Newsletter – July 2020
The Spatial Scale of ‘We’
By Amy Lobben
“Every day around my town, I see signs of encouragement, most frequently – “We’re All In This Together.” That statement refers to the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting and assuming that we are all equally engaged in and affected by the pandemic. Similar messaging is delivered via emails, websites, and store speakers. Oregon’s public campaign takes the messaging even further, reminding us that ‘It’s up to you how many people live or die,’ staying home ensures that we ‘don’t accidentally kill someone today.’”
Save the Date for AAG Seattle!
Join us for the 2021 AAG Annual Meeting April 7-11, 2021 both in person and virtually. We invite you to organize and participate in sessions, workshops, field trips, special events, and activities. Look for the call for papers in July 2020. We look forward to seeing you in the Pacific Northwest and online!
NEW Annals of the American Association of Geographers Issue Alert: Articles with topics ranging from mountain ecology and the topographies of Black freedom, to tech entrepreneurship in South Africa and credit unions as sites of social transformation
The most recent issue of Annals of the American Association of Geographers has been published online (Volume 110, Issue 4, July 2020) with 19 new research articles on current geographic research. Topics in this issue include the social media spaces and networks of the fashion industry; how viral, human, and animal ecologies entwine in the Zika virus; a biogeographic analysis of similarities and differences in mountain tundra; a study of 76 years of data on spatial inequality in Denver; feminist geographic courtroom ethnography; examination of the geographies of a tech hackathon in Capetown, South Africa; a critical/feminist geographic information system (GIS) approach to credit unions as “noncapitalist alternatives to banks and possible sites of social transformation toward a solidarity economy,” and an exploration of the interrelationship of marronage (fleeing captivity to free oneself) with “the topographic and geomorphologic traits of natural environments.” Locational areas of interest include West Berlin; England and Wales; the Rio Grande Valley, Texas; the Pearl River Delta, China; and Cambodia. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including Indiana University; University of Cambridge; University of Namur; University of Tennessee; University of KwaZulu-Natal; and University of California Los Angeles.
All AAG members have full online access to all issues of the Annals through the Members Only page. In every issue, the editors choose one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read The Morphology of Marronage by Willie Jamaal Wright for free for the next two months.
Questions about the Annals? Contact annals [at] aag [dot] org.
In addition to the most recently published journal, read the latest issue of the other AAG journals online:
New issue of African Geographical Review
The latest issue of the journal of the Africa Specialty Group of the AAG, the African Geographical Review, has recently been published. Volume 39, Issue 2 (June 2020) is available online for subscribers and members of the Africa Specialty Group. In this issue you can read Information systems and actionable knowledge creation in rice-farming systems in Northern Ghana by Andy Bonaventure Nyamekye, Art Dewulf, Erik Van Slobbe, and Katrien Termeer for free.
AAG Specialty Groups Call for Action Against Racism
In June, 37 AAG Specialty and Affinity Groups wrote letters of support and pledged action to fight anti-Black racism in the discipline. The Black Geographies Specialty Group wrote a letter that acknowledged the support, urging AAG and its members “to go beyond their statements and work to transform the discipline by addressing its legacies of racism, imperialism, colonialism, homophobia, and sexism.” The letter calls for specific actions for institutions and individuals to take to combat anti-Black racism, support Black scholars, and realize the “potential for transformative change.”
New Specialty Group Written Series on COVID-19, Geoethics, and Human Rights
During the Virtual AAG Annual Meeting in April 2020, nine AAG specialty groups responded to a call for panels on the breaking theme “Geographers Respond to COVID-19.” The panels, which were set up to initiate discussions about the ongoing pandemic using a geographic lens, showcase the application of geography to urgent issues, and to learn from the evolving circumstances to build future preparedness, are still available for public viewing. Reflecting on the important questions of geoethics and human rights raised by many participants, panel organizers have compiled their thoughts in an online essay series from a variety of sub-disciplinary perspectives.
Member-Approved: AAG’s New Conduct Policy
Our thanks to all of the AAG members who ratified AAG’s formal adoption of a revised Professional Conduct Policy, taking action on the work of the Harassment-Free AAG Task Force, AAG Council, and AAG leadership and staff. The new policy is now included in the AAG’s Constitution and Bylaws.
AAG Welcomes New Editor of AAG Review of Books, Thanks Outgoing Editor
The AAG is pleased to announce Debbie Hopkins as the new editor of the AAG Review of Books. Hopkins is an Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Oxford, UK, jointly appointed between the School of Geography and the Environment, and the Sustainable Urban Development program. The AAG sincerely thanks founding editor Kent Mathewson, whose vision and ideas have shaped the AAG Review of Books since its beginnings eight years ago. Hopkins will take the helm when Mathewson steps down on July 1.
AAG Welcomes 2020 Summer Interns
The AAG is excited to welcome two new interns coming aboard our staff for the Summer of 2020! Joining us this summer are Sekour Mason, a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geographical Sciences: GIS and Computer Cartography, and Sarah Strope, a senior at George Washington University, pursuing a B.A. in International Affairs and Environmental Studies with a concentration in international economics.
Policing Research Bill Introduced as Congress Continues Focus on Police Reform
The following update comes from our colleagues at the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)
In the wake of mass protests against police violence throughout the country, Congress has been active in introducing several bills addressing systemic racism and police violence, including a bill for more social and behavioral science research on these issues. On June 18, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST), introduced the Promoting Fair and Effective Policing Through Research Act, a bill that mandates that the National Science Foundation (NSF) fund social and behavioral science research on policing practices and the mitigation of police violence. It also directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish a program to study potential bias in policing tools and technology, and directs the Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) at the Department of Homeland Security to establish a program to support the reduction of police violence. More information can be found on the SST website.
In the meantime, Congress remains fixated on broader policing reform legislation. In the Senate, Tim Scott (R-SC) has introduced the JUSTICE Act (S. 3985), a bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated will be considered by the full Senate. The bill requires police departments to implement de-escalation training and report the use of force and prevents police from using chokeholds in most situations. In the House, Democrats have coalesced around the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120) introduced by Karen Bass (D-CA) and endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus. The bill mandates much more substantial reforms to policing, including labeling chokeholds as a potential civil rights violation, denying grants to some police jurisdictions, and making it easier to sue individual police for civil rights violations.
In the News:
- On June 18th the Senate confirmed Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan as the next Director of the NSF.
- Last month, President Trump further restricted the use of foreign work visas to fill vacancies in the U.S. citing potential threat to the employment of American workers. The suspension included H-1B visas for highly skilled workers and J-1 visas for academics. Several organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) have issued statements criticizing the move.
Profiles of Professional Geographers
The potential to make a real impact on society attracted Yasuyuki (Yas) Motoyama to his career as an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University and the former Research Director at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2011-2017). For geographers interested in a career like his, Yas recommends thinking outside the box and being proactive in explaining why a geographer is the perfect fit for the job. For example, the Kauffman Foundation promotes entrepreneurship, however it has only been recently that has entrepreneurship been examined from a geographic perspective. Be creative about where your skills can apply!
Update: Geographers respond to COVID-19
Geographers continue to act on COVID-19.
- Medical geographer LaShale Pugh took part in an online public forum held by the Youngstown, Ohio-based grassroots organization A.C.T.I.O.N. on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans, even in affluent areas with more opportunity and better health care: “Many of them haven’t been able to stay home,” Push told participants. “They have to go to work, especially if they are in the medical field, custodial work, transportation, and food services.”
- Dr. Tolulope Osayomi, medical geographer at the University of Ibadan, has established and now directs the COVID-19 Mapping Lab at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Dr. Osayomi is working with Dr. Olalekan John Taiwo, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Geography, University of Ibadan; and Prof Adeniyi S. Gbadegesin, immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, professor of Biogeography at the Department of Geography, University of Ibadan.
- Felicity Callard, Health geographer and Professor of Human Geography at the University of Glasgow, documents the experiences of herself and others living with COVID-19 symptoms considered “mild” by governmental health organizations. “Mild, then, as it is used by different actors, in different locations, in different contexts, experiences profound shifts in meaning,” Callard argues.
- Geographers Derek Watkins and Jeremy White contributed to a storymap in the New York Times showcasing data behind the spread of COVID-19 in the US. The map not only highlights cases of infection, but also the effects of state level stay-at-home orders on the reduction of movement and travel.
July Member Updates
The latest news from AAG Members.
“Despite our understanding of colonial thought and power, geographers — like many other scholars — are less willing to look inward.” Aretina R. Hamilton shares her experiences as a Black Geographer navigating the systemic racism built within geography and the academy in .
Geographers Timothy Beach and Fernando Casal from the University of Texas, Austin unearthed a 3,000 year old Mayan structure – the earliest and largest Mayan structure uncovered to date. The site, named Aguada Fénix, was located using a LIDAR survey. Details of the excavation can be found in a recent article in Nature.
Sarah Stinard-Kiel, Geography PhD Candidate and former AAG Student Councilor, argues on behalf of graduate students and the precarious positions they currently hold as essential labor during the COVID-19 pandemic in Inside Higher Ed.
RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES
New Issue of Journal of Latin American Geography Focuses on COVID-19
The most recent issue of the Journal of Latin American Geography from the Conference of Latin American Geography (CLAG) focuses on COVID-19 in Latin America. The Perspectives Forum includes 22 essays from over 50 authors who hail from 12 different countries on 4 continents. CLAG was organized in 1970 to develop geographic investigation in and on Latin America and invites participation from social scientists in all disciplines.
Fall 2020 Geography Conferences Shift to Online Format
The Applied Geography Conference and the Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference have both moved to online meetings in response to health and travel concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Favorites of geographers, both conferences were originally scheduled to be held the week of October 18-24, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Applied Geography Conference will be held online October 18-20, 2020 with plans for an in-person 2021 conference in Toronto. The 10th Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference has been rescheduled to October 20-23, 2021 with a smaller online conference focused on Race, Ethnicity, Place and the Covid-19 Pandemic to be held October 22-23, 2020. Both conferences are still accepting abstracts.
Register for the July Kauffman Early-Stage Research Professional Development session!
Join Kauffman in their virtual professional development series that links early-stage entrepreneurship researchers with mentors focusing on impactful research. The next session will take place on July 31 from 1 pm-2 p.m. (Central US), with mentors Tami Gurley, PhD Program Director and an Associate Professor at the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Jurnell Cockhren, the Founder of Civic Hacker, a tech company with the mission to use software, policy, and data to empower activists to end oppression. This monthly series is open to 15 early-stage researchers to connect with research mentors to discuss research approaches, professional development and the research career trajectory.
The AAG is saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Robert A. Muller and Dr. Dwight Brown this past month.
GEOGRAPHERS IN THE NEWS
- Royal Geographic Society publishes special issue devoted to COVID-19
- Fired Florida Data Scientist Launches a Coronavirus Dashboard of Her Own
- University of New Mexico welcomes first doctoral students entering new joint Geography PhD program with New Mexico State University