    Share

AAG Announces Some 2022 AAG Award Recipients

The American Association of Geographers congratulates the individuals and entities named to receive an AAG Award. The awardees represent outstanding contributions to and accomplishments in the geographic field. Formal recognition of the awardees will occur at the 2022 AAG Annual Meeting in New York City during the AAG Awards Gala on Monday, February 28, 2022.

2022 Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award

The AAG bestows an annual award recognizing an individual geographer, group, or department, who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in building supportive academic and professional environments and in guiding the academic or professional growth of their students and junior colleagues. The late Susan Hardwick was the inaugural Excellence in Mentoring awardee. The Award was renamed in her honor and memory, soon after her passing.

Photo of David Lopez-CarrDavid Lopez-Carr, University of California Santa Barbara

Dr. David Lopez-Carr has demonstrated outstanding leadership in creating effective, structured mentorship avenues. Specifically, his post-doc to tenure-track mentorship program is a shining example of how to undo structural inequalities.

Under his leadership as Chair of the UC Faculty Senate Affirmative Action, Diversity, and Equity Committee, the UC system increased the funding for the UC diversity post-doc program and launched a diversity faculty mentor program. The increased funding for the UC diversity post-doc has led to several additional post-doc positions each year. These post-docs are guaranteed a tenure track position at a UC campus and so through Lopez-Carr’s leadership, several new minority faculty are hired at UC campuses annually than would otherwise have been the case.

Lopez-Carr is a role model for promoting high standards for transparency and ethical integrity. He shares with his advisees a list of expectations of him and what he expects from them, uses this to start a discussion, and adapts his mentoring accordingly. He humbly recognizes no one person can serve all the roles of an advisor and encourages students and young faculty to seek support from faculty, professionals, family, and friends.

In addition, Lopez-Carr has published extensively with students and advisees, has excellent student allocation, and most of his students are female or from underrepresented groups and many are also first-generation university students. His students and mentees have incredible records of success. They have received over 70 total awards under Lopez-Carr’s guidance, including several Fulbright Fellowships, NSF Graduate Fellowships, NSF Dissertation Improvement Awards, and NASA Earth System Science Fellowships.

His approach and work could be replicated in other departments and institutions and demonstrates clear, intentional efforts to diversify the field.

For all these reasons, the AAG is pleased to recognize David Lopez-Carr with the 2022 Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award.

2022 Diversity and Inclusion Award

The Diversity and Inclusion Award (previously Enhancing Diversity Award) honors those geographers who have pioneered efforts toward, or actively participate in efforts towards encouraging a more diverse discipline.

Photo collage: from left to right: Beverley Mullings, Kate Parizeau and Linda PeakeBeverley Mullings, Queen’s University; Kate Parizeau, University of Guelph; and Linda Peake, York University

Beverley Mullings, Kate Parizeau, and Linda Peake are Canadian-based academic geographers whose collaborative work has increased the visibility of the mental health crisis within AAG and the North American academy.

The AAG Diversity & Inclusion Committee was impressed by their translation of informal, kitchen-table conversations with graduate students into highly organized efforts that foreground this pressing topic in scholarly journals and professional meetings. This translation process began with the trio’s first academic talk on mental health in academia at the 2013 Feminist Geography Workshop at the University of Guelph. Since then, they have published widely on this topic in a variety of geographic journals and organized sessions at annual and regional meetings in the US and Canada.

Moreover, their efforts have resulted in the formation of the AAG Mental Health Task Force (2015-18) and an AAG Affinity Group on Mental Health in the Academy (2019). The committee recognizes the longstanding and continuing work of Dr. Mullings, Dr. Parizeau and Dr. Peake as contributing to ideals of justice, equity, and inclusion within geography.

The AAG is therefore pleased to recognize them with its 2022 Diversity & Inclusion Award.

Photo of Austin MardonAustin Mardon, John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre

Austin Mardon is an adjunct assistant professor at John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre whose research and service advocates for individuals living with chronic mental disorders. Despite his diagnosis with schizophrenia during graduate school, he completed his PhD in geography and embarked on a multidisciplinary career that has spanned physical geography, planetary science, mental health, political history, and theology. He is a prolific researcher whose record includes over 70 books on these wide-ranging topics as well as journal articles featured in Nature and Science.

Aside from Dr. Mardon’s impactful scholarship, the AAG Diversity & Inclusion Committee was struck by the extent of his advocacy and mentorship. Speaking from a community member’s perspective, Dr. Mardon has provided sustained leadership to regional chapters of the Schizophrenia Society, the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and the Alberta Mental Health Self-Help Network. More recently, Dr. Mardon has worked nationally to implement “Sharpen the Quill,” a program promoting student writing and literacy around COVID-19’s varied societal impacts. Carrying the flag of geography, Dr. Mardon’s sustained work by, for, and with the mental health and disability communities is a model for justice, diversity, and inclusion worthy of recognition.

The AAG is therefore pleased to recognize him with its 2022 Diversity & Inclusion Award.

2022 AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography

The AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography is given annually to an individual geographer or team of geographers that has demonstrated originality, creativity and significant intellectual breakthroughs in geography. The award includes a prize of $1,000.

Photo of Kathryn YusoffKathryn Yusoff, Queen Mary University London

Professor Kathryn Yusoff is a self-described professor of “inhuman geography” in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, after previous Lectureships at Lancaster University and the University of Exeter.
Yusoff is widely published in prominent journals of Geography as well as interdisciplinary journals of the humanities. Her research addresses political aesthetics, social theory, and questions of ‘Geologic Life’ within the proposed geologic epoch of the Anthropocene. Her 2019 book, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (University of Minnesota Press) examines the relationship between geology and subjectivity and seeks to recenter the question of race in the context of the Anthropocene.

Dr. Yusoff’s research draws from contemporary feminist philosophy, critical human geography as well as the earth sciences. She is particularly interested in the opportunities that the Anthropocene presents for rethinking the interactions between the earth sciences and human geography in the “geo-social formations” of Anthropogenic change.

Dr. Yusoff has been actively engaged in the arts as a Curator of “POLAR: the Art & Science of Climate Change,” a multi-disciplinary project about the curation and production of climate change knowledge in the polar regions; and “Weather Permitting,” a collaborative creative research group that investigates weather and climate change at the intersection of arts and sciences. She’s also made an appearance as “Time Traveller” in a film/installation by the Otolith Group, entitled INFINITY MINUS INFINITY, which draws on and is inspired by her theorization of the racial formation of geology.

For all these reasons, the AAG is pleased to recognize Professor Kathryn Yusoff as the recipient of the 2022 AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography.

2022 AAG 2022 Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice

The Rose Award was created to honor Harold M. Rose, who was a pioneer in conducting research on the condition faced by African Americans. The award honors geographers who have a demonstrated record of this type of research and active contributions to society, and is awarded to individuals who have served to advance the discipline through their research, and who have also had an impact on anti-racist practice.

Photo of Caroline FariaCaroline Faria, The University of Texas at Austin

The AAG Harold M. Rose Award recognizes anti-racist scholarship and practice, drawing attention to the connections between research, social justice, and social change.

Dr. Caroline Faria stands out for her sustained engagement with debates in feminist geographies, Black geographies, and postcolonial geographies, which she has deeply entwined with her mentorship praxis and decolonial vision. Dr. Faria’s research program addresses a wide range of themes that attend to belonging in East Africa, feminist political ecologies, and embodied spatial knowledges. She makes key interventions in human geography through intersectional analyses of racial, gendered, and colonial power. Her research is paired with an ongoing commitment to unsettle normative methodologies by unveiling how power underpins knowledge production. In addition to her formidable single-authored work, she has co-authored with undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty, demonstrating her dedication to cooperative scholarship and mentorship. This latter practice, mentorship through research collaboration and writing, is enhanced by her leadership in national and international organizing and leadership. The Feminist Geography Collective, which she formed in 2016, is an amazingly supportive research hub that provides a space for young women geographers and geographers of color to share ideas, develop research and teaching skills, present papers, produce alternative digital maps, and engage in activist scholarship. Further, Dr. Faria contributes extensively to diversity and racial justice initiatives at the university level, leading efforts to hire and support Black geographers at her home institution, the University of Texas at Austin. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion is also demonstrated by her community-building and formal mentoring work within the AAG and the International Geographical Union. The same commitment is demonstrated in her teaching and pedagogical practice, which have been recognized by three major awards at UT-Austin.

Harold M. Rose’s work is a reminder that scholars must go beyond theoretical understandings of racism to make a difference in actual communities. Dr. Faria’s stunning and seamless combination of research, mentorship, teaching, and community building carries the torch of Rose’s work. The AAG is pleased to celebrate Dr. Faria’s contribution to this tradition and to the real impacts she has made on her students, her colleagues and home institution, and on the broader interdisciplinary project of intersectional anti-racist feminist geographies.

    Share

AAG is Proud to Announce the 2022 AAG Honors

Each year, the AAG invites nominations for AAG Honors to be conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement or welfare of the profession. The AAG Honors Committee is charged with making award recommendations for each category, with no more than two awards given in any one category.  This year, the AAG Honors Committee and the AAG Council are pleased to announce the following AAG Honorees to be recognized during the 2022 AAG Annual Meeting.

2022 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors

Photo of Douglas Richardson, June 29, 2016. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Douglas Richardson, Harvard University

The 2022 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors is awarded to Dr. Douglas Richardson for his visionary and far-reaching contributions to the discipline. In 1980, he founded and led GeoResearch, Inc. which invented and patented a real-time, interactive GPS/GIS technology which enabled the continuous creation of accurate maps and their simultaneous integration with GIS. This was truly visionary given that this was developed was long before even cell phones were ubiquitous. Dr. Richardson’s work influenced the development of new horizons for research and applications of geography to transportation, public health, and the environmental sciences. From 2003 to 2019, Dr. Richardson served as the Executive Director of the AAG and brought the same visionary outlook to the organization. At the time of his appointment, the AAG was in a fragile position in terms of finances and membership. To address this, Doug Richardson renegotiated existing contracts, built external partnerships, garnered federal research grants, revamped AAG’s membership services, and took other actions to put AAG on sound financial footing. Dr. Richardson then successfully implemented a broad and inclusive vision for an AAG that has led to the expansion of the AAG’s membership to 12,000 members across nearly 100 countries. Three areas of particular impact were research, publications, and public policy.

Dr. Richardson strengthened the AAG’s capacity and infrastructure for obtaining external funding for geography-related research projects. He hired talented research staff and built productive collaborations between the AAG and academic geographers. As a result of his leadership, AAG received federal funding for a range of projects. For example, NIH provided funding for a project that brought GIScientists together with biomedical researchers to explore research frontiers at the intersection of geography and health research.

Another area of major contribution is publications. Under Dr. Richardson’s leadership, the AAG launched two new journals, GeoHumanities and the AAG Review of Books, bringing new audiences to geography. Another major project was the publication of the 15-volume International Encyclopedia of Geography, for which he still serves as Editor-in-Chief. Updated annually, it has become the most comprehensive and authoritative reference work on geography. The volume received the prestigious CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Title of 2017 by the Association of College and Research Libraries. Dr. Richardson is a prolific scholar who, since 2003, has co-authored or co-edited five other books (The Geographical Dimensions of Terrorism; Geography and Drug Abuse; GeoHumanities: Art, History and Text at the Edge of Place; Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds; and Space-Time Integration in Geography and GIScience), as well as dozens of articles and book chapters.

Dr. Richardson has also made a lasting impact in the area of public advocacy for geography. He created a Public Policy Research Program with dedicated staff to monitor congressional bills of relevance to the discipline and to lobby on behalf of geography. Thanks to this infrastructure, AAG was able to mobilize a strong response to threats to science/geoscience funding a few years ago, effect positive changes in federal and state K-12 geography education legislation and maintain strong and open federal GIS policies for geographers.

Taken together, Douglas Richardson has had a career of remarkable distinction during which his vision and dedication has place the AAG and the discipline of geography in a position of strength. He is eminently deserving of AAG’s Lifetime Achievement Honors.

Photo of Clyde WoodsClyde Woods, (posthumous)

The American Association of Geographers awards the AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors to Dr. Clyde Woods for his unique and path-breaking impact on the fields of Geography, Black Studies, Environmental Justice, Urban and Regional Planning, and Southern Studies. His scholarship, teaching, rigorous and “life-altering” mentoring, and visionary leadership reshaped fields well beyond academia. His work challenges the systematic exclusion of experiences of Black communities from geographical and social science scholarship while challenging the narrative that the violence and deprivations of racism and capitalism were inevitable or natural. Woods’ work transformed what was possible in Black geographical scholarship while laying a foundation to confront the crises made more acute over the past two decades — authoritarian populism, state and extra-legal racial violence, rising inequality, and environmental catastrophe.

In Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta (1998), Woods discovered the “blues epistemology”—centering the complex systems of explanation and understanding developed by Black southerners within and in response to the plantation regime. Wood’s work carved a space and set an agenda for a geographical scholarship that diagnoses social injustice while centering sustainable and equitable geographies. Wood wrote other paradigm-shaping books and articles–including In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, Black Geographies, and the Politics of Place (a collaboration with Katherine McKittrick). The posthumously published works Black California Dreamin’ and Development Drowned and Reborn signify the increasing uptake of his ideas by geographers over the past decade reflects his influence in expanding the scope and relevance of a field that he continues to shape through his scholarship and legacy.

Professor Woods’s work interwove scholarship, activism, and pedagogy. Wood’s activism challenged post-Katrina restoration plans and brought financial restitution to Katrina residents defrauded by Louisiana’s Road Home Program. This commitment to activism brought him in contact with various people in many different locations—both within and outside the university setting. While the college students he educated frequently became community organizers, Woods also engaged everyday people—barbers, unhoused people, community leaders, and children—as genuine thinkers and theorists of the world.

His pedagogical approach was student-centered, and he made time to work with and motivate students, individually and collectively, in his classes and through independent projects. Whether intentional or unintentional, the mentorship of scholars like Woods kept many Black students in the discipline of Geography. Before there was a space for Black Geographies at AAG meetings, Woods personally sat down with graduate students and junior scholars, inquiring about their projects while always offering honest feedback. Particularly for Black graduate students and junior scholars, Woods might be one of the few Black faces that they saw at large, primarily white AAG gatherings.

Since his death in 2011, Woods’s scholarship and legacy have only grown more influential, shaping the transformative subfield of Black Geographies, providing critical texts, methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and practices of community-engaged activism to reinforce his impact and life’s work and gifts to humanity.

For all these reasons, the AAG is proud to confer its inaugural, posthumous 2022 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors upon Dr. Clyde Woods.

2022 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors

Photo of Laura PulidoLaura Pulido, University of Oregon

The 2022 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Award is awarded to Laura Pulido for her foundational and sustained contributions in environmental justice and Latinx geographies and to human geography more broadly. Pulido’s sustained works have been recognized with the AAG’s highest book awards for A People’s Guide to Los Angeles; Development Drowned and Reborn (by Clyde Woods, co-edited with Jordan T. Camp); and Black, Brown Yellow and Left: Radical activism in Los Angeles. Her foundational article on “Rethinking Environmental Racism: White privilege and urban development in Southern California” remains one of the most cited articles in the Annals of the AAG for its clear and accessible call to move from individuals to a structural understanding of environmental racism. Over three decades, she has published transformative work on social movements and racial capitalism and helped bring crucial interventions in the Black radical tradition into print. Her research has been funded by a wide range of agencies including the Ford, Woodrow Wilson and Guggenheim Foundations. One of the outstanding characteristics of her scholarship is her call for ethical scholar-activism and for scholars to build accountable relationships within and beyond the university. Laura has garnered numerous research grants and awards in support of her research, including from the National Science Foundation, the Antipode Foundation Scholar Activist Fund, and numerous university awards. Pulido’s scholarship has gone beyond simply contributing to human geographic scholarship, instead she has helped to transform human geography by developing new ways to study the intersections among urban political ecology, critical studies of race, and social movements.

Dr. Pulido’s influence is marked not only by her published works, but also by her sustained mentoring focused on first generation scholars and scholars of color. She has an unbroken record of service for over 20 years on the editorial board of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, in addition to serving on the boards of 10 other academic journals and book series editor. Her article in The Professional Geographer, “Reflections on a white discipline,” pointed to the need for anti-racism work in the discipline of geography. Pulido has worked tirelessly to help the discipline of geography meet this challenge through her generous mentorship of students of color and serving as a foundational influence for the Latinx Geographies Specialty Group and Antipode’s Institute for the Geographies of Justice. We honor Dr. Pulido for her consistent contributions toward ethical practice and environmental justice in the discipline of geography.

Photo of Shaowen Wang

Shaowen Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Shaowen Wang, a 2022 recipient of the AAG’s Distinguished Scholarship Honors, has played a leading role in the development of cyber-based geographic information science (cyberGIS) as a transdisciplinary scientific approach that develops and integrates new computational methods, techniques, and instruments with geospatial knowledge, spatial analytics, and their applications in a broad range of research domains. Wang’s research has bridged a broad range of topics ranging from software enhancements to analyses of fundamental differences between serial and parallel computational architectures when addressing geospatial problems. Wang and his collaborators have disseminated their findings and insights through more than 160 peer-reviewed works.

Wang has a played a pivotal role in bold initiatives that brought together researchers from multiple institutions in geography, geographic information science (GIScience), computer science, and myriad other fields. A hallmark of his work has been his role in forming and leading research teams from multiple institutions and diverse disciplines that have garnered external funding and produced successive waves of cyberGIS enhancements. Wang has been a principal investigator for more than $30,000,000 in awards, with industry support complemented by funding from a diverse range of U.S. government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Institutes of Health.

Wang’s transdisciplinary community-building skills has been evident in numerous different endeavors. As founding director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Wang oversaw projects that developed new software, research frameworks, and analytic approaches to address problems in hydrology, public health, agriculture, environmental sustainability, and other realms. Working with UIUC’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Wang spearheaded the development of the first supercomputer focused on geospatial computation. He led a broadly based effort to establish one of five new national institutes supported through NSF’s Harnessing the Data Revolution initiative.

This institute will create an integrative discovery environment for harnessing geospatial data to increase understanding of interconnected interactions across diverse socioeconomic-environmental systems in order to enhance community resilience and environmental sustainability.

Wang has always demonstrated a strong commitment to interconnections among service, research, and teaching. He partnered with the AAG and other organizations to conduct a series of summer schools focused on developing the next-generation workforce for advancing cyberGIS and geospatial data science. He created a fellowship program to advance covid-19 research and education through reproducible geospatial science. He has had great passion for and extensive experience in leading and contributing to initiatives and activities focused on enhancing justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. His numerous research and education projects have engaged many scholars, students, and stakeholders with diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

Because of his many significant accomplishments; his boundless energy, advocacy, and passion for GIScience and geography; and his remarkable ability to anticipate future needs and address them by building intellectual bridges and working across interdisciplinary boundaries, the American Association of Geographers awards Distinguished Scholarship Honors to Shaowen Wang.

2022 Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education

Photo of Jerry MitchellJerry T. Mitchell, University of South Carolina

The 2022 Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education is awarded to Dr. Jerry T. Mitchell for his exceptional service to the discipline of geography and unique contributions to the geographic education community. From 2004 to 2021, Dr. Mitchell served as the Coordinator of the South Carolina Geographic Alliance (SCGA). He has received more than $5 million in grants to support geographic education and has provided pre-service training, professional development, and geographic content lectures for more than 40,000 educators throughout South Carolina. Under Jerry’s direction, the South Carolina Geographic Alliance developed the highly publicized and successful Geofest conferences, held twice annually to bring together educators from across the state of South Carolina to learn and share innovations for teaching geography. Jerry was the lead author of the South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards in Geography that reach more than 700,000 students taking geography in grades 3, 7, and 9. For his geographic education work in South Carolina, Dr. Mitchell also received the South Carolina Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness.

In 2018, Jerry received the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) President’s Award for Service, and he became the President of NCGE in 2020. As President of NCGE, he made a point of ensuring that the organization’s annual meeting, held in December 2020 in conjunction with the National Council for Social Studies, prominently addressed issue of race, place, and social justice in the meetings’ talks and keynote presentations. Jerry was also selected as a National Geographic Explorer in 2019 by the National Geographic Society. Dr. Mitchell served as the editor for the Journal of Geography from 2010-2019 where he oversaw the publication of nearly a decade of geography teacher resources and peer-reviewed research that helped to define contemporary geographic education.

Dr. Mitchell has shown a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion through his personal publications, his student advising, his outreach to teachers and students across the state of South Carolina, and in his media engagement. Over the past several years, Jerry has co-authored pieces in Journal of GeographyThe Geography Teacher, and Social Education that assist teachers in developing and teaching lessons that advance critical understandings of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Jerry’s research has explored the connectivity between the Carolina Lowcountry and Africa through rice cultivation, and he has contributed to scholarship exploring the complex histories and geographies connecting hospitality and slavery and the role of social power and locational discrimination in naming streets for famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Through his coauthored research on the segregation era travel guide The Negro Motorist Green Book, Dr. Mitchell integrates geography and language arts to help educators and their students explore the racial politics of African American mobility, highlighting the resistant agency that Black travelers exercised in planning trips to navigate racially hostile highways and accommodations. For his many contributions to geographic education and beyond, the AAG awards Dr. Jerry T. Mitchell with this year’s Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education.

2022 AAG Gilbert White Distinguished Public Service Honors

Photo of Craig ColtonCraig Colten, Louisiana State University

Craig E. Colten receives the 2022 AAG Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors for his many contributions while a government employee during his early career and, later, while an academic. After earning a 1984 PhD at Syracuse University under the mentorship of Donald W. Meinig, he applied his skill in historical geography at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Love Canal disaster of the 1970s had prompted state governments to identify historic industrial sites contaminated with toxic waste, and Colten led an interdisciplinary team to develop a hazardous waste information system, a pioneering application of GIS to primary sources such as Sanborn maps. During the early 1990s, his ongoing research on toxic environmental hazards supported Superfund litigation by the US Department of Justice. In 1996, however, he transitioned into an academic position at Texas State University, both as a faculty member in the Geography Department as well as the Director of the Center for Hazards and Environmental Geography.

Since 2000, as a professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University, he has contributed seminal research on environmental racism and the environmental history of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. While the author of many publications that negotiate the borderlands of academic research and public policy, a series of monographs well captures his historical perspective on the shifting interface of water, land, and life along the Gulf Coast: An Unnatural Metropolis: Wresting New Orleans from Nature (2005), Perilous Place and Powerful Storms: Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana (2009), Southern Waters: The Limits to Abundance (2014), and State of Disaster: A Historical Geography of Louisiana’s Land Loss Crisis (2021).

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as the public sought to understand the shocking devastation of one of America’s iconic cities, he demonstrated through his many media appearances and newspaper essays just how essential historical geography is for understanding people and places. Now emeritus, he and his many PhD graduates continue to apply their research to support communities threatened by flooding and coastal land loss. As one of his nomination letters puts it, “the highest art of an academic’s work is to be able to work within several worlds simultaneously and to directly provide voice for one’s ideas and knowledge in the halls of power and on the stage of public debate. It is a rare academic that can achieve this … highest bar of achievement that Gilbert White left for us. And it is [a] bar that Craig certainly passes at the highest level.”

2022 AAG Media Achievement Award

Photo of Joshua Inwood

Joshua Inwood, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Joshua Inwood is the recipient of the 2021 Media Achievement award for his distinguished record of achievement in media engagement on important topics that advance societal understanding of racism, civil rights, and social justice. Dr. Joshua Inwood currently holds a joint appointment as a Professor in the Department of Geography and the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University. He is also an affiliated faculty member in the African American Studies Program. Since earning his Ph.D. in 2007, Dr. Inwood has authored and co-authored more than 35 op-eds, including 8 articles with The Conversation that have attracted over half a million readers. Many of these contributions have been distributed or recirculated in prominent news outlets such as Newsweek, the Associated Press, the Huffington Post, and the Houston Chronicle. Additionally, Dr. Inwood has promoted the discipline of geography and articulated an anti-racist view on social issues through interviews with various local, national, and international print, television and radio media outlets, including USA Today, The Atlantic Magazine, PBS, The Christian Science Monitor, France24, and El Confidencial. In particular, Dr. Inwood’s research has been quoted in two Atlantic articles that advanced arguments in support of a truth commissions for confronting social and political issues such as the #MeToo movement and the January 6th capital riot. Throughout his career, Dr. Inwood has demonstrated and advocated for an ethos of public engagement among academics by leading initiatives within the AAG and through the Penn State Humanities Center to better prepare geographers and humanities researchers to engage with the media. Toward that end, Dr. Inwood has also consulted directly with the media to advance stronger connections between media and academics. Further, Dr Inwood, alongside Dr. Derek Aldermann, co-edited a special forum on public intellectualism in the AAG journal Professional Geographer, which argued for the need for media-savvy and community-engaged geographers. Dr. Inwood has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and book reviews with publications in leading journals such as the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and Geoforum. Dr. Inwood and his research group have secured multiple external grants to support his civil rights research, including two recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to evaluate a truth and reconciliation commission in Greensboro, NC, and to explore the use of geospatial intelligence
by civil rights organizations. Collectively, Dr. Inwood’s record of success with media engagement and scholarly research has garnered an international scholarly reputation for a commitment toward communicating counter-narratives to anti-justice and white supremacy movements. For these accomplishments, the AAG Honors Committee wholeheartedly supports his receipt of the AAG Media Achievement award.

VerySpatial.com logo - the earth wearing headphonesSue Bergeron, Frank LaFone, Barbara MacLennan, and Jesse Rouse VerySpatial.com

The 2022 AAG Media Achievement Award goes to VerySpatial and its four co-founders and hosts: Jesse Rouse (Instructor, Department of Geology and Geography, UNC Pembroke), Sue Bergeron (Associate Professor, Department of Politics and Geography, Coastal Carolina University), Frank LaFone (Senior Internet Applications Programmer, WV GIS Technical Center) and Barbara MacLennan (Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Fairmont State University). VerySpatial is an internationally known, award-winning podcast that has provided outstanding geographic content and teaching methods to geography enthusiasts and educators around the world for 15 years. VerySpatial was founded the same year as YouTube and before the first iPhone appeared, demonstrating the co-founders’ innovation in media achievement. Since then, the hosts have regularly produced topical podcasts appreciated by a loyal and dedicated worldwide following.

VerySpatial seeks to point out how Geography and geospatial technologies filter into our digital and daily lives. The content is a mix of academic issues, current commercial and industrial advances in Geospatial technologies, and contemporary events. This combination has been important in bringing together material from published academic works in the context of recent events and trends. In doing so, the podcast monitors the pulse of geographical events and geospatial advances and maintains a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for geography. The content has ranged from political geography, spatial statistics, spatial privacy, virtual reality, interviews with world-renowned geographers, and hundreds of other topics over the course of 500 hours of material spanning over 650 episodes. The website receives approximately 180,000 page views, 75,000 visits, and 14,500 new visitors per month from around the world.

VerySpatial has been recognized for its contributions to geographic education: ESRI awarded the podcast a Special Achievement in GIS award in 2007; National Geographic listed VerySpatial in their top education blogs for four years in a row; and iTunes rated the podcast in the top 5% of all K–12 podcasts. In 2020, the AAG Guide to GeoWeek Activities contained suggestions for participating in Geography Awareness Week including listening to VerySpatial. The AAG Media Achievement Award not only adds to this list of honors bestowed upon VerySpatial, but also demonstrates the gratefulness that the field of geography has for this group of people for dedicating the last fifteen years to making geography exciting and accessible to thousands of people around the world every week.

    Share

Graduate Students Honored During AAG Regional Division Annual Fall Meetings for Outstanding Work

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) announces the recipients of the 2016 Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at a Regional Meeting. Graduate student AAG members from around the U.S. participated by submitting to their region’s paper competition and attending their regional division fall meeting. A student paper from seven out of nine AAG regions was chosen by a jury of AAG regional division leaders and the honors for this inaugural award were given at each of the division meetings.

The award is designed to encourage graduate student participation at AAG regional division meetings and support their attendance at major AAG annual meetings. Each awardee will receive $1,000 in funding for use towards the awardee’s registration and travel costs to the AAG annual meeting.

Jacob Watkins, recipient of the East Lakes (ELDAAG) division’s award, is a master’s student at Western Michigan University. The award was presented by AAG President Glen MacDonald and ELDAAG Regional Councillor Patrick Lawrence.

Paul Miller, recipient of the Southeast division’s award, is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia.

Melody Lynch, recipient of the  New England\St. Lawrence Valley division’s award, is a master’s student at McGill University.

Ashley Marie Fent, recipient of the Pacific Coast division’s award, is a Ph.D. student at the University of California – Los Angeles.

The Middle States and Mid-Atlantic regional divisions did not issue an award in this category this year.

Learn more about submitting a paper next year

Kathleen Epstein, recipient of the Great Plains/Rocky Mountains (GPRM) division’s award, is a master’s student at Montana State University. Her paper is titled, “The multiple meanings of ecosystem management: A historical analysis of modern environmental conflict in the Greater Yellowstone.” Pictured from left to right are AAG Executive Director Doug Richardson, Vice President of GPRM Brandon J. Vogt, awardee Kathleen Epstein and AAG Past President Sarah Bednarz.
Stephanie Mundis, recipient of the Southwest (SWAAG) divisions’ award, is a master’s student at New Mexico State University. Her paper is titled “Spatial distribution of mosquitoes that vector Zika, dengue, and West Nile Virus in New Mexico” and included co-authors: Michaela Buenemann, Kathryn A. Hanley and Nathan Lopez-Brody.
Jason LaBrosse, recipient of the West Lakes division’s award, is a master’s student at the University of Northeastern Illinois. His paper is titled, “The Relationship Between Concentrated Commodified Pets Populations and the Urban Environment of Chicago.”
    Share

AAG Announces Undergraduate Program Excellence Awards

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) has named two recipients of the 2021 Award for Bachelors’ Program Excellence in Geography: The Geographic Science Program at James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia, and the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The annual award and cash prize for Bachelors’ Program Excellence is one of three subcategories in AAG’s Program Excellence Awards, honoring Geography departments and Geography programs within blended departments that have significantly enhanced the prominence and reputation of Geography as a discipline and demonstrated the characteristics of a strong and engaged academic unit. The Bachelors’ Program award honors non-PhD-granting Geography programs at the baccalaureate level. Such programs play an important role in educating future geographers and promoting the discipline to a wider world, but tend not to be included in national rankings within the Academy.

JMU’s Geographic Science Program has shown remarkable growth over the last nine years, increasing from 156 to 240 majors, and employing 9.5 full-time tenure-track faculty. The program has invested in high-impact teaching practices that engage undergraduate students in field experiences in water resources, advanced cultural geography, and biogeography, often in the context of community engagement and service learning, both locally and abroad, and project-based instruction with partners such as Shenandoah National Park. The program is also known for its collegiality and maintenance of connections with its alumni.

Kennesaw State University’s Department of Geography and Anthropology has shown extraordinary energy and success in its promotion of geography on and off campus, since its founding in 1997. Offering six degree tracks — a Geospatial Sciences B.S., a Geography B.A., a Geography Minor, an Environmental Studies Minor, a Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences, and a Certificate in Land Surveying–the program serves about 7,000 students per year with 15 full-time faculty, 4 limited term full-time faculty, and 9 part-time faculty. Emphasizing experiential learning, professional experiences, high-impact practices, community engagement, internships and co-ops, teaching assistantships, and study abroad opportunities, the department tailors its coursework for students based on their educational interests and career goals.

“Undergraduate programs in Geography are the lifeblood of the discipline,” said Gary Langham, Executive Director of AAG. “These programs open so many doors to students, preparing them for careers in every sector and virtually every imaginable field, from environmental science to public health to business logistics, and so much more. We commend James Madison University and Kennesaw State University for their innovation in attracting and engaging students and their communities.”

    Share

AAG Announces 2020 Book Awards

The AAG is pleased to announce the recipients of the three 2020 AAG Book Awards: the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, the AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography, and the AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography. The AAG Book Awards mark distinguished and outstanding works published by geography authors during the previous year, 2020. The awardees will be formally recognized at a future event when it is safe to do so.

The John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize

This award encourages and rewards American geographers who write books about the United States which convey the insights of professional geography in language that is both interesting and attractive to lay readers.
Adam MandelmanThe Place with No Edge: An Intimate History of People, Technology, and the Mississippi River Delta (LSU Press, 2020)

Adam Mandelman’s The Place with No Edge: An Intimate History of People, Technology, and the Mississippi River Delta offers an engagingly written interpretation of one of North America’s most unique cultural landscapes. Probing the environmental history of the lower Mississippi Delta, Mandelman reveals the intimate interplay of people, technology, politics, land, and water in a setting that for centuries has challenged and frustrated Euro-Americans. What he discovers is a rich story of how humans modified the delta environment as sugar cane farmers, rice producers, timber harvesters, oil drillers, and petrochemical manufacturers dramatically transformed the regional landscape. He documents how the technologies they utilized actually brought the Delta’s culturally diverse peoples into more intimate, interdependent relationships with their complex natural setting.

Rejecting the simple argument that this was merely another example of people destroying an environment they did not understand, Mandelman encourages us to appreciate the complexity of that human-land relationship. He argues that people need to look more closely at the interplay of technology and nature and to responsibly intervene in respectful ways where possible.

Mandelman’s nuanced narrative explains why this is so important and he suggests how it is necessary to understand and make sustainable this exotic setting for the people, plants, and animals that call it home. Mandelman’s work is indeed an excellent example of the kind of geographical research and writing recognized by the AAG John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize.

The AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography

This award is given for a book written or co-authored by a geographer that conveys most powerfully the nature and importance of geography to the non-academic world.

Alison Mountz, The Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020)

Alison Mountz’s monograph The Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago is an important, timely and critical intervention in debates over the deadly curtailment of refugee rights globally.

By carefully charting the hidden geographies in which forced migrants are increasingly detained, Mountz provides a clear account of how contemporary states are using territory and off-shore management sites to deny access to asylum. While drawing on sophisticated geographical theories in its analysis of these deadly developments, the book is never intimidating. It is certainly sobering and overwhelming at moments, but by drawing readers in with compelling and sometimes surprising stories it remains at once accessible and alluring. It shows how a wide array of works by other geographers – from scholars of migration and borders to theorists of geopolitics, precarity and spaces of exception – can help us and a wider public come to terms with the practical death of asylum as a human right.

By thereby connecting the fates of real human beings with the construction of spaces where being human is repeatedly denied to the point of death, the book also invites readers to reflect deeply on how their own human geographies are bound up with those of others deemed illegal and unwanted. It is an urgent indictment of our times, but also of the intersecting territories of sovereignty and security in which borders demarcate belonging with such deadly consequence.

The AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography

This award is given for a book written by a geographer that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography.

Chie SakakibaraWhale Snow (University of Arizona Press, 2020)

In Whale SnowChie Sakakibara pioneers a vision of surviving humankind and kin safely segueing a conjoined path in the future. On the frontier between tundra and ocean, she engaged in the kind of years-long fieldwork that exemplary geographers have pursued for generations in an effort to understand the why of where. Recognizing that whales and whaling remain integral to Inupiat lifeways, despite the onslaught of globalization and climate change, her work explores and elucidates the significance of bowhead whales to the persistence of Inupiaq culture and community.

This book offers a rare, qualified, and yet substantiated optimism to readers around the world. Hers is a vision of “being in a togetherness” that perseveres against myriad adversities on the near horizon, and that can continue to do so far into the future. This research is exemplary in its
sustained commitment to the community. It demonstrates the best of embedded, ethically-driven, and collaborative knowledge production. Those who seek, through their own studies with diverse cultural communities of practice, to overcome – as do the whaling Inupiat of Alaskan North Slope Borough, in unity with their animal kin — the existential threats of our unprecedented and contingent present will be inspired and transformed by reading this book.

In so many ways, Whale Snow epitomizes the essence of geography as an art, science, method, literary practice, and a way of understanding and relating to the world.

    Share