Time for a Radical Geographic Literacy in Trump America

By Derek Alderman

Globe-masked-in-fist-252x300I am sure many of you know of the strong allegations that Mr. Donald Trump—frustrated with a bipartisan immigration proposal—argued that America needs more immigrants from places like Norway and fewer from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations, which the President reportedly called “shithole countries.” More than mere “locker room cartography,” as one late night comic put it, the President’s harmful words project a racialized map of the world that represents Haitians, Salvadorians, and Africans not only as unwelcomed, but also as inferior. By reducing countries and an entire continent to a pejorative label, Mr. Trump denies the complexity, dignity, and richness of life in these countries and the creative resilience and resistant survivability that have always existed amid and in opposition to political oppression and poverty.

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Read past columns from the current AAG President on our President’s Column page.


Preliminary Program for #AAG2018 Available!

Schedule ButtonThe Preliminary Program for #AAG2018 has been released! The online searchable program includes a preliminary agenda of sessions, plenary speakers, and specialty group meetings. You can browse the schedule by author, title, keyword, sponsor group, theme and day.

Browse the program.

Plan Your Trip to #AAG2018

med_20130131_jacksonsquare_014-300x200With the release of the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting Preliminary Program, now is the best time to book your travel to New Orleans. The AAG is pleased to partner with United Airlines, Amtrak, and Super Shuttle to help reduce costs for Annual Meeting attendees traveling to New Orleans by train or airplane. Stay close to the action in the AAG co-headquarter hotels. The Opening Plenary and International Reception will take place in the Sheraton New Orleans and the Exhibition Hall and Registration can be found in theMarriott French Quarter. Limited rooms are still available in the AAG block of rooms in each hotel.

Plan your trip.

Nora Newcombe and David Lambert to Keynote Geography Education Research Track at 2018 AAG Annual Meeting

NCRGE_logoThe National Center for Research in Geography Education (NCRGE) is pleased to announce keynotes by Nora Newcombe and David Lambert for a special track of geography education sessions during the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Nora Newcombe’s lecture, “GPS in Our Heads: What Do Behavioral and Neural Data on Navigation Offer to Geography Educators?”, engages the long and controversial proposal that humans can develop cognitive maps of their environment. Following Newcombe’s lecture, David Lambert will deliver a lecture entitled “Nurturing the ‘Garden of Peace’: Powerful Geographical Knowledge and the Pursuit of Real Education.”

Learn more about the NCRGE keynote.


Élisée Reclus in Louisiana (1853-1855): Encounters with racism and slavery


In 1853, New Orleans was second only to New York City as the largest port city in the United States. The early capitalist economy welcomed a young Élisée Reclus, French geographer and future anarchist, to its shores, forever changing the scholar’s philosophical stance. In this article, Federico Ferretti uses Reclus’ accounts of the city to trace the roots of a geographer “later considered as a founding figure in both scientific geography and socialist libertarianism (anarchism).”

Read the full story.

Louisiana’s Turn to Mass Incarceration: The Building of a Carceral State

“The history of the Louisiana penal system is marked through crisis,” states Lydia Pelot-Hobbs in her expose on the decentralization of ‘Angola,’ the state of Louisiana’s only prison, during the late 20th century. The carceral geographies of New Orleans during the 1970s and 1980s are continuing to shape its political geographies today.

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New Orleans: Place Portraits

2018 marks the tricentennial anniversary of the city of New Orleans, site of the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting. Over the course of its 300 years, the Big Easy has experienced quite a few changes. New Orleans’ unofficial “geographer laureate” Richard Campanella of the Tulane School of Architecture chronicles a few in this month’s Place Portraits: how Bourbon Street became a place to publicly imbibe, the shift of the Louisiana state capitol from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and three centuries of responses to natural and human disasters.

Read all three articles:

“Focus on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast” is an ongoing series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the greater Gulf Coast region in preparation for the 2018 Annual Meeting.


First Round of 2018 AAG Award Recipients Announced

The American Association of Geographers congratulates the individuals 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 during the AAG Awards Luncheon at the Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

See the Awardees.

AAG Welcomes Two Spring Interns

The AAG is excited to have two new interns join our staff for the Spring 2018 semester. Laura Akindo, graduate of Frostburg State University, and Hannah Ellingson, sophomore at The George Washington University, will both be assisting staff on a variety of internal projects in addition to the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting.

Learn more about Laura and Hannah.

2018 AAG Elections – Now Open!

The 2018 AAG election is being conducted online between January 31 and February 22, 2018. Ballots will be emailed to members based on the email address provided to the AAG. Candidate information is currently available on the AAG website.

Details on the election process 


Profiles of Professional Geographers

Each month, learn more about the field of geography from people who are working in it! This month, AAG talked to Leslie McLees, Undergraduate Coordinator & Instructor at the University of Oregon Department of Geography, and Pete Chirico, Research Geographer & Associate Director of the Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center at U.S. Geological Survey. Both discussed the need for effective communication skills on the job market and their passions for geography.

Learn more about Geography careers.

Qihao Weng named fellow by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has named geographer and long time AAG Member, Qihao Weng to its list of fellows. Weng has been a professor at Indiana State University since 2001 where his research focuses on urban remote sensing. The author of 210 articles and 10 books, Weng is the 2015 AAG Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award recipient.

Find out more about Weng and the IEEE.


AAG Snapshot: AAG Journals

snapshot aagLooking to learn more about the four scholarly journals published by the AAG throughout the year? In this month’s AAG Snapshot, delve into the academic publishing sphere as AAG Publications Director Jennifer Cassidento shares tidbits about the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Professional Geographer, GeoHumanities, and The AAG Review of Books!

Learn more about AAG journals.


Winter 2018 Issue of ‘The AAG Review of Books’ Now Available

Volume 6, Issue 1 of The AAG Review of Books has now been published online. In this first issue of 2018 be sure to check out the discussions of Concrete Revolution: Large Dams, Cold War Geopolitics, and the US Bureau of ReclamationDegraded Work: The Struggle at the Bottom of the Labor Market, and Cities in Global Capitalism.

Read the reviews.

New Books in Geography — December 2017 Available

New Books in Geography illustration of stack of books

Forests and labor and states, oh my! Check out the list of new books in geography that were received by the AAG during the month of December. The New Books list contains recently published titles in geography and related fields.

Browse the whole list of new books.

February 2018 Issue of the ‘Professional Geographer’ Now Available

PG coverThe Professional Geographer, Volume 70, Issue 1, has been published. The focus of this journal is on short articles in academic or applied geography, emphasizing empirical studies and methodologies. Volume 70, Issue 1 includes a focus section entitled: Critical Data, Critical Technology.

See the newest issue.

Read the January 2018 Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’  


The first issue of volume 108 of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers has been published. Read articles that span the breadth of the discipline, organized into four major areas: Methods, Models, and Geographic Information Science; Nature and Society; People, Place, and Region; and Physical Geography and Environmental Sciences.

Full article listing available.


Confessions of a Conference Thief

By Mark Fonstad

No-recording-microphone-300x300“I was a thief. A mild thief, but a thief nonetheless. In 1996, the Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium held a series of talks on the topic of “The Scientific Nature of Geomorphology”. As a young a 23-year old graduate student, I registered and then covertly audio-recorded the talks from a cassette recorder hidden in my jacket pocket. Even though it wasn’t stated explicitly, I guessed that doing this would probably constitute theft of intellectual property. But I did it anyway…”

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Teaching Modern GIS

“As educators, we are always faced with challenges on how we structure our curriculum activities to ensure that we are in line with modern industry practices. This is easier said than done—for one, there is likely no consensus on what a “modern geographic information system (GIS)” means; and two, it takes a tremendous amount of time to do curricula updates… Below is an attempt to outline a few important topics amid the massive digital transformation we have experienced.”

Read the list.

Featured Articles is a special section of the AAG Newsletter where AAG sponsors highlight recent programs and activities of significance to geographers and members of the AAG. To sponsor the AAG and submit an article, please contact Oscar Larson olarson [at] aag [dot] org.



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