Newsletter – January 2016


New Year, New Name, New Proposal


By Sarah Witham Bednarz

I am writing this column on the first day of the new year. Effective January 1, 2016, the AAG will begin to operate under the name “American Association of Geographers,” rather than “Association of American Geographers.” The membership voted overwhelmingly in both 2014 and 2015 to make this change. The name “American Association of Geographers” is a registered “DBA” or “doing business as” name. Using a DBA name does not require the AAG to change the association’s prior name, and both names can legally be used by the association. The new name will be phased in over the next year.

I know some members are not happy about the change but it is, in fact, a recognition that our organization has changed. We have substantial membership from outside the United States. Our annual meeting is enlivened with participants from around the world. Our journals invite submissions from geographers everywhere and we publish the abstracts in multiple languages. We are an international organization that is located in the United States. The name reflects who we have become. Of course this means a new logo and some adjustments over time. And it means that at some point we may wish to re-think our systems of representation to acknowledge our growing internationalism. We have regional councillors, national councillors—do we need international councillors? That is an agenda item for another president, not me. Continue Reading.

Recent columns from the President

Important Election Information: AAG Voting Now Open

The AAG online election is now open through Feb. 4, 2016. Each member may vote with the special email code you received Monday, Jan. 11, via your preferred email address. This code will allow you to sign in to our AAG SimplyVoting website and vote.

If you didn’t receive your electronic ballot for the 2016 AAG Election, please check your spam folder. To ensure you receive further election communications, please add aag [at] simplyvoting [dot] com to your address book, so we’ll be sure to land in your inbox.

Read about the candidates now.

President: (one to be elected)

  • Glen M. MacDonald, UCLA

Vice President: (one to be elected)

  • Derek H. Alderman, U. of Tennessee
  • Daniel A. Griffith, U. of Texas-Dallas

National Councillors: (two to be elected)

  • John B. Cromartie, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
  • David DiBiase, Esri
  • Jon Harbor, Purdue U.
  • Cathleen McAnneny, U. of Maine-Farmington

Honors Committee A: (one to be elected)

  • Susan L. Cutter, U. of South Carolina
  • Wei Li, Arizona State U.
Nominating Committee: (three to be elected)

  • Meghan Cope, U. of Vermont
  • Andrew W. Ellis, Virginia Tech
  • Hilda Kurtz, U. of Georgia
  • Amy Lobben, U. of Oregon
  • Marianna Pavlovskaya, Hunter College, CUNY
  • Bradley C. Rundquist, U. of North Dakota

Honors Committee B: (two to be elected)

  • C. Patrick Heidkamp, Southern Connecticut State U.
  • Jonathan Leib, Old Dominion U.
  • Laura Pulido, U. of Southern California


Session Commemorating William Garrison To Follow Presentation of Garrison Award

The recipient of the William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography will present their paper at the AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco. A memorial session and reception to commemorate the life of Bill Garrison will follow. Learn more.

Garrison Award Session
Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 3:20 p.m.
San Francisco, CA (Room TBD)

Tributes in Memory of William L. Garrison
Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 5:20 p.m.
San Francisco, CA (Room TBD)

RS-books-300x215-1.Rebecca Solnit: ‘Mapping the Infinite City’ – A talk on the ‘infinite trilogy’ of atlases

When the trilogy Rebecca Solnit and a host of collaborators launched in 2010 with Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas concludes with the New York atlas co-directed by geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, the teams will have produced three books and 70 maps making postulates about both the nature of cities and the possibilities of contemporary cartography.

This talk will explore what maps can do, or at least what these particular maps do, the ways these projects are counters to the rise of digital navigation and celebrations of what maps did in other eras, and how cartography lets us grasp or at least gaze at the inexhaustibility of every city, the innumerable ways it can be mapped. Learn More.

Painted_Ladies_San_Francisco_January_2013_panorama_2-300x225-1Explore the Growing List of AAG 2016 Field Trips, Workshops and Excursions

Explore the rich physical and cultural geography of San Francisco, Calif., and the Bay Area through informative field trips led by geographers or other experts. Field trips and excursions are also an excellent way to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and friends. Also, expand your knowledge base and sign up for a workshop within your area of expertise. Learn More.


Bay Area Open Space Is ‘Not’ Open Space

By Sheila Barry, Paul F. Starrs, and Lynn Huntsinger

hiker_landscape_barry_sheila-300x225-1. Fig 1: A hiker takes a landscape of grazing cattle, wildflowers, and broad views, walking through prime Checkerspot Butterfly habitat, Coyote Ridge, south of San Jose, California. (Photograph by Sheila Barry)

The San Francisco Bay Area has more open space within its borders than any other metropolitan area in the United States, an intriguing state of affairs for a regional population approaching nine million people. While so much open space provides a scenic landscape and exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and hang gliding, it also supports the area’s most prevalent land use. From Santa Clara to Sonoma County — on private lands, regional parks, on habitat conservation and watershed lands — cattle ranching continues as the number-one land use in this famed tourist destination and hotbed of the knowledge economy and high tech industry. Whether the working ranches are on public or private land, many Bay Area ranchers represent a fourth, fifth, or sixth generation stewarding the land and their livestock, drawing on older traditions and practices of pastoralists and primary producers. Ranching or working rangelands describe the land use of over 1.7 million acres of the Bay Area’s 4.5 million acres of open space ( Rangelands that produce both livestock products and ecosystem services are known as “working landscapes” in the Bay Area. Learn More.

[Focus on San Francisco is an on-going series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of San Francisco and the Bay Area]


Call for Abstracts: Special Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’ on Social Justice and the City

The Annals of the American Association of Geographers is seeking contributions for a Special Issue on “Social Justice and the City.”

We are seeking papers from a broad spectrum of scholars on social justice struggles in urban contexts. While we hope to be able to publish conceptual research drawing on now 40 years of cutting edge research in Geography on “social justice and the city,” we also hope to solicit papers on urgent contemporary issues, which will inform and motivate a broad audience of consumers and producers of geographic knowledge, from policy makers to grassroots activists. Learn More.


‘Annals’ Welcomes Two New Editors

Our flagship journal, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, begins the new year with a change of editorship.

Bruce Braun and Richard Wright have completed their four year terms as editors of the Nature and Society, and People, Place and Region sections respectively. Their successors are James McCarthy and Nik Heynen.

James McCarthy is a Professor in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. Nik Heynen is a Professor in the Department of Geography at University of Georgia. Learn More.



Leading Geography Historian and AAG Archivist Geoffrey Martin To Speak at Library of Congress

Dr. Geoffrey Martin, a prominent historian of American geography, will discuss “On the History of the Book —American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the Library of Congress. This special event, which is free and open to the public, will focus on Martin’s most recent major work, and will include a display of related rare maps and atlases from the collections of the library’s Geography and Map Division. Opening remarks will be delivered by Ralph Ehrenberg, Chief of the Geography and Map Division, and Douglas Richardson, Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Learn More.

Kavita Pandit

Kavita Pandit Named Associate Provost at Georgia State U.

Georgia State University recently announced the appointment of Kavita Pandit as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, effective March 1, 2016. Pandit was AAG President in 2006 and currently serves as associate provost for international education at the University of Georgia.

Her previous academic administrative positions include senior vice provost for the State University of New York, as well as associate dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and head of the department of geography at the University of Georgia. Learn More.



Apply Now for Travel Grants for the AAG IGU 2016 Beijing Conference

AAG is now accepting applications for 2016 AAG NSF International Geographical Union (IGU) Conference Travel Grants. The application deadline has been extended to January 25. The conference will take place August 21-25 in Beijing, China. Learn More.

Gulf Research Program Accepting Applications for Exploratory Grants

The Gulf Research Program’s Exploratory Grants Funding Opportunity is now open. Applications are being accepted for innovative research projects that seek to break new ground in Informing Coastal Community Planning and Response to Environmental Change in Regions with Offshore Oil and Gas Operations. These grants will support the development and testing of new methods, technologies, and approaches that improve the capabilities of communities in coastal regions to successfully plan for, mitigate, and adapt to environmental change–specifically in the context of how these changes may affect or be affected by offshore oil and gas operations. Learn More.


GMMap_1_7_2016-300x175-1. GeoMentors Willing to Help Educators Many GIS professionals want to help educators and youth use GIS, and are willing to be a GeoMentor. List yourself as an educator or GeoMentor.

January is National Mentoring Month: Join the GeoMentors Program

President Obama issued a proclamation last month designating January as “National Mentoring Month” in support of the Nation’s young people and to “honor those who give of themselves to uplift our next generation.” In the proclamation, the President states, “Working together, we can provide every child with the tools, guidance, and confidence they need to flourish and succeed.” Read the complete Presidential Proclamation – National Mentoring Month.

In observance of National Mentoring Month, the AAG welcomes everyone from the broad GIS community, across all disciplines and sectors, to consider volunteering with the AAG-Esri ConnectED GeoMentors Program to enhance GIS and geographic learning in US K-12 schools through the introduction of ArcGIS Online into classrooms across the country. Learn More.


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