Newsletter – December 2016


Geography in a Post-Truth World

By Glen M. MacDonald

Glen M. MacDonald

This past month the Oxford Dictionary named “post-truth” as its 2016 Word-of-the-Year. The word was chosen because it has seen a “spike in frequency this year in the context of the European Union referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States” and “has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary.” For scholars and educators the idea that being truthful is now optional should be deeply troubling, as it undermines the ethical and operational foundations upon which we function. In this column I want to explore the turn towards a post-truth world.

Two other similar descriptors have become more widespread in recent years — post-factual and post-rational. I believe that these terms are all part of the same sociological and political trend, but have important differences.

Continue Reading.

Recent columns from the President


2017 AAG Honors Announced

Awards_luncheon-150x150The AAG has announced the selection of seven Honorees who will receive the 2017 AAG Honors in one of four categories. Recipients to be honored at an annual awards luncheon during the AAG Annual Meeting are:

  • Ruth Fincher, University of Melbourne, AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors
  • David Robinson, Rutgers University, AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors
  • Michael Storper, University of California Los Angeles, AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors
  • Patrick Bartlein, University of Oregon, AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors
  • Julie Winkler, Michigan State University, AAG Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors
  • Kent Mathewson, Louisiana State University, AAG Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors
  • Michael Pretes, University of North Alabama, AAG Distinguished Teaching Honors

All AAG awards will be presented at the upcoming AAG Annual Meeting in Boston, during a special awards luncheon on Sunday, April 9, 2017.


Celebrate the International Encyclopedia of Geography in Boston

Attend the editor’s panel and reception

he International EncyclopediaJoin us in celebrating the official launch of the International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technologies in Boston! There will be a brief overview of the Encyclopedia from its general editors, followed by a Q&A session with the general and section editors of this great work. Mark your calendars for 5:20-7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2017.

Following this session will be the AAG International Reception: A Celebration of the International Encyclopedia of Geography, an event with food, drinks, music, and interaction with the editors. All attendees are invited to attend.

Learn More.

Abstracts for Poster Sessions are due by Feb. 23

Posters are exhibited for informal browsing with opportunities for individual discussion with poster authors. The AAG will host all themed poster sessions in the Exhibit Hall. Please note that the AAG will add your poster to the session which most closely aligns to your poster’s theme, however if you have a strong preference you may indicate in which poster session you would like to participate in in the “Special Requests” field of the abstract submission console. All abstracts must be submitted by Feb. 23, 2017.

Learn More.

The New England Town: Not a Village

Town House, Vienna, Maine. Photo by author

The New England town and its town meeting form of government invoke images of roadside town line signs and real democracy playing out on the floor of a wood stove heated frame town house in a small town somewhere in Boston’s hinterlands. The New England town is a municipality that encompasses an expanse of land and usually includes compact settlements (villages/hamlets) and rural areas. These political units evolved from the seventeenth century needs of people transplanting themselves from England to the shores of Massachusetts Bay. Demands of church and civic governance resulted in a blending of religious and town government affairs in early Massachusetts.

John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay settlements that would develop in and around the Boston locale was a principal player in both Congregationalism and establishing the underpinnings of New England town formation and administration (Rudman 1965). Towns were charged with providing local services: laying out roads and maintaining them, education, police and fire protection, overseeing the poor, passage of ordinances to protect public health and promote the general welfare of the population.

Read more.

AAG Specialty and Affinity Group Awards

Each year many AAG Specialty and Affinity Groups confer travel grants, hold paper competitions, and bestow honors and awards to their faculty and student members at the AAG Annual Meeting. Notices for these competitions may appear on the relevant specialty group’s website or listserve, or on the AAG News site.

Learn more.

Additional Annual Meeting Updates


Important Election Information: Update Your Email Address with AAG

The AAG election will be conducted online again, and will take place Jan. 11-Feb. 2, 2017. Each member who has an email address on record with the AAG will receive a special email with a code that will allow them to sign in to our AAG SimplyVoting website and vote. It’s important to update your email address to make sure you will be able to vote. If you know your email address is up to date with us, there’s no need to do anything further.

Learn more.

Join the Effort to Make a New AP Course in GIS&T

AP-GISTThe AAG’s proposal for a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T) continues to receive strong interest from high schools, colleges, and universities across the U.S. However, in order to complete the proposal package for the College Board, the AAG needs to collect attestations of interest from at least 250 high schools.

So far 114 high schools have registered their interest in the AP GIS&T course. The AAG invites all members to share the AP GIS&T proposal with high schools in their local community.

Learn more.

AAG Launches New Twitter Chat Series

Join the #AAGChat on Careers in Geography, Jan. 12, 2017

aagchat-careers-social-graphicMark your calendars and be sure to join us for an #AAGChat on careers in geography. The chat will address the many diverse career opportunities for geographers in a variety of industries and employment sectors and how geography students, graduates and early-career professionals can identify appropriate job openings. We will also discuss the many career resources available through the AAG, including our Jobs in Geography Center, Student Opportunities website, and more!

The chat will occur on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, from 3-4 p.m. EST. To participate in the chat, please use the hashtag, #AAGChat. Make sure to follow us on Twitter by searching for our handle, @TheAAG!

Also, be sure to visit our updated social media page to view our previous Twitter Chat held during Geography Awareness Week and learn more about our social media channels and events.

Learn more.

Invest in Geography’s Future with a Tax-Deductible Gift

Tax-deductible donations to AAG Advancing Geography Funds will help the association to generate new geographic knowledge, strengthen geographic education, increase the involvement and raise the visibility of geography in science and policy making settings, and increase geographic knowledge around the world.

Gifts to AAG Advancing Geography Funds may be designated to support specific projects and initiatives or to support the areas of greatest need. A list of AAG Advancing Geography Funds is available at

To fulfill your pledge by cash, check or other method, please download and complete a pledge form.

Donate Now.


Annual Meeting Support‎

AAG has a variety of opportunities for students, un-/underemployed geographers, and scholars outside the discipline to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting.

Some funding opportunities:

Learn More.

Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars Award Program

The Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars Award Program is now accepting applications
through December 15, 2016. This opportunity is for tenure-track faculty who are committed not only to research and teaching but also to building a more inclusive scholarly community. Applicants may not be going up for tenure during the award year (2017–18).

Learn More.



David Slater

David Slater

David Slater, Emeritus Professor of Political Geography at Loughborough University, UK, who was a leading critical development geographer and known for his work on Latin America, passed away on October 20, 2016.

Slater studied for a bachelor’s degree in geography at Durham University in the mid-1960s which was when he first became interested in geopolitics, seeking to understand international relations in a spatial context. He went on to the London School of Economics, where he completed a doctorate in geography in 1972.

Learn More.


Geographer Michelle Behr Named Chancellor of University of Minnesota at Morris

Michelle BehrMichelle Behr, Ph.D., has been named chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Morris. Dr. Behr’s appointment is effective February 6, 2017, pending approval by the Board of Regents.

Dr. Behr is currently the Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the College at Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) in Birmingham, AL. Prior to her arrival at BSC, she served variously as a faculty member, department chair, university assessment coordinator, and college dean at several public institutions of higher education.

Learn more.

Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux Featured in Direction’s Magazine

AAG member Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, professor at the University of Vermont, is featured in Direction’s Magazine’s GeoInspirations series. Guest columnist Dr. Joseph Kerski interviewed her and asked her about how she was introduced to geography and her efforts to promote climate literacy and the use of geotechnologies with K-12 teachers and students, and more.

Learn more.

AAG Member Bailey Anderson Wins 2017 British Marshall Scholarship

Bailey Anderson, a Liberal Arts Honors/Geography, and International Relations and Global Studi
es major, at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a 2017 British Marshall Scholarship. As a Marshall Scholar, Bailey will pursue a Master of Philosophy Degree at Oxford University in Geography and The Environment: Water Science, Policy and Management.

Learn more.


Pre-order ‘The International Encyclopedia of Geography’

he International EncyclopediaThe AAG and an international team of distinguished editors and authors are in the final stages of preparing a new major reference work for Geography: The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology.

This 15-volume work, published by Wiley both in hard copy and online, will be an invaluable resource for libraries, geographers, GIScientists, students and academic departments around the globe. Updated annually, this Encyclopedia will be the authoritative reference work in the field of geography for decades to come.

Learn more.

January 2017 Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’ Now Available

Annals-cover-2016The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 107, Issue 1 (January 2017) of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is now available.

The Annals contains original, timely, and innovative articles that advance knowledge in all facets of the discipline. Articles are divided into four major areas: Environmental Sciences; Methods, Models, and Geographic Information Science; Nature and Society; and People, Place, and Region.

This issue also contains a special forum on Radical Intradisciplinarity edited by AAG past President, Mona Domosh, featuring 6 articles. It is available for free for the next two months.

Learn More.

February 2017 Issue of ‘The Professional Geographer’ Now Available

The Professional Geographer Cover FlatThe AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 69, Issue 1 (February 2017) of The Professional Geographer is now available.

The focus of The Professional Geographer is on short articles in academic or applied geography, emphasizing empirical studies and methodologies. These features may range in content and approach from rigorously analytic to broadly philosophical or prescriptive. The journal provides a forum for new ideas and alternative viewpoints.

Each issue, the Editor chooses one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Re
naming and Rebranding within U.S. and Canadian Geography Departments, 1990–2014
 by Amy E. Frazier and Thomas A. Wikle for free for the next 3 months.

Learn More.

December 2016 Issue of the ‘African Geographical Review’ Now Available

The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 35, Issue 3 (December 2016) of the African Geographical Review is now available.

The African Geographical Review is the journal of the Africa Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. It provides a medium for the publication of geographical material relating to Africa, seeks to enhance the standing of African regional geography, and to promote a better representation of African scholarship. Articles cover all sub-fields of geography, and can be theoretical, empirical or applied in nature.

Learn more.

New Books in Geography – Novemer 2016

The AAG Review of Books office has released the list of the books received during the month of November.

Learn More.



Popular stories from the AAG SmartBrief


Submit News to the AAG Newsletter. To share your news, submit announcements to newsletter [at] aag [dot] org.