Newsletter – November 2020


Vote for Geography

By Amy Lobben

lobben_amyw-1No matter what happens with this week’s election, the United States will pivot…We need leadership who understands that we cannot stay in the Stage of Anger/Expression without causing new wounds. We also need leadership that understands interconnectedness of social foundations, and that moving toward Corrective Experiences has to happen through strong societal infrastructure.

Continue Reading.


More Time in an Unprecedented time: Deadlines Extended for 2021 AAG Annual Meeting

Dusk view of the skyline, Seattle, Washington

The deadline for paper abstract submissions has been extended to November 19, 2020. All abstracts for both in-person and virtual presentations will be accepted. Registration fees will also not increase until after November 19. The deadlines for session organizers and panels have also been extended by a month, to December 18. We hope these changes are helpful to all our members given the current circumstances. Our ability to have a great Annual Meeting–and a great organization–depends on you.


NEW Annals Alert: Articles with topics ranging from ecological networks to wildfire hazards on federal lands to electric vehicles

The most recent issue of the Annals of the AAG has been published online (Volume 110, Issue 6, November 2020) with 18 new research articles on contemporary geographic research and the 2017 AAG Presidential Address. Article topics in this issue include lifeworldsthe Japanese solar energy industryneighborhood effects on career choiceurban environmental justiceworld city networksCyberGISmobile workersurban well-being. Locational areas of interest include Indonesia and the Philippinesthe South China SeaSão Tomé and PríncipeEcuadorRomania; and Mozambique. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including University College Londonthe Ohio State UniversityPortland Forestry Services, and San Francisco State University.

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 Family Name Origins and Intergenerational Demographic Change in Great Britain by Jens Kandt, Justin van Dijk, and Paul A. Longley 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 big transport data to public scholarship to antiprotest legislation

The most recent issue of The Professional Geographer has been published online (Volume  72, Issue 4, November 2020) with 16 new research articles on current geographic research and an introduction to the 2019 Nystrom Competition papers. Topics in this issue include whale shark habitatcoastal restorationthe Feminist Geographies AAG Specialty GroupSherlock Holmesthe suburbsurban sprawlvideo store closures, and geospatial technology in geography instruction. Locational areas of interest include Brazil and Italy. Authors are from a variety of research institutions including University of MarylandUniversity of Texas at El PasoUniversity of Waterloo, and University of Illinois.

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 Urban Household Water Insecurity from the Margins: Perspectives from Northeast Brazil by Paula Tomaz, Wendy Jepson, and Jader de Oliveira Santos 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-fall-8-4-cvr-babyThe latest issue of The AAG Review of Books is now available (Volume 8, Issue 4, Fall 2020) with 11 book reviews on recent books related to geography, public policy and international affairs. The Fall 2020 issue also includes two book review fora. Two free access articles have been selected by the Editor for the Fall 2020 issue: The Ethnobotany of Eden: Rethinking the Jungle Medicine Narrative reviewed by Michael K. Steinberg and Spatial Histories of Radical Geography: North America and Beyond from Sidaway et al.

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

Read the latest issues of all of the AAG journals online:

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


Geography Awareness Week is Almost Here

Geography Awareness Week (#GeoWeek) starts on November 16. The AAG has prepared materials that suit celebration and awareness at a physical distance. Check out our resources:

Use the hashtags #GeoWeek and #GeoWeek2020 so we can pick up your news and share it with our followers. Visit our Geography Awareness Week web page for more information.

AAG Careers and Professional Development Series

This fall the AAG is piloting two new webinar series on early careers and geography leadership as a service to AAG members and the wider geography community. The freely available November webinars will focus on careers in geotechnology (November 6); naming Geography Departments (November 17); and careers in business, government, and non-profit sectors (November 20). Recordings of past webinars are also available. The leadership series was organized by Shannon O’Lear (University of Kansas) and Ken Foote (UConn) and the early career series was organized by Mark Revell (AAG) and Ken Foote.

Learn more.

Ethical Research in the Age of COVID-19: A Participatory Forum

Conversations and collaborations on ethics can not wait! The AAG, with the help of members Libby Lunstrum, Junghwan Kim, Ranu Basu, and Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, hosted a participatory forum on ethical science in a rapid research environment. The forum was later presented as a workshop during the AAAS Science, Technology and Human Rights Conference 2020. Discussions from the virtual events have been summarized to continue the exchange of ideas on these vital topics.

Read more.


AAG Endorses the Reconciliation in Place Names Act

“American place names should be equitable and just, honor America’s cultural diversity, and advance dignity for all Americans.” This text can be found in the Reconciliation in Place Names Act, a bill recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Rep. Al Green (D-TX). The AAG is proud to have endorsed this bill intended to address racist names of land units and geographic features across the country. Currently the United States Board on Geographic Names oversees all naming procedures and decisions, but the board’s process is a reactionary one. Name change proposals must be brought to the board’s attention directly, and the ultimate decision-making is lengthy and lacks transparency. This bill seeks to appoint an Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names which would make recommendations to both the existing board and to Congress in order to tackle the considerable number of offensive U.S. place names that deserve prompt attention. Notably, this board would be composed of tribal members and organizations, individuals with backgrounds in civil rights and race relations, and individuals with expertise in geography.

Changing place names in response to a better understanding of their origin and meaning is hardly a new movement, but one that has gained momentum this year. Just this week, voters agreed to drop “Providence Plantations” from their state’s official name, “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” in recognition of its racist connotations. The Reconciliation in Place Names Act seeks to add to that momentum at the national level, providing the structure to confront long overdue changes and give some dignity back to the individuals for whom these place names invoke painful memories. As the bill states, “No geographic feature in the United States should have a name which disparages racial minorities, perpetuates prejudice or honors those who committed or supported atrocities against racial minorities.” The AAG will continue to track this bill’s progress and seek ways for geographers to be meaningfully involved in its development.

In the News:

  • As the presidential election hangs in the balance, Congress must look ahead to the final weeks of 2020. No matter the outcome, the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that has extended FY20 spending levels will expire on December 11th. Unless weeks worth of appropriations work can be done within the month, Congress will have to extend their deadline with another CR or face a possible government shutdown.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that passing another coronavirus stimulus bill will be a top priority when the Senate returns to session next week. He has suggested that Republicans may be willing to budge on previously non-starter issues, saying “It’s a possibility we will do more for state and local governments.”

Profiles of Professional Geographers


For Melanie Vanderhoof, Research Geographer at U.S. Geological Survey, “geography is a way of thinking. Instead of thinking about a topic in isolation, geography embraces complexity, looking for patterns across space and time, making connections across disciplines, and seeking to understand the global context in which a phenomenon occurs.” Explore why Melanie thinks that “geography is an exciting place to be right now” in this month’s profiles of professional geographers.

Learn more about Geography Careers on the recently updated AAG Jobs & Careers website.

Geographers Recognized for National Research on COVID-19


Eleven AAG members have been recognized in 16 research and educational fellowships from The Geospatial Software Institute (GSI) Conceptualization Project. The 14 funded projects will tackle spatial challenges associated with COVID-19 such as public health, social networks and contact tracing, housing stability, and disparities due to age, race, and disabilities, using geospatial software and advanced capabilities in cyberinfrastructure and data science.

Learn more.


Free Access: 49 Articles on Black Geographies and Racial Justice

In response to the call for more open access to vital scholarship on anti-Blackness and racism, issued by the Black Geographies Specialty Group last June and supported by 37 other AAG Specialty and Affinity Groups in their own letters, AAG and Taylor & Francis are providing free access to 49 articles from our journals through December 31, 2020. AAG acknowledges that this is but one action we must take toward creating a more representative discipline that fully responds to the urgency of confronting and defeating systemic racism, within our discipline and in society at large.

See the articles.

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.

Volunteer as a Career Mentor at the 2021 AAG Annual Meeting 

The AAG seeks panelists, career mentors, workshop leaders and session organizers for careers and professional development activities at the 2021 AAG Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. Individuals representing a broad range of employment sectors, organizations, academic and professional backgrounds, and racial/ethnic/gender perspectives are encouraged to apply. If interested, email careers [at] aag [dot] org, specifying topic(s) and activity(s) of interest, and attach a current C.V. or resume. For best consideration, please submit your information by November 20, 2020.

Get involved with the AAG Jobs and Careers Center.

AGS to Host Annual Geography 2050 Online

AAG is proud to sponsor Geography 2050: The Future of the World Ocean from the American Geographical Society. Held virtually November 16-20, 2020 and free to register, the event features 7 themes related to vital trends shaping oceans worldwide and will host a wide range of speakers from government agencies, industry leaders, and academia.

Learn more.

Kauffman Foundation Special Edition Entrepreneurship Issue Forum

Join the Kauffman Foundation for a special Entrepreneurship Issue Forum on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Entrepreneurship Research Community” at 1 p.m. CST on November 13, 2020. The Forum will bring together advisors on inclusion to the Kauffman Foundation’s research team, who will discuss questions of diversity, inclusion, and equity as they affect researchers who study entrepreneurship. Confirmed participants include: Robert Fairlie, Economics (UC Santa Cruz); Kimberly Griffin, Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (University of Maryland); Faye Harrison, Anthropology (University of Illinois); Joshua Lerner, Business (Harvard University); Maria Minniti, Management (Syracuse University); and Antoinette Schoar, Finance (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Register for the Forum.

Research and Teaching Fellowships in Landscape Studies Available

The Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks produces and disseminates scholarship that reframes the narratives of landscape history through a deeper inquiry into the legacies of race, identity, and difference as they shape the practice of democracy, while acknowledging the importance of sustainability, adaptability, and resilience. Apply by December 1, 2020 for either a Mellon Fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies to support academic research projects or a Mellon History Teaching Fellowship in Landscape Studies to support syllabi and pedagogy development.

Learn more.


Resilience in GIS Education

By Michael Gould, Esri Global Education Manager 

COVID-19 Cases across the United States.

Bang. The spring semester was cut short, everyone was sent home, and the fall semester is still morphing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a reset in the way we think about teaching and learning. Distance learning is not new, of course, but forced distance learning on a global scale—that’s a different story. This causes disruption and tension in all disciplines but is more acutely felt in disciplines that are dependent on hardware laboratories, as in the case of GIS. Can we–educators and learners—adapt?

Continue reading.

  • Recent Annals article from Ron Johnston, David Manley, and Kelvyn Jones on the polarization of US presidential voting cited by The Times of Israel
  • Francisca Rockey, founder of Black Geographers in the United Kingdom, in euronews. on launching the movement
  • Tim Wallace, a UW-Madison PhD alum and formerly of Descartes Labs, returns to the New York Times to continue leading innovative projects in spatial visualization