Newsletter – November 2019


Finding your Parachute or The PhD is Not Just for Academics

By David Kaplan

Graduate students are haunted by the specter of future job uncertainty. Many Master’s students wonder what they will do with their degree. For PhD students, the period between becoming ABD and completing the dissertation elicits a queasy feeling. What will the academic job market be like? Will I land a job in my specialization, will I get a visiting position somewhere, or will I miss out entirely, forced to eke out a living until the next year’s job ads come out? These fears are well founded; academic job commitments for doctoral recipients are under 50%… While there will always be job anxiety, part of it stems from the idea that the PhD must inexorably lead to an academic, preferably tenure-track, position.

Continue Reading.


2020 AAG Annual Meeting Paper Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

The deadline to submit abstracts for paper and lightning paper sessions for the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting has been extended to Wednesday, November 13, 2019. While the AAG accepts all abstracts for presentation, participants may only present once. For those organizing a session for #aagDENVER, the deadline to submit paper and panel sessions is November 20. Poster presentation abstracts have a later deadline of January 31, 2020. Any abstract submitted to the AAG can be edited until February 21, 2020.

Register and submit your abstract today.

Career Mentors Needed for #aagDENVER

The advice of a mentor can be instrumental in preparing young geographers for success in today’s competitive job market. The AAG seeks professional geographers representing the business, government, nonprofit and academic sectors to serve as volunteer Career Mentors during the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. During sessions held each morning of the conference, mentors will answer questions and provide general career advice to students and job seekers interested in learning more about industries that employ geographers, the work geographers perform and strategies for getting into the field. For additional questions and to volunteer, please contact Mark Revell at the AAG.

More information about the Jobs & Careers Center.

Denver: A Multicultural City in the Rockies

Focus-on-Denver-graphic-1Denver is a city of many cultures and a diverse gathering place that hosts ethnic events and festivals throughout the year. It is the site of the nation’s largest Cinco de Mayo Festival recognizing Mexican culture and is also home to the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival honoring Asian traditions. Not long before the Annual Meeting, the city will have the Denver March Powwow, the nation’s largest and most diversified Native American gathering. There are plenty of places for everyone to visit during off hours at the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting including museums, art galleries, and more.

Learn more.

Register today for the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting to be held April 6-10 in Denver, Colorado. Registration will close for those wishing to present a paper or participate on a panel after November 20. For all other attendees, registration rates will increase after November 20.


NEW Annals Alert: Articles with topics ranging from sovereignty to riverscapes to agricultural migrants

Annals of the AAGThe most recent issue of the Annals of the AAG has been published online (Volume 109, Issue 6, November 2019) with 19 new research articles on contemporary geographic research. Topics in this issue include indigenous land useJohn Muirwater governancemidwestern agriculturemetabolic rift theoryperceptions of desertsinformal educationhydraulic fracking, and urban growth. Locational areas of interest include the Rhône RiverBelfastMyanmarthe Murray-Darling Basin, and Christchurch, New Zealand. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including Florida International UniversityUniversity of South CarolinaUniversity of MelbourneUniversity of Warwick, and University of Birmingham.

All AAG members have full online access to all issues of the Annals through the Members Only page. Each issue, the Editors choose one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Return of the Repressed: Native Presence and American Memory in John Muir’s Boyhood and Youth by Paul Robbins & Sarah A. Moore for free for the next two months.

Questions about the Annals? Contact annals [at] aag [dot] org.

NEW The Professional Geographer Issue Alert: Articles with topics ranging from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to Trade Fair Educational Programs

The most recent issue of The Professional Geographer has been published online (Volume  71, Issue 4, November 2019) with 16 new research articles on current geographic research and an introduction to the 2018 Nystrom Competition papers. Topics in this issue include invasive speciesfalse newsflood simulationair pollutionexport expansionlibrary visits#AAG2018, and cesarean section rates. Locational areas of interest include SlovakiaBrazil, and China. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including Eastern Washington UniversitySt. Mary’s College of MarylandArkansas Tech UniversityUniversity of Tennessee, and University of La Laguna.

All AAG members have full online access to all issues of The PG through the Members Only page. Each issue, the Editors choose one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Can a Simulated Flood Experience Improve Social Resilience to Disasters? by Maria Teresa Carone, Loris Melchiorri, Francesco Romagnoli and Fausto Marincioni for free for the next 3 months.

Questions about The PG? Contact PG [at] aag [dot] org

NEW Fall Issue of the AAG Review of Books Published

AAG-RoB-summer-7-4-cvr-babyThe latest issue of The AAG Review of Books is now available (Volume 7, Issue 4, Fall 2019) with 16 book reviews on recent books related to geography, public policy and international affairs. The Fall 2019 issue also includes four book review essays. Also included in this publication is a book review discussion from AAG Review of Books editor Kent Mathewson, et al. regarding the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting Author Meets Critics session devoted to Olwig’s The Meanings of Landscape: Essays on Place, Space, Environment, and Justice.

Questions about The AAG Review of Books? Contact aagreview [at] aag [dot] org.

In addition to the most recently published journal, read the latest issue of the other AAG journals online:

• Annals of the American Association of Geographers
• The Professional Geographer
• GeoHumanities
• The AAG Review of Books

New Books in Geography — September Available

New-books1Read the latest titles in geography and related disciplines as found on the New Books in Geography list. Some of these books will be reviewed in The AAG Review of Books. The editors of The AAG Review of Books are happy to receive suggestions for potential reviews and potential reviewers. Reviews are commissioned by the editors, based on the appropriateness and qualifications of the reviewer, observing the usual avoidances of conflict of interest. Persons wishing to volunteer their reviewing services should have the requisite qualifications and demonstrable prior knowledge and engagement with the subject area, preferably through publications. Please contact the editors at aagrb [at] lsu [dot] edu.

Browse the full list of new books.


AAG Calls Upon China for Release of Dr. Tiyip

“Our organization, the American Association. of Geographers, a scientific society with members in more than 100 countries, has submitted an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping demanding more information and the release of [geography professor Dr. Tashpolat] Tiyip. It is signed by 1,300 geographers and academics from more than 400 institutions.” writes AAG Executive Director Gary Langham in LA Times OpED.

Read the full OpED.

Get Involved in Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day

Held annually during the third week of November, Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day are right around the corner during the week of November 10-16, 2019. For those looking for ideas of ways to promote geography throughout the week, the AAG has compiled a starter list of resources to engage with the discipline. How are you celebrating or participating in GeoWeek? Reach out to us on Twitter @theAAG and let us know!

Plan your participation.

Introducing the “Climate Action Task Force”

In response to a member petition circulated last spring calling upon the AAG to reduce CO2 emissions related to the Annual Meeting, AAG Council formed a Climate Action Task Force. Task Force members Patricia M. Martin and Joseph Nevins report on the early initiatives set forth to attempt to transition to a low-carbon conference model. Planning for several experimental activities is currently underway for the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting.

Read the report.


The Future of NAEP Geography Testing


The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card”, is our most critical tool in measuring and understanding student proficiency within public education. How best to educate students is a perennial question that has been debated within decades of national education policy, and within different iterations of federal laws. It is a question with no perfect answer, but one that we need to continue asking in order to inch closer to a public education system that does the most good for the most students. Without NAEP’s subject level testing, education policymakers and practitioners would lack nationally representative measures of progress toward that goal. NAEP datasets are also valuable for advancing knowledge of factors associated with student achievement in different school subjects.

For these reasons, the AAG was disappointed to learn of the recent cuts made to NAEP’s future geography assessments. Geography knowledge, skills, and general geospatial awareness are important for civic participation and also contribute to success in many other subject areas. And with the rapidly growing geospatial technology and services industry, it is clear that early understanding of geography will only help to prepare students for a wide array of career opportunities.

Our continued ability to measure student proficiency via the NAEP Geography Assessment will be essential for making progress in K-12 geography education. The AAG’s public policy team is currently working with industry stakeholders and allied groups to gain a better understanding of the cuts to the NAEP Geography Assessment and explore the possibility of reinstating NAEP geography testing. Meanwhile, the AAG is also participating in an NSF-funded project to build capacity in educational assessment research utilizing NAEP Geography datasets. This research will be reported at the 2020 AAG Annual Meeting in a special track of sessions sponsored by the National Center for Research in Geography Education, a research consortium headquartered at the AAG and Texas State University.

In the News:

  • The government is still operating under a continuing resolution that extended current funding levels and the fiscal year deadline from Sept. 30th to Nov. 21st. Several, but not all, spending bills have been passed through the House and Senate. However, based on a variety of political pressure points, it seems unlikely that all funding bills will pass before Nov. 21st. This means that another short-term continuing resolution will be in order.
  • The AAG co-signed a letter from the Coalition for National Science Funding that requests Congress appropriate at least $8.6 billion for the NSF in FY2020.
  • The Library of Congress is holding an event on Nov. 13th in honor of GIS Day. The program will feature Librarian of Congress and 2019 AAG Atlas Award Recipient, Carla Hayden, along with Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and other distinguished researchers and speakers. The AAG will be co-hosting a celebratory reception later that day on Capitol Hill with MAPPS, ACEC, and NSGIC.

Profiles of Professional Geographers

Do you have a favorite teacher who inspired your career? Joanna Thompson-Anselm attributes her love of geography to a favorite geography teacher. Now as the Subject Head of Geography for Milliken Mills High School in Markham, Ontario and Course Writer for Senior Geography at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Joanna is passionate about engaging students, educators, and communities with the geographic discipline. Find out how Joanna employs the geographic skills she developed while obtaining her BA in geography and urban studies throughout her career path in this month’s Profiles of Professional Geographers.

Learn more about Geography Careers.

November Member Updates

The latest news about AAG Members.

AAG Past President John Agnew of the UCLA Department of Geography has been awarded the 2019 Vautrin Lud Prize. Often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Geography the Vautrin Lud Prize is granted annually each autumn by a five-person jury at the International Geography Festival. Read more.

What “real world problems” do our applied geography members help solve?

Recently, the Applied Geography Specialty Group (AGSG) sent out an informal survey to its members to identify where geographic approaches are used to solve “real world” problems. AGSG chair, Hannah Torres, discusses the major themes that came up through the 134 responses to the specialty group’s survey. Learn more about the AGSG and take a look at the wide variety of areas where geographers work and the types of issues they are engaged with on a regular basis.

Catch up with the AGSG.


End of Year Deadlines for Grants and Awards, Students and Professionals

As the calendar year comes to a close, several deadlines for grants and awards are approaching. December 31st marks the deadline for multiple student awards such as the AAG Dissertation Research Grants, the Hess Community College Geography Scholarship, and the Marcus Fund for Physical Geography. Students and professionals are invited to apply for fieldwork related awards through either an AAG Research Grant or the Anne White Fund, both also due on December 31st. Nominations are currently being solicited for a variety of books in geography awards including the Globe Book Award, the Jackson Prize, and the Meridian Book Award, all of which are due on December 31st. Members may also nominate their colleagues for the Glenda Laws Award for social justice as well as the AAG Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography. For colleagues who have made contributions to geography in teaching consider nominations to the Harm J. de Blij Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Geography Teaching or the AAG E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award, both also due December 31st.

See all grants and awards deadlines.

AGI Webinar on Earthquake Resiliency and Clearinghouses

The American Geosciences Institute is offering a free 1-hour webinar, Improving Earthquake Resiliency Through the Use of Post-Earthquake Clearinghouses, which will be held on November 14th at 1:00 PM EST. This webinar will provide insight into earthquake risk in the U.S., the importance of coordinated post-earthquake response, and the effectiveness of post-earthquake technical clearinghouses in improving earthquake resiliency. Speakers include Matthew Wall, Executive Director, Western States Seismic Policy Council; Maggie Ortiz-Milan, Program Manager, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; and Cynthia Pridmore, Engineering Geologist, Seismic Hazard Program, California Geological Survey; Chair, California Earthquake Clearinghouse.

Register for the webinar.


Lester Rowntree

Geographer Lester Rowntree passed away on August 30th in his Berkeley home after a long struggle with cancer. Les was most at home exploring landscapes, to both appreciate and protect their cultural and ecological diversity. He made his impact on the disciplines of geography and environmental studies through teaching at San José State University, writing textbooks, scholarly articles on the cultural landscape, and a lifetime of research and activism working with California’s natural environment.

Read more.