AAG Announces 2020 Class of AAG Fellows

The AAG Fellows is a program, started in 2018, to recognize geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography.

In addition to honoring geographers, AAG Fellows will serve the AAG as an august body to address key AAG initiatives including creating and contributing to AAG initiatives; advising on AAG strategic directions and grand challenges; and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. Similarly to other scientific organizations, the honorary title of AAG Fellow is conferred for life. Once designated, AAG Fellows remain part of this ever-growing advisory body. The AAG Fellows Selection Committee has recommended these Fellows to serve as the 2020 class.

Stuart Aitken, San Diego State University

Stuart Aitken is a Distinguished Professor and June Burnett Endowed Chair of Geography at San Diego State University. His career to date spans nearly four decades. From his start as a teaching assistant at Miami University, Ohio, to his current position at San Diego State University, Professor Aitken has dedicated his professional career to the promotion and societal relevance of Geography.

Aitken is a highly renowned, greatly respected, and widely published scholar of social, cultural, and urban geography. He is a pioneer in the fields of children’s geographies; and is an authority on geographic methods, including qualitative approaches. Aitken has authored, co-authored, or edited innumerable books, refereed articles, book chapters, other reports, proceedings papers, and sundry writings. As testimony to his scholarship, he has been widely honored for his scholarship—evidence of the salience of his research beyond the sheer volume of work.

Most recently, in 2018, Aitken was named Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor; in 2013 he was named Jane Burnett Endowed Chair in Child and Family Geographies; he holds an honorary professorship at the University of Wales, Aberystwth and is an invited member of the Royal Norwegian Society for Science and Letters.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Stuart Aitken the title of AAG Fellow.

Richard Boehm, Texas State University

Richard Boehm is a Professor and Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Chair in Geographic Education, the first endowed chair awarded at Texas State University. He is the Director of the Gilbert M. Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education and Co-Director of the National Center for Research in Geography Education. Boehm was the Co-Coordinator of the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education from 1986 to 2010; which is now back under his direction. He also served as the Chair of the Department of Geography from 1977 to 1994 at Texas State University.

Throughout his distinguished career, Boehm has continuously worked to improve the culture of support for early career scholars in geography and geography education. Over the years, he has organized early career scholar conferences that introduced the next generation of geographers to cutting-edge research developments in the field of geography education. Whatever capacity we have today to conduct research in geography education is largely an outcome of his tireless devotion to junior and senior scholars in this field—one marker of his legacy to geography. His energy and unflagging commitment to the discipline demonstrates that Professor Boehm has, and continues to, invest many years beyond an already distinguished career to promote and present the very essence of geography.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Richard Boehm the title of AAG Fellow.


Anne Chin, University of Colorado Denver

Anne Chin is a Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. Chin quickly developed a reputation as an excellent field geomorphologist who made critical observations to test and develop theory. She produced some of the first systematic studies of the geomorphology of urban streams in desert regions, and has contributed seminal research on step-pool mountain streams.

Chin has left her mark on the discipline, having published research in top-ranked, international, peer-reviewed journals, most notably Geomorphology, Journal of Geology, Progress in Physical Geography, Journal of Geophysical Research Letters, River Research and Applications, American Journal of Science, Environmental Management, among others. Anne has also authored a large number of refereed book chapters and has organized special issue of journals. In 2004 she was recognized for her research on step-pool mountain streams by being named recipient of the G.K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research by the AAG Geomorphology Specialty Group. She is (founding) editor-in-chief of the international journal Anthropocene and has done much to advance geography as a researcher, project initiator, coalition-builder, and role model.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Anne Chin the title of AAG Fellow.

William Doolittle, University of Texas at Austin

William Doolittle is the Erich W. Zimmerman Regents Professor of Geography at the University of Texas at Austin. For more than forty years he has conducted research on the topic of agricultural landscapes, features, technology, and change. His work is interdisciplinary and he has demonstrated conspicuous merit through his innovative and sustained research contributions, his tireless service and mentorship, and his inspired leadership in Latin American geography.

Doolittle’s broad corpus of work – which includes four other books and 63 articles and book chapters published in the leading fora of our field and other disciplines – examines related themes ranging from phytoliths and obsidian to 16thC aqueducts and arroyo check dams – has brought a geographical perspective to scholars working in archeology, soil science, agricultural sciences, and historical ecology. His work has shaped how two generations of scholars have come to understand the dynamics of land use change in dryland environments in Mexico and beyond.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon William Doolittle the title of AAG Fellow.

Basil Gomez, KBay Environmental Services LLC, University of University of Hawai`i, Mānoa

Basil Gomez is the Principal at KBay Environmental Services and is an Adjunct Professor of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai`i, Mānoa, where he continues to contribute to education and mentorship. He provides consulting specializing in watershed management and the equitable and sustainable distribution of hydrological resources. Prior to starting KBay Environmental Services, Gomez was a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems at Indiana State University, where he taught for 22 years.

Gomez has developed a strong international reputation and has made significant contributions to the field of geomorphology as a physical geographer. He has an impressive and sustained publication record, with more than 100 refereed journal articles is prestigious journals in geography, geomorphology, earth science, and water resources. He made substantial contributions in research focusing on sediment transport. In 2007, he received the G.K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphic Research from the AAG’s Geomorphology Specialty Group for his paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where he demonstrated that under certain circumstances a simple scale correlation could be used to estimate the potential rate of bedload transport. Basil’s career is an outstanding example of the kind of performance that has advanced geography through a novel and sustained research program.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Basil Gomez the title of AAG Fellow.

Carol Harden, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Carol Harden is a Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She is a remarkable field geomorphologist and has made exceptional contributions to advancing geography through sustained scholarship in human-environment interactions, innovative teaching and leadership in her academic department, outstanding mentoring of students and early-career colleagues, and invaluable service to the profession through AAG leadership (AAG President, 2009-2010).

Harden’s scientific contributions to geomorphology and geography are numerous, impactful, and wide-ranging. She began studying hillslope soil erosion in the Ecuadorian Andes, which expanded into several decades of studies shedding light on how human activity and land-use changes affect erosion, sedimentation, and related fluvial processes. A little closer to home, Dr. Harden’s work in the Appalachian Mountains has also expanded our understanding of how fluvial systems respond to human disturbances. In addition to Dr. Harden’s 80+ publications, she is one of the few physical geographers in to have both U.S. international field sites.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Carol Harden the title of AAG Fellow.

John A. Harrington, Jr., Kansas State University

John A. Harrington, Jr. is a Professor Emeritus of Geography and Geospatial Sciences at Kansas State University. He has had a long and consistent record of research as a climatologist and land change scientist to works to seek solutions to real world problems. He was a pioneer in studying the results of climate change, beginning in the late 1970s, both in the United States and internationally (Africa, Turkey).

Harrington, Jr.’s research endeavors are as persistent as they are extensive. Over the course of his long and stellar career, John has published over 57 peer-reviewed publications and reflects his depth as a scholar, his breadth as an atmospheric and geospatial scientist, and his generosity as a teacher-scholar-mentor. He has not only dedicated his career to enriching the discipline, but he has also enabled the enrichment of the lives that make up the discipline. His command of great overall knowledge and unwavering scientific commitment is balanced by his determination as a leader and eye for aptitude in others

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon John A. Harrington, Jr. the title of AAG Fellow.

Mei-Po Kwan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mei-Po Kwan is the Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management and Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is also Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science and Director of the Space-Time Analysis and Research (STAR) Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kwan has been a sustained global leader in transformative geography research in areas including her work in critical, feminist, and qualitative GIS that bridges the binary understanding of GIS and geographic methods as either quantitative or qualitative. Her work has profoundly changed how geographers think about the disciplinary dynamics of Geography, geographic methods, and several fundamental divides in the discipline.

Kwan’s formal academic research products have broader impacts, which has included publishing 38 edited volumes (books and journal special issues), 215 journal articles and book chapters, delivered over 220 keynote addresses and invited lectures worldwide, and served as the Editor of the AAG Annals for 12 years.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Mei-Po Kwan the title of AAG Fellow.

Nina Lam, Louisiana State University

Nina Lam is a Professor of Environmental Studies and E. L. Abraham Distinguished Professor at Louisiana State University. As a renowned scholar, she is one of the pioneers of contemporary geography-based remote sensing. Across an academic career stretching back over nearly forty years, Lam’s work has helped shape the field of remote sensing as it interfaces with the geographic community through her remote sensing research, teaching, and outreach, resulting in a major national and international impact on our discipline. Her work has continuously pushed the edge in these fields from both the theoretical and methodological fronts.

Lam’s sustained scholarly output is remarkable for its rigor as well its topical breadth. Her impressive publication list begins with the classic 1983 treatise on Spatial Interpolation Methods, for which she received the Andrew McNally Award for outstanding research publication. Since then, her research foci have included the socioeconomic inequality of cancer mortality; spatial analysis of the spread of the AIDS epidemic; applications of fractals for image analysis and spatial feature discrimination; to mapping land cover/land use and its change. Without a doubt, she is a leading researcher in quantitative geography in the United States today. Her academic productivity has been substantial, continuous, and significant, and has contributed to the advancement of geography.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Nina Lam the title of AAG Fellow.

Glen Michael Sproul dit MacDonald, University of California, Los Angeles

Glen M. MacDonald is a Professor of Geography and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and John Muir Memorial Chair Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a recognized leader in the discipline of geography and is already a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Geophysical Union, National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science. MacDonald also served as President of the AAG (2016-2017) where he contributed significant national and international service to the discipline.

MacDonald’s contributions as a research scholar has produced a steady and impressive output of publications (books, book chapters, and refereed journal articles) focused on biogeography and climate change. With more than 179 publications, MacDonald’s work has been an exemplary corpus of interdisciplinary research on climate change.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Glen Michael Sproul dit MacDonald the title of AAG Fellow.

Sara McLafferty, University of Illinois

Sara McLafferty is a Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science at the University of Illinois. She has made exceptional and sustained contributions to the discipline of geography through her research on feminist geography and GIS in relation to health and medical geography; to the AAG through serving on the National Council and the Strategic Planning Committee. She is an international leader in the subfield of health/medical geography and is excellent at all parts of her job including research, teaching, and service.

McLafferty’s research has significantly advanced health geography, economic geography, and urban geography alike. Her early work on gender, race, and commuting helped to establish the importance of considering not just gender differences within spatial processes, but the intersection of race and gender. She has served as a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Society of Woman Geographers; and as an advisor and mentor to numerous undergraduate and graduate students as well as junior faculty—with over one-third of her published papers including students as co-authors). She has been a sustained leader in feminist geography, critical GIS, and health and medical geography and stands among the best of the best in our discipline: a well-rounded scholar who excels in research, teaching, and service.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Sara McLafferty the title of AAG Fellow.

Risa Palm, Georgia State University

Risa Palm served until recently as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Geosciences at Georgia State University. She has remained at Georgia State University where she is now a professor in the Urban Studies Institute. Over the past four decades, Palm has forged and extraordinary career which has progressed along two parallel tracks: as an academic who has made significant contributions to geography, and as a senior university administrator who has shaped the trajectories of several major public universities.

Palm, as a geography scholar, has authored or co-authored 13 books and over 40 articles and book chapters in the area of human response to environmental change. This is a commendable record for any full-time faculty member, but truly extraordinary for someone entering college and university administration less than 10 years after starting as an assistant professor. Very few individuals—in geography or beyond—can claim as long a career in the senior-most positions at the very top public universities in the United States.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Risa Palm the title of AAG Fellow.

Susan M. Roberts, University of Kentucky

Susan M. Roberts is Associate Provost for Internationalization and a Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky. Roberts’ research squarely places her as a major figure in economic and development geography, in which her innovative research methods as well as the breadth of her research bridges economic, political, and feminist geography, both theoretically and in applications to real-world cases. She was a pioneer in the development of the first feminist geography collection published. For the past 27 years, her message has been consistent and exceptional: That as geographers, we have the capacity to develop collective and global means for challenging how the world is hierarchically known and spatially organized. Roberts has extended this line of scholarship through her role as National Councilor for the AAG (2015-2018).

Roberts’ research represents the best of geographic scholarship. It is not only theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, but it also consistently pushes the boundaries in economic, political, and feminist geography. Her 1997 co-edited book Thresholds in Feminist Geography significantly shaped the discipline’s thinking about feminist geography and methods, and it continues to be a volume widely recommend today. Her career-long dedication for advancing female-identified and other underrepresented members of our profession stands as a model for building diversity within geography.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Susan M. Roberts the title of AAG Fellow.

Billie L. Turner II, Arizona State University

Billie L. Turner II is a Regents Professor and Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society in the School of the Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. He is also a Distinguished Research Professor of Geography at Clark University. In a career that has spanned over 40 years, Turner has been at the forefront of geographical scholarship, education and service, and he has made these themes a centerpiece of his in representing the discipline externally. He is renowned for his pioneering work and significant advances in the broad area of human-environmental science.

Turner’s corpus of scholarly research includes over 200 journal articles, book chapters and other such pieces, and authored or edited 13 books. His work has become a paradigm for Mayan studies and was selected as one of the Twenty Most Significant 20th Century Archaeological Discoveries. Turner has also been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences; and as a Guggenheim Fellow. Billie L. Turner II truly is a geographical force of nature who continues to work tirelessly for our discipline.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Billie L. Turner II the title of AAG Fellow.

 Elizabeth Wentz, Arizona State University

Elizabeth Wentz is Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Geography at Arizona State University. She has made path-breaking contributions to geographic research in the areas of GIS, remote sensing and space-time analysis. She has served as a National Councilor for the AAG (2012-2015) and was an active chair of AAG National Councilors during her tenure (2013-2015).

Wentz has made significant and pioneering contributions in the areas of GIS, remote sensing, and space-time analysis, having authored over 50 refereed articles in these domains, focusing on collaboration with her graduate students. She is an award-winning teacher and mentor of doctoral students; has spearheaded numerous initiatives to support and promote the success of female scholars, both within GIScience and within the discipline of geography more generally; and, is a highly innovative and accomplished administrative leader who, prior to becoming Dean, served as Director of the School of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University. Wentz has made outstanding contributions to geographic research, academic administration, and mentoring junior faculty members and graduate students.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Elizabeth Wentz the title of AAG Fellow.

Cort J. Willmott, University of Delaware

Cort J. Willmott is a Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Delaware. Over the course of three decades, he built an impressive record in climatology and quantitative/GIS methods and was instrumental in the creation of a Ph.D. in Climatology—the first of its kind in the United States. His legacy rests with the students he has produced. 

 Willmott’s scholarly research has resulted in over 50 refereed journal articles, 3 books, and numerous other materials—many of which he published with students. Over his career, he has sustained a strong commitment to mentorship of undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as junior faculty within the geographical/climatological community. This is personified through his Space Grant Program, which was a NASA-supported alliance dedicated to space-based teaching and research at the K-12 and collegiate levels.  Willmott has been a model of academic citizenship, an excellent communicator, and a gifted researcher, know also for building one of the best-known climatology programs in the United States. He was awarded the AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors in 2000.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Cort J. Willmott the title of AAG Fellow.

Julie Ann Winkler, Michigan State University

Julie Ann Winkler is a Professor of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. Her intellectual contributions are in the areas of climate change impact assessment, synoptic climatology, and gender equality issues in academia. Her work continues to be timely and of high social and scientific relevance. Over the decades, Winkler has reached a reputation of an accomplished scholar, teacher, student mentor, and a selfless, dedicated citizen of the academy and the discipline of geography. She is widely known for her distinguished record of service to the AAG including, Vice President, President and Past President, and National Councilor, to name a few.

Winkler’s impressive scholarship has generated over 100 peer-reviewed works which have appeared in influential outlets read by scholars and professionals around the world. She is truly an ambassador for geography and her work shows others what a geographic approach is, how valuable our methods and perspectives can be, and why Geography is the original interdisciplinary discipline. Winkler has been an outstanding advocate for women in geography. She not only studies the subject intellectually but she lives it by being a mentor, friend, and example to us all.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Julie Ann Winkler the title of AAG Fellow.

Dawn J. Wright, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)

Dawn J. Wright is Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (more commonly known as Esri) and Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State University, Corvallis. Wright has been an influential pioneer in the fields of marine science and GIScience, and was the first African-American female to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible ALVIN. Equally impressive has been her dedication and service to the AAG, having served as National Councilor (2006-2009), various senior committees, and as an office in several Specialty Groups.

Wright has made numerous key contributions to understanding the oceans and she has been published widely in top journals and books. Part of Wright’s mission at Esri is to foster and lead various research & development projects. One of the best examples is her co-leadership of original research while at Esri that has resulted in the world’s first 3D digital ocean model from sea surface to seafloor. This project, often referred to as the “Ecological Marine Units,” was presented at the AAG in 2017 in a special extended session with Roger Sayre of the USGS and has also been published in 2018 in the journals Oceanography, Nature: Scientific Reports; Current Biology; and J. of Operational Oceanography, as well as covered as a major news item in Nature by award-winning science journalist Alexandra Witze.

Wright has been an institution-builder from the start of her career. At Esri she has played a key role as the leading emissary for the use of GIS in science: in short, the “Science of Where,” and has led efforts within both the AAG and the AGU to promote geography through the use of Esri’s vast resources, and finding an effective balance between the environmental and social sciences.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Dawn J. Wright the title of AAG Fellow.  

The AAG Fellows are chosen by the AAG Fellows Selection Committee. The 2019-2020 Fellows Selection Committee Members are Jonathan Harbor (University of Montana), Sarah Battersby (Tableau, Inc.), Korine Kolivras (Virginia Tech), Patricia Gober (Arizona State University), Stephen Hanna (University of Mary Washington), and Cindy Pope (Central Connecticut State University).


AAG Announces 2018 Book Awards

The AAG is pleased to announce the recipients of the three 2018 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, 2018. The awardees will be formally recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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.

David G. Havlick, Bombs Away: Militarization, Conservation, and Ecological Restoration (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

David Havlick’s Bombs Away takes us on a rich journey to some of the world’s best examples of former military lands undergoing ecological restoration. He probes the cultural and environmental consequences of this process and explores what happens to localities that were once bombed, fortified, and militarized spaces. The result is a beautifully-written and theoretically-informed narrative that exemplifies a new area of nature-society research, asks relevant questions about ecological restoration on former military lands, and illuminates an important, previously underappreciated type of cultural landscape, both in the United States and beyond.

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.

Tara Patricia CooksonUnjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs (University of California Press, 2018)

Tara Patricia Cookson’s outstanding book Unjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs is an elegantly written and accessible portrait of how rural women in Peru experience and cope with the often hidden and detrimental socioeconomic demands of a much-heralded development program. Through careful, self-aware ethnographic methods, Cookson (currently a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia) presents a powerful counter-argument to the fashionable yet problematic practice of “data-driven development”. Unjust Conditions should be required reading for students, scholars, the general public, and—most importantly—practitioners of development searching for innovative and socially just alternatives to conventional development thinking.

 The 2018 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.

Martin DoyleDuke University, The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade its Rivers (W.W. Norton, 2018)

Martin Doyle’s The Source is one of those rare books that advances both the science and art of geography. The Source is at once an environmental and political history of the United States. Doyle simultaneously provides an invaluable story of how rivers are intimately entangled with both the construction of the physical landscape, and an empirical study of how power has been etched onto that same landscape. Doyle adeptly picks apart some of the most intriguing connections among the various levels of governing bodies that are charged with dealing with water in the United States. The analysis shows how rivers not only contribute to the organization of a household via running water and indoor plumbing but also link to shaping cities beyond mere settlement, into the building of the nation itself. Well-researched and accessibly written, Doyle’s The Source embodies the spirit of the AAG Meridian Award.


AAG Announces 2019 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 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. during the AAG Awards Luncheon on Sunday, April 7, 2019.

2019 AAG Harm de Blij Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

This annual award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching undergraduate Geography including the use of innovative teaching methods. The recipients are instructors for whom undergraduate teaching is a primary responsibility.  The award consists of $2,500 in prize money and an additional $500 in travel expenses to attend the AAG Annual Meeting, where the award will be conveyed. This award is generously funded by John Wiley & Sons in memory of their long-standing collaboration with the late Harm de Blij on his seminal Geography textbooks.

Alex Papadopoulos, DePaul University

Dr. Alex Papadopoulos is Professor of Geography at DePaul University. He was recognized with DePaul’s Excellence in Teaching award in 1996 and the Cortelyou-Lowery Award for Teaching, Service and Excellence in 2011. Papadopoulos teaches a variety of undergraduate courses including Earth’s Cultural Landscape, Urban Geography, Geopolitics and Topics in Architecture and Urbanism. His teaching accomplishments include initiating DePaul’s first experiential learning geography class, leading multiple study abroad experiences in Europe and North Africa, and mentoring numerous colleagues in their teaching. Students describe him as an instructor who is knowledgeable, inclusive, and caring. Multiple students stated that Dr. Papadopoulos helped spark their academic interests, with alumni noting that his teaching has resulted in life-long learning for them. Dr. Papadopoulos has established himself as an extraordinary, and extraordinarily committed, teacher at this institution that values teaching above all other academic responsibilities.

2019 AAG E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award

This annual award recognizes members of the Association who have made truly outstanding contributions to the geographic field due to their special competence in teaching or research. Funding for the award comes from the estate of Ruby S. Miller. More than one award may be awarded each year. Each award includes $1,000 and a commemorative plaque.

J. Clark Archer, University of Nebraska Lincoln

J. Clark Archer, University of Nebraska Lincoln, has led a career characterized by an outstanding record of sustained high-quality scholarship. Over more than four decades, he has made significant contributions to the fields of political geography (specifically the geography of United States politics), cartography, population geography, and demographics. He is a leading expert on the use of maps in political and electoral geography research, and has published many regarded atlases, monographs and more than 50 journal articles and book chapters. Moreover, Archer’s analyses and interpretations of American elections have been instrumental in consolidating a role for electoral geography in the study of American politics.  Such work underlines the traditional power of geography to inform problems that straddle multiple disciplines.

2019 Glenda Laws Award

The Glenda Laws Award is administered by the American Association of Geographers and endorsed by members of the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Institute of British Geographers. The annual award and honorarium recognize outstanding contributions to geographic research on social issues. This award is named in memory of Glenda Laws—a geographer who brought energy and enthusiasm to her work on issues of social justice and social policy.

Farhana Sultana, Syracuse University

Farhana Sultana’s work is theoretical and applied, interdisciplinary, rigorous, critical, layered, intriguing, provocative and even uncomfortable at times. Dr. Sultana began her professional career in social justice and over time she has expanded her focus to colonialism, institutional racism, and related concerns. As a geographer from the global South, Dr. Sultana has worked for years to bring non-Eurocentric thinkers into our institutions and has asked that academics “de-colonize their pedagogy.” One of her most recognized bodies of work has forced us to recognize that academic freedom is not globally guaranteed. More recently, Dr. Sultana has brought her skills, knowledge, and talents to the increasingly vocal and visible problems of mental health that have emerged in academia. She has supervised more than forty Ph.D., Master’s, and Honor’s Student throughout her career and mentored many more. Her service to the discipline and profession, universities, international communities, conferences and workshops is impressive, far-reaching, and impossible to  summarize. She has been described as a scholar/activist and public intellectual, and also as someone with the courage and bravery to speak out, even when it may be uncomfortable to the status quo. The AAG is proud to award Dr. Farhana Sultana the 2019 AAG Glenda Laws Award.

2019 The AAG 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.

Katherine McKittrick, Queen’s University

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.

The 2019 AAG Marcus Fund for Physical Geography Award

The objective of The Mel Marcus Fund for Physical Geography is to carry on the tradition of excellence and humanity in field work espoused by Dr. Melvin G. Marcus. Grants from the Mel Marcus Fund for Physical Geography will foster personally formative participation by students collaborating with faculty in field-based physical geography research in challenging outdoor environments.

Elizabeth Watson, Drexel University

Dr. Elizabeth Watson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Sciences at Drexel University.  She will take a PhD student and an undergraduate student to Bahía San Quintín, Baja California, México.  There they will be conducting seagrass mapping in an estuary using a combination of remote sensing and field-based methods. This pristine and highly productive estuary is a model system for study, due to its long-time stewardship by local NGOs.  Through a peer-mentoring approach, the undergraduate will be exposed to field methods for the first time, while the PhD student will gain leadership skills. The selected undergraduate, a first-generation college student, has been working in Dr. Watson’s laboratory and will be able to experience a different type of research environment while interacting with local scientists and students in Mexico.  The PhD student will be making important connections with local scientists and NGOs while making progress on his dissertation research.  The Marcus award funds will be used to cover the travel expenses for the two students and will support the award’s goal of fostering personally formative participation by students collaborating with faculty in field-based physical geography research.

2019 Meredith F. Burrill Award

The AAG Meredith F. Burrill Award honors work of exceptional merit and quality that lies at or near the intersection of basic research in geography on the one hand, and practical applications or policy implications on the other.The purpose of the award is to stimulate and reward talented individuals and groups whose accomplishments parallel the intellectual traditions Meredith F. Burrill pursued as a geographer, especially those concerned with fundamental geographical concepts and their practical applications, especially as relevant to local, national, and international policy arenas. The funds that underwrite the award come from a bequest by Burrill, a gift from his wife Betty, and donations in his memory from colleagues and friends. The award, consists of a certificate and cash honorarium, at the Association’s Annual Meeting.

Stephanie Pincetl, University of California Los Angeles

Stephanie Pincetl, University of California Los Angeles, has been an intellectual leader in the field of urban sustainability, known particularly for her extensive research on urban metabolism and effective resource management governance structures. Her academic success is unquestionable, with one monograph and some 90 peer-reviewed scholarly works in the leading journals of her field. More pertinent to the Burrill Award, however, are the myriad ways that she has coupled that academic success with real world problem-solving, using her large-scale datasets to analyze and answer critical policy questions regarding sustainability. This work has implications not only for the case of Los Angeles, where her California Center for Sustainable Communities is based, but is applicable more broadly in megacities around the globe.

2019 Wilbanks Award for Transformational Research in Geography

The AAG Wilbanks Award for Transformational Research in Geography will honor researchers from the public, private, or academic sectors who have made transformative contributions to the fields of Geography or GIScience. Provided there is sufficient availability of funds, the Wilbanks Award will consist of a cash prize of $2,000 and include a memento with the name of the Award and the recipient.

Susan Cutter, University of South Carolina.

Dr. Cutter, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography and Director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, has made transformative, far-reaching research contributions to geography and the broader interdisciplinary research communities that focus on hazards and disasters. Her work led to development of the Social Vulnerability Index, the first nationwide empirical representation of social vulnerability. The Index is used in FEMA’s National Risk Assessment toolkit and by many other nations.  She also pioneered the Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities, a county-level assessment of disaster resilience; the Hazards of Place model of vulnerability, which analyzes the contributions of physical and social vulnerability to overall place vulnerability; and the Disaster Resilience of Place model, which identify place-based differences and measures progress towards resilient goals and outcomes.

Alan MacEachren, the Pennsylvania State University

Dr. MacEachren, Professor of Geography and Director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute and Director of the GeoVISTA Center, has made transformative, far-reaching research contributions to geography, GIScience, and the broader interdisciplinary research communities that focus on information visualization and visual analytics.  In his seminal 1995 book, How Maps Work: Representation, Visualization and Design, he developed a cognitive-semiotic theoretical perspective for dynamic representation that fostered the next generation of cartography, conceptualizing map making and reading as a process of knowledge construction itself.  Dr. MacEachren’s recent work on geovisual analytics champions thinking about how humans can collaborate with computers to make sense of information needed to solve highly complex problems.  His research advances our fundamental understandings in geography, computer science and related fields and has been employed in a broad range of domains, such as public health, crisis management, and environmental science.

2019 AAG Award for MA/MS Program Excellence  

This annual award and cash prize honors 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 award honors non-PhD granting Geography programs at both the baccalaureate and master levels.

Western Michigan University has a clearly outlined commitment to shared governance and cultivates robust engagement with the East Lakes Division of the AAG. An annual curricular retreat regularly sets Departmental goals, and graduate students have a voice through formal regular meetings with the Chair and Graduate Director, and informal monthly lunches with Departmental faculty.

Western Michigan’s use of internal Departmental funding to prioritize graduate student participation in conferences, results in annually funding around 16 masters students, approximately half of its incoming masters cohort, to attend the AAG meeting. Not only are these graduate students well-resourced, they become successful. The Department of Geography offers a teaching assistantship training program for its graduate students and has seen recognition of this with on-campus awards for Graduate Teaching Excellence. Its graduate students move on to Ph.D. programs, successfully pursue internships, or move into careers with employers in the public sector such as the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and various state and federal agencies, and the private sector.

One of the most impressive initiatives undertaken by Western Michigan University’s Department of Geography has been systematic outreach to K-12 and area community colleges. In a letter, Diana Casey of Muskegon Community College, an institution around 100 miles away from WMU, stated “The faculty at WMU have always maintained an open door for my undergraduate students to learn about opportunities so they can further their collegiate studies,” and notes that not only will the geographers at Western Michigan host her and her students, but these faculty also regularly travel to Muskegon Community College to meet faculty and students.

Finally, the Department offers a robust research profile, generating around $1.8m in external grants over the last five years, its faculty publishing “133 peer-reviewed articles, 7 books, and 20 book chapters” over the same period, in addition to presenting 165 papers at academic conferences and a further 97 invited lectures.

Honorable Mention:
California State University – Long Beach, has exhibited a very strong and successful commitment to enhancing faculty research in a teaching-intensive institution, strategic outreach to Latinx students to further diversify its already multicultural student body, and curricular development both in terms of specialized UAV courses and robust general education offerings. The integration of federally-supported Coverdell graduate student fellowships for returning Peace Corps volunteers was noted by the committee as an innovative recruitment strategy.

2019 Dissertation Research Grant recipients ($1,000/each)

Sophia Borgias, University of Arizona

Michael Desjardins, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Eric Goldfishcher, University of Minnesota

Robert Hobbins, Arizona State University

Megan Mills-Novoa, University of Arizona

2019 Research Grant recipients ($500/each):

Lynn Resler, Virginia Tech University

Sean Kennedy, UCLA

Jessie Speer, Queen Mary University of London

Marylynn Steckley, Carleton University

Kathryn Hannum, Kent State University

Lisa Tranel, Illinois State University


AAG Announces 2019 Class of AAG Fellows

The AAG Fellows is a program, started in 2018, to recognize geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography.

In addition to honoring geographers, AAG Fellows will serve the AAG as an august body to address key AAG initiatives including creating and contributing to AAG initiatives; advising on AAG strategic directions and grand challenges; and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. Similarly to other scientific organizations, the honorary title of AAG Fellow is conferred for life. Once designated, AAG Fellows remain part of this ever-growing advisory body. The AAG Honors Committee has recommended these Fellows to serve as the 2019 class.

John Agnew, University of California, Los Angeles

John Agnew is a Professor of Geography at the University of California Los Angeles. His sustained contributions over several decades have rightfully made him one of the most respected names in human geography worldwide. He has always been strongly committed to the discipline of Geography and to the importance of communicating the significance of geographic research and education to a broad audience.

Agnew’s contributions include monographs on geopolitics that have challenged the interdisciplinary scholarly community to rethink conceptions of hegemony and sovereignty. His multiple books, scholarly articles, and book chapters prove his intellectual stature and global reputation.

In addition to serving as the President of the AAG, Professor Agnew has been recognized with an impressive array of honors including the AAG’s Distinguished Scholarship Award and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Geographic Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon John Agnew the title of AAG Fellow.

Anthony J. Brazel, Arizona State University

Anthony (Tony) J. Brazel is Professor Emeritus in the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University.  His contributions to geography include his impressive scholarly record in urban climatology and his service to both research scientists and the public as the State Climatologist of Arizona and Director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy.  Furthermore, Dr. Brazel has shared his passion for research and infectious curiosity with students in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate climatology courses as well as with the 20 doctoral students he has mentored.

For these accomplishments, he has received the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science’s Outstanding Service Award, the Helmut E. Landsberg Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Association of American Geographers Climate Specialty Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been named a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

Among Brazel’s more than 150 research articles and reports, he has published twice in Nature and three times in Science.  These and other influential works represent major advances in understanding urban climate in desert environments.  Additionally, he has served colleagues in geography and climate science through his work with the American Geographical Society, the Royal Meteorological Society, the International Association for Urban Climate, and the American Association of Geographers, where he also served on the AAG’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Committee.

We are, therefore, pleased to bestow upon Anthony J. Brazel the title of AAG Fellow.

Stanley Brunn, University of Kentucky

Stanley Brunn is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky. He is perhaps best known as a political geographer but has also made very significant contributions to urban and social geography. In 25 books, 80 chapters, and 100 research articles, Brunn has exemplified a non-doctrinaire and creative approach to the production of diverse geographical knowledges. In addition to contributing to existing fields, Stan has pioneered whole new areas of research, including the geographies of electronic communications, of mega-engineering projects, and a reinvigorated geography of religions.

As Editor of The Professional Geographer from 1982-1987, and as Editor of the Annals of the AAG from 1988 to 1993, Stan gave unselfishly of his time and energy to guide and develop our Association’s journals. Most recently, Brunn endowed the creation of the AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography, which has recognized ground-breaking geographers such as Yi-Fu Tuan, the late Robert Kates, Susan Hanson and David Harvey, to name a few.

Brunn has taught and mentored hundreds of students at all levels and has taken a particular interest in passing along his enthusiasm for geography to beginning social studies teachers. Stan is an exceptionally generous and conscientious departmental colleague who was always willing to take on leadership roles and administrative chores without complaint. His academic leadership, his scholarship, and his generous collegiality are all exemplary and have advanced our discipline inestimably.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Stanley Brunn the title of AAG Fellow.

David R. Butler, Texas State University

David R. Butler has made significant contributions to the discipline of geography through his outstanding record of undergraduate teaching at Texas State University, and his trailblazing efforts to establish and promote the sub-discipline of zoogeomorphology. The latter involves the study of interactions between ecological and geomorphological processes in mountain regions. The field was codified in Butler’s seminal book, Zoo-geomorphologyAnimals as Geomorphic Agents, first published in 1995 by Cambridge University Press.

Also significant is Butler’s role in mentoring the next generation of geographers, which he has achieved by supervising 17 Ph.D. and 40 Masters students. Butler’s disciplinary leadership includes serving in important editorial positions, including as Editor of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers and as Section Editor of Progress in Physical Geography. These positions sustain the discipline and define the future direction of the field.  Butler is best known as someone who sees both the landscape and the literature of our discipline and communicates this connection to new scholars and other users of geographic knowledge.

David Butler is awarded the title of AAG Fellow for his contributions to physical geography, his commitment to training new geographers, his influential editorial work, and for establishing the sub-discipline of zoogeomorphology.

William Clark, University of California, Los Angeles

William A. V. Clark is Distinguished Research Professor in UCLA’s Department of Geography. Bill is the most prominent and influential geographer in housing, segregation and neighborhood change research over the last three decades, and is also one the leading scholars in these subjects across all the social sciences. His classic 1991 paper in Demography lit a fire under residential segregation studies by showing how applying empirically collected residential preference data to the Schelling model could explain persistence in residential spatial separation between racial and ethnic groups. His more than 500 publications have been cited nearly 15,000 times.

Clark is one of a select few geographers who has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is also an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Guggenheim Fellow. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Association of Geographers in 2018.

Bill taught legions of undergraduate and graduate students in his courses on population geography, Los Angeles, and California, and is treasured as a mentor to, and collaborator with, junior colleagues. In two terms as Department Chair, he played a crucial role in establishing successful undergraduate majors and graduate programs.

In light of his major contributions to the field as a whole, to geography at a major research university, and to his own research area, we are pleased to bestow upon William Clark the title of AAG Fellow.

Susan Cutter, University of South Carolina

Susan Cutter is a Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina. Her contributions as a Geographer include an extensive body of research on hazard risk, mitigation and recovery. Professor Cutter is well-known not only to academics but to practitioners in the field. She has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress on hazards and vulnerability; and has partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the social impacts of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection System. Professor Cutter has served on numerous national advisory boards and committees including those of the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and she chaired the US National Academies committee that authored the 2012 seminal report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. She is a member of the Research Advisory Group for the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom, and she has served as vice-chair of a disaster-risk advisory board sponsored by the International Council for Science and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Cutter has made other substantive contributions to geographic research such as the creation of a database (SHELDUS) that spatially catalogs historical hazard damage to property and crops. SHELDUS is now a primary data source for municipal disaster planning and hazards modeling research.

Cutter is a prolific writer, publishing more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as fourteen books. Her extensive list of co-authors and co-editors speaks to her connections. She has served as co-executive editor of Environment, associate editor of Weather, Climate, and Society and as a board member for several other journals, and she is currently Editor-in-Chief for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia.

Additionally, Dr. Cutter has served the AAG in numerous positions including President; Chair, AAG Military and Geography Committee; Publications Committee; AAG Representative to COSSA; Long Range Planning Committee; Executive Director Search Committee; Honors Committee Chair; Nominating Committee; Chair of the AAG Hazards Specialty Group; and AAG Regional Councilor for the Middle States Division.  The value of her work has been recognized by the AAG with the AAG Presidential Achievement Award as well as by the University of South Carolina, where Dr. Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor—the highest honor bestowed upon academic faculty by the University of South Carolina.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Susan Cutter the title of AAG Fellow.

Daniel Griffith, University of Texas at Dallas

Dr. Daniel A. Griffith is Ashbel Smith Professor in the Department of Geospatial Information Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. Griffith is one of the pioneers of contemporary geography whose influence extends across spatial analysis and geostatistics, quantitative urban and economic geography, GIScience, and computational geography. He is noted for fundamental advances in spatial autoregressive modeling, and for influencing the theory and practice of spatial statistical analysis. His development of spatial filtering of regression models using eigenvectors was a major contribution that has pushed this field forward on many fronts.

Few geographers have maintained such strong, productive relationships between geography, mathematics and statistics – and fewer still have published and been cited in all three disciplines. Griffith’s many books, chapters, research papers, and other publications have attracted a host of distinctions, including elected Fellowships in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Regional Science Association, the American Statistical Association, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He was the winner of the inaugural AAG Nystrom Dissertation Award in 1980, and the AAG’s Distinguished Research Honors in 2010.

Griffith has served as President of the North American Regional Science Council, as Steering Committee Chair of the International Spatial Accuracy Research Association, as Chair of the Department of Geography at Syracuse University, and as editor of the journal Geographical Analysis. He has stellar record of advising students at SUNY Buffalo, Syracuse University, the University of Miami and now at the University of Texas Dallas.

For his many contributions to the advancement of Geography, we are pleased to bestow upon Daniel Griffith the title of AAG Fellow.

Jonathan Harbor, University of Montana

Jonathan Harbor is Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of  Montana. Prior to this position, he taught in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University, where he also served as Executive Director of Digital Education, and Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Harbor has founded several research institutes, including the Purdue Global Sustainability Institute and Discovery Learning Research Center. He has been granted numerous awards, including American Council of Education Fellow, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and Fulbright Senior Scholar, among others. These honors have been global, spanning several institutions in the United States, Sweden, China, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Dr. Harbor’s awards are testament to his outstanding contributions to Geomorphology, Environmental Geography, and Education Research.

Dr. Harbor has published widely in his specialties with over 200 publications dealing with a broad range of geographic interests, including environmental science, glacial research, teaching and learning, and university administration.  He has authored or edited three books, including the most recent Glaciers and Glacial Landscapes in China (2014), for which he won the Scientific Excellence Prize in Gansu Province, China. He has served as editor and been on the editorial board of AnthropoceneEarth Sciences Reviews, and Physical Geography, and other top-tier journals.   He is a member of AAG’s Healthy Departments Committee, has been Chair of the AAG’s Geomorphology Specialty Group, and is on the Executive Committee of the American Geophysical Union Heads and Chairs Board.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Jon Harbor the title of AAG Fellow.

Thomas Mote, University of Georgia

Thomas Mote is an internationally known scholar, award-winning instructor and mentor, respected university administrator, and engaged leader of the AAG.

Mote currently serves as Associate Dean at the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, as well as being a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Geography.  His research involves climate change, one of the earth’s most pressing and timely problems, which Mote approaches by participating in interdisciplinary research teams that study the effects of Greenland ice sheet melting on oceans—a major contributor to sea level rise. His research is recognized and funded, among others, by NASA, NOAA, and the USDA’s Forest Service.

Mote has been honored by the University of Georgia for outstanding teaching and advising, has been elected as a Fellow to the American Meteorological Society, and obtained a Creative Research Medal at the University of Georgia. He has advised 12 doctoral and 18 Masters students. His current position as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences also draws attention to the discipline of geography and underscores its pivotal role in the Arts and Sciences.

Thomas Mote has been selected to become an AAG Fellow for the scientific and societal significance of his research program, his mentoring of graduate students, and for raising geography’s profile through his outstanding service in influential administrative and professional positions.

Martin J. Pasqualetti, Arizona State University

Martin J. (Mike) Pasqualetti is professor in the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University.  His contributions to geography include his path-breaking research in energy geography, especially the geographies of nuclear power and renewable energy landscapes including those of geothermal, wind, and solar power. Additionally, Pasqualetti has served the scientific community and the public as Chair of Arizona’s Solar Energy Advisory Council, co-authored the Energy Emergency Response Plan and Master Energy Plan for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, and serves on both the Advisory Board of the European Conference of the Landscape Research Group and the Coalition for Action of the International Renewable Energy Agency. His efforts in the field of energy geography have earned him numerous awards including the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Gold Award from the American Geographical Society as well as the Award of Excellence from the Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Great Places Award from the Environmental Design Research Association for his book The Renewable Energy Landscapes: Preserving Scenic Value in our Sustainable Future.

In addition, Pasqualetti is co-editor and contributor to several books including The Ashgate Companion to Energy GeographyWind Power in View, and The Evolving Landscape: Homer Aschmann’s Geography.  These and his more than 100 research articles and reports have led to invitations to address international conference and to advise public agencies including the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the US Department of Energy, and the United Kingdom’s Central Electricity Generating Board.

His service to the AAG includes founding and chairing the Energy and Environment Specialty Group, serving as a member of the AAG Meridian book awards committee, and obtaining funding for the Energy and Environment Specialty Group’s annual best paper awards.

We are, therefore, please to bestow upon Martin J. Pasqualetti the title of AAG Fellow.

Mark D. Schwartz, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Mark D. Schwartz is Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a climatologist who specializes in the sub-discipline of phenology, involving the spring green up and fall senescence of natural vegetation. His work contributes to the broader field of climate change research, and his contributions have led to improved modeling of vegetation in climate models and deeper understanding of the vegetative response to climate change.  He has, among many other achievements, helped create a tool to predict the onset of spring, contributed to the Global Warming Report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and generally contributed a sound and valuable geographic perspective to climate change research.

Schwartz is also known as “the man of the hour” for the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He had barely received tenure, when the University threatened to close the Geography Department. Taking the reins as Department Chair, Schwartz led the unit in a reorganization that resulted in saving Geography at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, developed strategic alliances with other schools and departments at the University, and allowed the department to grow.

Mark Schwartz is named an AAG Fellow for his strategically important research and for his successful effort to defend and promote geographic research and education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Eric Sheppard, University of California Los Angeles

Eric Sheppard is a Professor of Geography the University of California Los Angeles. Throughout his career, he has been committed to promoting interactions across several subfields in the discipline of geography. Besides his stellar reputation in the field of economic geography, Dr. Sheppard has made important contributions to the literature on the social dimensions of GIS. During his tenure as President of the AAG, he was an advocate and spokesperson for all geographers, across the entire discipline.

Professor Sheppard’s significant impacts include his multiple publications on the social dimensions of GIS, nature of spatiality and relationality and the ontological and epistemological issues surrounding both GIS, and the qualitative/quantitative debates in the discipline.  He has served a key role on the Relational Poverty Network, an NSF-funded research coordination network that connects a global group of poverty scholars.

His work with the Advisory Board of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, the National Research Council that resulted in the publication of Rediscovering Geography are major contributions to the discipline.  He has served the AAG as its President, Vice President and on numerous AAG committees.

Among the many honors he has received, Dr. Sheppard has been recognized by the AAG with its Distinguished Scholarship Honor, and by the University Of Toronto Association Of Geography Alumni with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Eric Sheppard the title of AAG Fellow.

Renee Sieber, McGill University

Renee Sieber is an Associate Professor at McGill University in the Department of Geography and School of the Environment, where she researches the use and value of information and communications for social change. Over the past two decades, she has made a major contribution to the field of Geography through her sustained interest in participatory and collaborative applications of Geographical Information Systems and Science. Sieber examines applications in geographic information systems for and by poor communities, social movements (particularly the environmental movement), and indigenous groups. Renee has been active in introducing Participatory GIS to an international audience. She was a founding committee member of the AAG Digital Geographies Specialty Group and recently served as co-chair of the international GIScience 2016 conference.

Renee’s publications span a range of GIS applications including tourism, the humanities, rural economic development, semantics, and crowdsourcing data. She has received grants from NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies, numerous grants Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Canadian Foundation for Innovation, among others.

For her excellence in the discipline, she received the Canadian Association of Geographers (Geographic Information Systems and Science Special Interest Group): Lifetime Achievement and GIScience Excellence Award.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon Renee Sieber the title of AAG Fellow.

The AAG Fellows are chosen by the AAG Honors Committee. The 2018-2019 Honors Committee Members are Wei Li, chair (Arizona State University), Laura Pulido (University of Oregon), Nathan Sayre (University of California Berkeley), Lisa DeChano-Cook (Western Michigan University), Wendy Jepson (Texas A&M University), and Rebecca Lave (Indiana University). Observer members this year, who will rotate in as members next year, are Julie Winkler (Michigan State University), Richard Kujawa (St. Michael’s College), and Julie A. Silva (University of Maryland – College Park).


AAG Announces 2019 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 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, DC during the AAG Awards Luncheon on Sunday, April 7, 2019.

2019 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.

Lorraine Dowler, Penn State

Dr. Lorraine Dowler not only mentors at all levels (early career faculty, her own students, and students that were/are not her own-outside her university), but is a strong advocate for her advisees, the greater student body (undergraduate and graduate), and the AAG community. As mentioned in one of her letters of support, she is committed to the holistic development of her advisees, while another notes that she pays particular attention to the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of those with whom she interacts, especially new faculty learning to balance the demands of academia. Outside of her tireless advocacy for students and colleagues, she continues to advise, research, publish, and contribute to the field of geography. She continues to go over and beyond what is expected.

Dr. Dowler’s advocacy of students and colleagues beyond “just getting through the Ph.D. and tenure track” (e.g. working with the letter writer experiencing the travel ban, threatening students in the classroom, etc.) went above and beyond the criteria listed by the AAG. As noted by the committee, “…mentorship, and viewing students and colleagues as whole people, not just academics, is integral to our discipline as not just successfully producing the next cohorts of academics but actively supporting and sustaining us by transforming the discipline in the way they model and mentor.” As a committee, we agree that the qualities and characteristics that Dr. Dowler puts forth, and her genuine concern for all those that work with her (colleagues, students, etc.) make her an excellent choice for this award.

2019 Enhancing Diversity Award

The AAG Enhancing Diversity Award honors those geographers who have pioneered efforts toward, or activelyparticipate in efforts towards encouraging a more diverse discipline.

Latoya Eaves, Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Latoya Eaves has worked with unflagging determination to bring emancipatory geography to the forefront of the discipline through institutional advocacy, mentorship, community engagement, and, of course, intellectual production. Her cutting-edge scholarship engages and informs racial, gendered, and sexual dimensions of identity and politics.

Dr. Eaves works actively on many fronts to create a more inclusive academy. Her commitment to establish the Black Geographies Specialty Group and her generous support of other specialty groups serving under-represented groups of geographers are widely applauded. One of her colleagues noted: “The time and energy [she] has dedicated to the discipline and the AAG is a key reason why many graduate students and faculty are engaging in Black Geographies thought and why a number of Geography departments are advertising for scholars whose research is grounded in Black Geographies.”

Minelle Mahtani, University of British Columbia

For over two decades Dr. Minelle Mahtani’s theoretical and applied work has made great inroads into the problem of racism in our discipline as well as in racist policy practices in Canada. In her current position as Senior Advisor to the Provost on Racialized Faculty at the University of British Columbia, she will be instrumental in advancing the University’s institutional commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in the scholarly and leadership environment for faculty at UBC.

Mahtani’s work on mixed race identities; the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and gender; and the production of identity and knowledge have laid the foundations for other geographers’ work and teaching. Additionally, Dr. Mahtani is applauded for her generous mentoring of students of color.

As a journalist, Dr. Mahtani has used her skills to engage the public in issues of identity, diversity and the lack of diversity and place. This is exemplified notably, though not exclusively, through her radio program “Sense of Place.”

2019 The 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.

Janice Monk, Research Professor, School of Geography and Development, and Research Social Scientist Emerita at Southwest Institute for Research on Women, at the University of Arizona

Janice Monk, Research Professor, School of Geography and Development, and Research Social Scientist Emerita at Southwest Institute for Research on Women, at the University of Arizona Professor Monk is one of the most influential figures in the disciplines of geography and women’s studies. Her interdisciplinary research in geography education and feminist/gender studies has played a pivotal role in within the discipline. Her two decades as Director of the Southwest Institute for Women’s Studies, focusing on women’s employment, education, health, as well as encouraging science and math education for girls, have introduced feminism to multiple generations of geographers. In addition, the AAG recognizes Dr. Monk’s work on university-level teaching and graduate level geography education; her early and significant involvement in the Geography Faculty Development Alliance (GFDA); and her work on AAG projects (EDGE and others) researching career opportunities and professional development for geographers. The AAG also applauds Dr. Monk for her large body of publications, and your co-editorships of two series: International Studies of Women and Place and of Society, Environment and Place.

Professor Monk forcefully demonstrates the highly creative and consequential place that geographers can have in engaging in and shaping broader transdisciplinary discussions and debates. For these reasons, the AAG is proud to confer the 2019 AAG Stan Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography on Janice Monk.

2019 AAG Presidential Achievement Award

The AAG Presidential Award is given with the purpose of recognizing individuals for their long-term, major contributions to geography. The Past President has the honor of bestowing this distinction on behalf of the discipline and the association.

Rickie Sanders, Temple University

The AAG recognizes Dr. Sanders’ path-breaking role in enhancing diversity and inclusion in geography and championing the study of race, gender, and social justice within the discipline and beyond. Her long-standing contributions include award-winning teaching and mentorship and leading important initiatives to broaden the participation and belonging of historically under-represented groups. She powerfully uses her scholarship and her own biography to address the need for women of color in geography, to confront white privilege and gender inequality in education, and to create dialogue between racial and feminist theorists and classroom teachers. Also noteworthy is her critical use of photography in urban landscape studies and addressing marginalized communities in cities. Dr. Sanders is a beloved role model, having transformed and enriched the lives, careers and perspectives of many geographers

David Padgett, Tennessee State University

The AAG recognizes Dr. Padgett’s significant contributions in advancing geography, GIS, and STEM education within the Historically Black College and University—an important but traditionally neglected community within our discipline. He has become an important authority on the opportunities, challenges, and needs facing geographers at predominantly minority-serving institutions as well as those working in small academic programs and blended departments. Dr. Padgett has amassed an exemplary career in community engaged scholarship and teaching, having developed working relationships with a variety of grassroots groups, non-profits, and government agencies. His innovations in service-learning and participatory research are felt locally and through the many national workshops and funded projects he has helped lead. He forcefully demonstrates our discipline’s capacity to leverage geographic knowledge and geospatial technology to empower citizen science and social and environmental justice.

2019 AAG Honorary Geographer

The AAG annually selects an individual as the year’s Honorary Geographer. The award recognizes excellence in research, teaching, or writing on geographic topics by non-geographers. Past recipients include Stephen Jay Gould, Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Krugman, Barry Lopez, Saskia Sassen and Maya Lin.

Rita Colwell, University of Maryland College Park

The committee chose Dr. Colwell for her distinguished career as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, her many important leadership roles in academia, and her many significant advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, and in the international scientific research community.

The 2019 Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award in Geographic Science
The Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award recognizes excellence in academic performance by undergraduate students from the U.S. and Canada who are putting forth a strong effort to bridge geographic science and computer science as well as to encourage other students to embark upon similar programs. The award is an activity of the Marble Fund for Geographic Science of the AAG.

Katherine Jolly, Macalester College

Pearl Leff, Hunter College – CUNY

Rachel Pierstorff, University of Denver

2019 Community College Travel Grants
Provides financial support for students from community colleges, junior colleges, city colleges, or two-year educational institutions to attend the Annual Meeting.

Kevin Cody, Santa Barbara City College

Do Khym, Cerritos College


Regional Divisions Announce Outstanding Graduate Student Papers During their Fall Meetings

The AAG is proud to announce the Fall 2018 student winners of the AAG Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at a Regional Meeting. The AAG Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at a Regional Meeting is designed to encourage graduate student participation at AAG Regional Division conferences and support their attendance at AAG Annual Meetings. One graduate 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 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The paper sessions are tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, April 5, 2019.

Betsy Breyer

WLDAAG: Betsy Breyer, Ph.D. candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Paper title – Sociohydrological Impacts of Water Conservation Under Anthropogenic Drought in Austin, TX

Hayley Pedrick

SWAAG: Hayley Pedrick, Masters candidate, University of New Mexico; Paper title – Textures of Transition: Understanding Memorial Spaces in Medellin, Colombia

NESTVAL: Christina Woehrle, Masters candidate, Oklahoma State University;

MAD: Molly Pickel, Masters candidate, Graduate Program in Geography and Environmental Planning at Towson University; Paper title – Navigating Māori Fishing Rights Under the Quota Management System

Katharine Georges and Katie Wade

 Katherine Georges, Masters candidate, California State University – Long Beach, Paper title – Just a Little Rain: the Effects of Lifting Water Restrictions on Local Water Purveyors Conservation Policies
Katie Wade, Masters candidate, California State University – Long Beach, Paper title – Indigenous Women’s Ways of Knowing and Ecological Sustainability in Yosemite Valley

Doug Allen

SEDAAG: Doug Allen, Ph.D. candidate, Florida State University; Paper title – Asserting a Black Sense of Place: Florida A&M University’s Homecoming as a Temporary Claim of Place

MSDAAG: Emily Holloway, Masters candidate, Liberal Studies program at the CUNY Graduate Center; Paper title – “Business as usual” or “just business”? A critical comparison of industrial rezoning

GPRM: Sylvia Arriaga Brady, Ph.D. candidate, University of Denver; Paper title – Public-private partnerships with public transit, local government agencies, and ridesourcing in Denver, CO

Kathryn Hannum

ELDAAG: Kathryn Hannum, Ph.D. student, Kent State University; Paper title – Socio-linguistic consequences of regional convergence in Galicia, Spain



AAG is Proud to Announce the 2019 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 2019 AAG Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon.

2019 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors

Thomas J. Baerwald

Dr. Thomas Baerwald, Geography and Spatial Science Program Director at the National Science Foundation and former AAG President, has had tremendous influence across the entire discipline of geography. After teaching in higher education and ten years working as a science advisor at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Dr. Baerwald was hired to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1988 as Program Officer in what was then the Geography and Regional Science (GRS) Program. He has since then held various positions at NSF, including Deputy Assistant Director in the Geosciences Directorate, and also other Division Directorships within NSF. Throughout his career, Dr. Baerwald’s exceptional wisdom, deep commitment to the science and practice of geography, and institutional acumen have advanced the profile of geography and geographical research for more than 30 years.

Dr. Baerwald transformed geography through his excellent guidance of the rigorous and deliberate review process of proposals in geography and geospatial science, funding many scholars to pursue scientific discovery and science education. Dr. Baerwald also developed initiatives and promoted interdisciplinary research, particularly the program on coupled natural and human systems. Moreover, his skill as a leader of inter- and multi-disciplinary programs at NSF has elevated and sustained the profile of the discipline of geography within that institution. Beyond his own areas of special expertise, Tom is well versed in the full range of geographical investigations and has strongly supported social science research.

Dr. Baerwald has been very active in our professional organizations in seminal ways, serving in leadership roles at the regional and national level in the AAG, including as President. While president he initiated several programs of lasting value, and instilled a refreshingly positive attitude regarding diversity. In addition, Dr. Baerwald contributed his organizational and intellectual talents to enhance geography education, from the K-12 level to graduate and post-doctoral levels. He is known for his wise counsel, openness to new ideas, and inclusive policies toward women. As one letter writer stated, “Tom is a gregarious yet humble man, one who prefers to work behind the scenes to enable others to achieve success. His career has completely centered on helping others do great things in geography. He cares deeply about all those whom he interacts with at all levels.”

Dr. Baerwald’s achievements have been recognized over time with numerous, prestigious awards. These include Director’s Awards for Collaborative Integration at the National Science Foundation, and the NSF Director’s Superior Accomplishment Award (2001). He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (since 2003) and fellow of the AAG. He also received AAG’s Distinguished Service Honors in 1997.

Dr. Baerwald’s leadership at NSF and his academic contributions, his diligent advancement of geography and groundbreaking interdisciplinary environmental research at NSF, and his long-term commitment to the AAG define a career of selfless service and accomplishment that have advanced scholarship, science, and practice of geography for decades to come.

Dr. Baerwald’s vision, institutional expertise, and ability to engage the community of geographers put him in a lifetime-achievement league of his own. The AAG proudly confers its 2019 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors upon Thomas Baerwald.

Joe T. Darden

During his almost half-century long distinguished career, Professor Joe T. Darden of Michigan State University (MSU) has produced seven books and about 160 journal articles and book chapters, and secured significant external grants. His work on residential segregation, housing discrimination, immigration, socio-economic neighborhood inequality in multiracial societies, housing and health care disparity for minorities has exerted influential impacts on geography, urban studies and urban affairs, urban planning, sociology, and political science.

Darden was one of the few African American geographers in the early 1970s and one of its earliest full professors. As an urban social geographer, he devoted his entire career on racial-ethnic segregation and the resulting social inequality that generate racialized socioeconomic, education, employment and gendered locations affecting life chances and outcomes. The broader impacts of his work on racial inequality are reflected in his publications in popular media, his public policy consultation, and his comparative work between the US and Canada. His scholarship has been recognized as interdisciplinary, path-breaking and transformative. He prompts other scholars to think beyond the box by challenging the conventional wisdom and the prevalent paradigms for our field and our society.

Darden is also an effective teacher and a caring mentor for students and junior to mid-career colleagues. His long-standing course, “The Ghetto,” at MSU draws new students into the discipline. Darden’s role as a mentor, however, has gone beyond MSU to countless other students and scholars nationwide. As his nominators and supporters noted, and as can be attested by many, Darden consistently mentored many who were not his students, but who benefited a great deal by his crucial career advice, his support of their development and by serving as a trusted ally to them.

Darden rose fast in the academic and administrative ranks at MSU. He became full professor and the Acting Chair of Department of Urban and Metropolitan Studies in 1980, and Dean of Urban Affairs Programs in 1984. In this capacity, he was able to bring geographical perspectives to urban studies at MSU for 14 years.

Darden is a tireless and vocal leader for inclusiveness and diversity in geography in general and for the AAG in particular. 20 years ago, he led the efforts to advocate for geography departments nationwide to admit and support more students from underprivileged and underrepresented minority groups; and he has provided crucial leadership in such endeavors for both students and faculty by leading the AAG’s Diversity Taskforce. In 2016, he received the AAG’s Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice.

Darden’s influential work has earned him some major academic awards. Among them, he is the recipient of MSU’s Distinguished Faculty Award (1984); the Ethnic Geography Specialty Group’s Distinguished Scholar Award (2006), the AAG Enhancing Diversity Award (2006), and the Distinguished Ethnic Geography Career Award (2015). In 2018 he was elected to the inaugural cohort of AAG Fellows. 

For these reasons and many more, Joe T. Darden is granted the 2019 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors.

2019 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors

A. Stewart Fotheringham

Alexander Stewart Fotheringham, is a renowned spatial scientist. Through his early work on spatial interaction modelling – especially in the context of intervening opportunity – Fotheringham established himself as a foundational contributor to applied methodological developments in spatial analysis.

His co-authored book on Geographically Weighted Regression is a touchstone in the field. Indeed, as one of his nominators asserted “Geographically Weighted Regression will be recognized as one of the most important breakthroughs in Geographic Information Science in the early 21st Century.” The suite of spatial techniques derived from Geographically Weighted Regression is incorporated into powerful spatial analysis engines by ArcMap and the statistical analysis package R, allowing for analysis of some of society’s most pressing problems and the democratization of these potent techniques. This book is part of a long trajectory of formal publishing, which includes a dozen authored, co-authored or edited books, almost 40 book chapters, and about one hundred reviewed articles. Such a record merits recognition as an exemplary scholar.

Dr. Fotheringham has been appointed to Professorships and other administrative positions around the world, and has also received high-level recognition in scientific and social science academies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. He served the European Union Joint Planning Initiative while at the National University of Ireland, and was appointed to numerous Fellowships, visiting Professorships and other scholarly appointments worldwide. His former colleagues all attest to the respect he earned in an array of academic and professional communities.

Fotheringham’s continued commitment to innovation includes work with graduate students on the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) data for the analysis of commuting patterns. Fotheringham’s development of techniques to drive spatial analysis into the era of big data position him in the forefront of analyses of everything from forest fires, cancer clusters, and climate change.

For his pioneering and novel methodological innovations in spatial analysis; for his consistent and continuous commitment to the dissemination of new techniques and empirical findings; for his deep and enduring impact on theoretical and applied literature in Geography; and for his achievements in scholarly and professional domains across the academy, A. Stewart Fotheringham is recognized with the 2019 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors.

Helga Leitner

In the course of Helga Leitner’s distinguished career, she has made sustained and significant contributions to human geography as well as the social sciences and humanities more broadly. Her approach to research and scholarship has resulted in applied research that is both theoretically-informed and socially beneficial. Her academic record also demonstrates her extensive mentorship of junior scholars.

As a researcher, Helga’s scholarship has offered theoretical and empirical insights to some of the most critically important phenomena influencing contemporary cities. Her contributions in this area include foundational work on migration and immigration, pioneering studies of the politics of citizenship, and important contributions to (trans)local activism. This work has contributed to a deeply geographical perspective to international debates in social science on citizenship, and speaks to important interdisciplinary debates about identity, transnationalism, and the relational character of places.

Helga has also made sustained and significant contributions to urban theory, including work on entrepreneurial urbanism, urban networking, and urban governance through spatial technologies. She was one of the first human geographers to appreciate the growing interrelationship between economic globalization and the competitive policies of cities. Her research on global urbanism is advancing efforts to internationalize urban theory by challenging Eurocentric epistemologies and contributing to new methodologies of theorization. Her landmark papers include highly cited journal articles in the AnnalsUrban GeographyPolitical Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Progress in Human Geography.

Beyond the considerable impact of her own research, Helga has also played an important role in fostering the next generation of geographers and social scientists. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of several major journals, her commitment to building communities of inquiry and creating spaces of debate and dialogue is illustrated by her extensive and productive mentoring of graduate students and junior faculty. Helga has served on over 120 graduate committees and placed over 20 PhDs in top departments around the world. She has an outstanding record of co-authoring major articles with graduate students. Helga has also facilitated intellectually meaningful engagements between geographers in the Global North and South by spearheading numerous international conferences, seminars, and research collaborations.

In sum, Helga has had a profound effect on theory, practice, and education in geography. In addition to her extraordinary record of published scholarship, she has substantially enhanced the discipline through her decades of dedicated teaching and generous mentoring of early and mid-career geographers. For over three decades, she has modeled exemplary practices of independent scholarship, collaborative endeavors, and professional leadership for the next generation of geographic leaders.

For these reasons, the 2019 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors is awarded to Helga Leitner.

2019 AAG Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors

LaToya Eaves

This year the Ron F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors is given to Dr. LaToya Eaves in honor of the transformative impact she has had on the AAG through her commitment to Black Geographies.

Several years ago, Eaves began convening a series of sessions entitled, “Black Matters are Spatial Matters.” These quickly became some of the most exciting events at AAG conferences, attracting standing-room only crowds who were hungry for a sustained intellectual engagement with Black Studies, and where Black scholars could congregate amidst the whiteness of the AAG. As the sessions became increasingly popular, Eaves took the lead in proposing a Black Geographies Specialty Group (BGSG). According to one nominator, “previous to BGSG, there was no one place where Black Geographers could wholly identify.” The establishment of the BGSG has had a profound impact on the AAG and the discipline of geography and must be recognized as a potential turning point for the discipline. Although there have been other attempts to promote Black geographies, anti-racist scholarship and Black scholars, the BGSG is distinct because it is a liberatory project that not only foregrounds the Black experience, but also attempts to hold geography accountable for its exclusions/inclusions of Black geographies and Black geographers. Moreover, BGSG is an organic formation, developed by and for Black geographers as well as all others interested in studying Black geographies and supporting Black geographers.

Besides providing an institutional home for Black Geographies, Eaves and the BGSG have also compiled a Black Geographies Reading list; organized a BGSG plenary; are developing travel and paper awards for students; and are exploring collaborations with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Because of the import of Black Geographies, then AAG President Derek Alderman made Black Geographies one of the central themes of the 2018 AAG Meeting in New Orleans. Eaves served as the point person for the theme and made it a central part of the conference. The synergy and impact of the BGSG can also be seen in the development of the Latinx Geography Specialty Group, which was established in 2018. Eaves played an instrumental role in assisting the founders of the LGSG by sharing her experience and materials.

It is hardly a surprise that Dr. Eaves assumed a leadership role in creating the BGSG. She has worked tirelessly for over half a decade to carve out space within the AAG (and geography more broadly) for Black geographies, Black scholarship, and Black scholars. She has done this through institutional advocacy, mentorship, community engagement, and intellectual production. For example, she sat on the AAG Task Force on Diversifying the Curriculum in Geography. In terms of scholarship, she co-edited a special issue of The Southeastern Geographer focused on Black Geographies. As one of her nominators wrote, “Today, one cannot discuss the subfield of Black Geographies without also discussing Eaves…Black Geographies, as we know it today, is a product of Eaves’s professional commitment to Geography.”

Dr. LaToya Eaves makes the AAG an infinitely better organization and we proudly confer the 2019 AAG Ron Abler Distinguished Service Honors upon her.

2019 AAG Gilbert White Distinguished Service Honors

Rebecca Torres

Rebecca Torres is an inspiring and effective public intellectual and scholar activist. Over the last two decades, she has integrated her research, teaching, and service to promote social equity and justice.  Her impressive track record of service to her department, university, and discipline is matched with an equally strong track record of meaningful, substantive public engagement in the communities in which she lives and studies.

Dr. Torres’ academic service covers many fronts.  She is a noted mentor of undergraduate and graduate students both at the institutions where she has worked and more broadly.  She also has nearly two decades of experience helping students engage substantively with questions of social equity and justice through service learning based projects. She has served on numerous campus and disciplinary taskforces and initiatives to enhance diversity and improve the climate for students and scholars of color. In addition, she is the co-organizer of the 9th Race, Ethnicity and Place conference, which took place in Texas in 2018.

Dr. Torres’ record of service outside the university is even more impressive.  For example, while working at East Carolina University, she developed an award-winning community-university partnership — Los Puentes — to create and maintain a bilingual Spanish/English curriculum, which is still expanding to other regions fifteen years after its inception. More recently, her research on rural community development and poverty reduction included a five-year stint collaborating with The Workers’ Defense Fund in Texas, first documenting, and then promoting legislation to address issues such as dangerous working conditions, stolen wages, and social exclusion.  Since 2014, she has put her safety on the line to study and publicize the precarious situation of migrant children at the U.S./Mexico border.  In contributing to scholarly debates about neoliberalism, rural restructuring, migration, and gender, she has simultaneously engaged in substantive action to engage and serve her research communities.

Geographers are increasingly interested in serving as public intellectuals; Rebecca Torres shows us how to do it right. It is for these many reasons that the AAG is proud to recognize Dr. Torres with the 2019 AAG Gilbert White Distinguished Service Honors.

2019 AAG Media Achievement Award

Minelle Mahtani

Minelle Mahtani, the recipient of this year’s AAG Media Achievement Award, is a scholar and communicator who connects geographic scholarship with public discourse. This award recognizes Mahtani’s exceptional contributions as the creator and host of Sense of Place, a daily radio show broadcast from 2015-2018 on Roundhouse Radio in Vancouver, British Columbia, and streamed globally. In her own words, Mahtani’s goal in creating Sense of Place was to: “Produce a show that showcased the in-depth geographical knowledge that informs the injustices that shape our landscapes in the city. I wanted to create a space where academics could share their research in a forum in which they felt respected, heard, understood. I wanted regular columnists who could be Indigenous, Black, people of color where the issues facing their communities could be amplified. Yes, it would be different, but it was the way to develop public dialogue on the issues that mattered to us as geographers.”

Through Sense of Place, Mahtani promoted public dialogue on issues of inclusion and equity. She provided a voice for people and groups who are under-represented on popular and public media. Mahtani fostered discussions of complex issues and challenged listeners to confront uncomfortable topics. As described by a listener, Sense of Place was “bold, unique, brave and truly inspiring.” On Sense of Place, Mahtani melded geographic scholarship with journalism and highlighted the importance of geographical knowledge and Geography’s significant role in addressing pressing political and social concerns. She provided new opportunities for Geography to be understood and appreciated by a broad and diverse audience.

Mahtani is a role model for the engagement of scholars in public discourse. Sense of Place documented the ongoing struggles over inclusion, diversity and place, and the archives of this award-winning radio show provide a continuing resource for educators, students, policymakers, activists and citizens.

For these reasons, Minelle Mahtani has been selected to receive the 2019 AAG Media Achievement Award.

2019 AAG Publication Award

Conference of Latin American Geography

The Conference of Latin American Geography (CLAG) is the premier organization for geographers engaging in research in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The purpose of this group is to foster research, education, and service related to Latin American geographical studies.  CLAG has published various books, proceedings, and special publications, as well as its flagship journal, Journal of Latin American Geography (JLAG).  This is the only geographic publication dedicated to research in Latin America and the Caribbean.

CLAG owns and publishes JLAG in collaboration with Louisiana State University and the University of Texas Press.  The main tasks associated with this journal are completed by CLAG including accepting and reviewing submissions, editing and proofing.  This is time-consuming work but the membership of CLAG believe that it is worth doing and doing well. CLAG’s dedication to a high-quality journal is reflected in every issue, which contains peer-reviewed articles on various aspects of human and physical geography of Latin America.  Each issue also features shorter essays on current events and book reviews.

JLAG is truly international as its authors come from North America, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and its readership is global.  Because of this unique aspect of the journal, articles and abstracts are published in several different languages including English, Spanish, and/or Portuguese.  In 2017 the digital edition of JLAG logged nearly 29,0000 article views on Project MUSE alone with over 20,000 views of older articles through JSTOR and other resource outlets.

CLAG receives revenues from the journal (both print and digital versions) and a large portion of these proceeds are used for travel and research grants to support graduate students working in Latin America.  The biennial international conference hosted by CLAG also receives support from the JLAG proceeds to help offset costs.  In 2018, for the first time, CLAG collaborated with AAG’s Latin American Specialty Group to sponsor the noted Cuban agroecologist Fernando Funes Monzote as the inaugural “Annual JLAG Lecture” at the AAG Annual Meeting.

JLAG is one of the highest-ranking journals that focuses on Latin American studies.  Google Scholar ranked it sixth among these journals with an h-5 score of 11, placing it higher than other notable journals such as HAHR: Hispanic American Historical Review, and journals that are published by larger, multidisciplinary organizations such as Latin American Research Review.

In sum, CLAG’s dedication and stewardship of JLAG has established it as a premier journal of Latin American studies.  The publication is of high quality and internationally known.  The revenues generated by this publication are used to support student research and travel as well as other quality endeavors that advance CLAG’s mission.

It is for these reasons that CLAG is being awarded the 2019 AAG Publication Award.


AAG Names Rita Colwell as the 2019 Honorary Geographer

Rita Colwell (Photo by Sam Kittner)

The American Association of Geographers has named Rita Colwell, the first woman to be director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), as its 2019 AAG Honorary Geographer. Rita Colwell currently is a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, a senior advisor and chairman emeritus at Canon U.S. Life Sciences, Inc., and the president and CEO of CosmosID, Inc.

Colwell’s internationally recognized research primarily focuses on water and health with particular focus on cholera and infectious disease. A pioneer for women in science, she has published more than 750 articles and has authored or co-authored 17 books. During her time at the NSF she not only increased the size of individual grants awarded by expanding the budget of the NSF by 68 percent, but also advocated for greater support for women scientists and science and technology education. Dr. Colwell has taken on many significant advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations throughout her career, including her role as a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Prior to joining NSF, Colwell served as president of the University of Maryland’s Biotechnology Institute and as Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University. She has been awarded 55 honorary degrees, as well as the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan, the 2006 National Medal of Science awarded by the President of the United States, and the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden. The Colwell Massif geological site in Antarctica was named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Colwell may be familiar to some members of the AAG, as she provided the opening keynote lecture at the Centennial Meeting of the AAG in 2004 in Philadelphia, PA. Her talk, entitled “The New Landscape of Science: A Geographic Portal,” still resonates within the discipline today. AAG will confer the 2019 AAG Honorary Geographer Award upon Rita Colwell at the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Details of this session will be forthcoming.

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.


Carla Hayden, 2019 AAG Atlas Awardee, to Speak in D.C.

The American Association of Geographers invites attendees of the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., to join in celebration of Carla Hayden at the AAG Atlas Award Ceremony. Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress, will deliver a keynote address at noon on Friday, April 5, after being presented with the 2019 AAG Atlas Award, the association’s highest honor.

Sworn in as the current Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016, Hayden is both the first woman and the first African American to serve in the position. She is also the first professional librarian to hold the office in more than 60 years. Hayden was recommended to serve as the librarian by former president Barack Obama in February 2016. Following an extensive social media campaign organized by the American Library Association (#Hayden4LOC) urging thousands of library advocates to contact their senators and appeal for the confirmation of Hayden as the new librarian, Hayden was appointed on July 13, 2016.

Hayden has long been an outspoken advocate for the role of librarians as activists, championing equal access to libraries and information. Prior to her position as the Librarian of Congress, Hayden was the CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md. (1993-2016) where she started an outreach program for teens that included homework assistance, as well as college and career counseling. For these efforts, Hayden was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in 1995. She also made the 2016 list of Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and won the 2018 Newberry Library Award for Service to the Humanities.

Hayden has practiced her belief that librarians serve as activists: during the 2015 Baltimore protests as a result of the killing of Freddie Gray, she kept the library open as a refuge and opportunity center while many other businesses and public areas were closed down. While serving as the President of the American Library Association from 2003-2004, she vocally opposed the Patriot Act in support of the privacy of library users. In her new role as the Librarian of Congress she plans to modernize and digitize the vast collections in the Library of Congress to make them more accessible to all Americans while also preserving and respecting their historic structure and significance.

Hayden holds Bachelors of Arts degrees in history and political science from Roosevelt University and both a Master of Arts and Doctorate in library science from the Graduate Library School of University of Chicago. Prior to joining the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore she was the deputy commissioner and chief librarian of Chicago Public Library from 1991-1993, an assistant professor for library and information science at University of Pittsburgh from 1987-1991, and the library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982-1987. She began her career as a children’s librarian and then young adult services coordinator with the Chicago Public Library.

The AAG Atlas Award, bestowed every other year, recognizes and celebrates outstanding, internationally-recognized leaders who advance world understanding in exceptional ways. The image of Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders is a powerful metaphor for this award program, as our nominees are those who have taken the weight of the world on their shoulders and moved it forward, whether in science, politics, scholarship, the arts, or in war and peace. Previous Atlas Awardees include primatologist Jane Goodall, international human rights and political leader Mary Robinson, civil rights icon Julian Bond, and public intellectual Noam Chomsky.


2018 AAG Book Awards Announced

The AAG is pleased to announce the recipients of the three 2018 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, 2017. The awardees will be formally recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

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.

Stephen HornsbyPicturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Stephen J. HornsbyPicturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps (University of Chicago Press). A visual feast, Picturing America combines gorgeously reproduced examples of the many types of pictorial maps with erudite yet deft and graceful text. Hornsby defines this previously underappreciated and understudied genre of popular cartography, which he shows to be a mirror of American society from the exuberant, confident 1920s through World War II and the Cold War. He is particularly attentive to the mapmakers, including women, many of them graphic artists, who defied or skirted cartographic convention to create delightful, clever maps that connected immediately with their audience. This book is likely to make an impact beyond the discipline while it contributes to geographers’ and cartographers’ current interest in story maps and emotional, spatial narrative.

Terence YoungHeading Out: A History of American Camping (Cornell University Press, 2017)

Terence YoungHeading Out: A History of American Camping (Cornell University Press). This very engaging, clearly written book is based on rich archival sources. Young tells the history of Americans’ love of camping in relation to individuals who shaped its changing ideals and practices. Young’s intellectual framework explains camping’s paradoxical relationship to modernity. The escape from cities that camping represented for many Americans also brought the city to what was perceived as wilderness, through the mediation of camping technologies and campers’ impact on the landscape. The book will appeal to readers of many kinds who like to get away by heading out to nature – and it will help them understand their own impulse and its historical roots.

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.

Clyde Woods, Development Drowned and Reborn: the Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans edited by Jordan Camp and Laura Pulido, (University of Georgia Press, 2017)

Development Drowned and Reborn, is a stunning re-imagining of black geographies and the immensely complex historical geographies of New Orleans from its origins in the late 18th century to the post-Katrina present. Drawing on a wealth of archival sources to relate the stories of grassroots intellectuals, laborers, farmers, musicians, and leaders of New Orleans’ diverse black communities, this tour-de-force of creativity and scholarship re-interprets the city’s history as a constant interplay between the oppressive, imperialist, and capitalist forces of white supremacist Bourbonism, with what Woods calls the “Blues epistemology,” a worldview and set of practices encompassing freedom, sustainability, community, and beauty through art in the midst of everyday struggles for survival. The resulting book will inspire a new generation of thinking about critical geographies of the past and present.

 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.

Julie Michelle KlingerRare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes (Cornell University Press, 2017)

The 2017 AAG Meridian Book Award goes to Julie Michelle Klinger for her superb new book:  Rare Earth Frontiers:  From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes.   Clearly written and appealing to a wide, general audience, Rare Earth Frontiers lays bare the complex web of relationships involved in the production and consumption of the rare-earth minerals that power a great many technologies upon which we grow increasingly dependent.  These include miniaturized electronics, telecommunication systems, medical technologies, solar energy technologies, and defense systems.  In short, some of our most vital technological systems today would not be possible without minerals such as Dysprosium.

Intensively researched in multiple locations around the globe, and sourced in multiple languages, Rare Earth Frontiers advances the art and science of geography on several levels.  It provides a firm grounding in the physical elements of the geology and production of the minerals, and at the same time it illustrates their crucial role in geopolitics, especially Sino-American relations.  It also explains their role played in what Klinger terms “scarcity myths.”  Perhaps most important, though, is the way that Klinger is able to represent the massive damage done to the environment in the quest for these minerals, and the concomitant damage done to countless humans caught in the web of production.

Moreover, and rare for an academic monograph, Klinger provides her readers with some concrete suggestions for possible ways to ameliorate the situation and outlines an agenda for future research.  Klinger, in the end, asks us to see past the dominant, manipulative narratives of scarcity to learn from history “to build a more just and sustainable future.”  Rare Earth Frontiers will help us to do just that.