Newsletter – October 2016


The Long, Hot Summer

By Glen M. MacDonald
Glen M. MacDonald

It has been a long, hot summer. In July, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released its analysis of global temperatures for the first six months of 2016. Each of these months has set a record for global temperatures. Taken together, this marks the warmest six-month period since the record began in 1880. The temperatures for the first half of 2016 were about 1.3 degrees Celsius warmer than the late 19th century average. This is not a trivial amount.

Two weeks ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its analysis of August 2016 temperatures and found that it marks the 16th straight month of record-breaking temperatures for the globe. California, where I am writing this, is really feeling the heat. High evapotranspiration rates have locked the state in a condition of severe to exceptional drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Recent columns from the President


Noam Chomsky to Receive AAG Atlas Award in Boston‎

Noam ChomskyThe AAG has selected Noam Chomsky as the recipient of its 2017 AAG Atlas Award, the association’s highest honor. The AAG Atlas Award is designed to recognize and celebrate outstanding, internationally-recognized leaders who advance world understanding in exceptional ways.

Chomsky’s wide-ranging intellect and impassioned work have long inspired geographers. And his highly-regarded contributions on contemporary topics concerning globalization and the intersections between geography, economics and politics are of great interest to AAG members.

Noam Chomsky will engage in a conversational interview with AAG Executive Director Doug Richardson, as he has several times previously, at this year’s AAG Annual Meeting in Boston. This special interview with Chomsky will also serve as the keynote session to kick off Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography and the AAG, one of three main Themes of the 2017 AAG Annual Meeting.

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Geographies of Bread and Water in the 21st Century

The Contributions in the Geographies of Bread and Water in the 21st Century Theme will address the complex demands and challenges of food and water provision over the 21st century. Of particular interest are the roles of physical, social, cultural and technological geographical research, education and public communication in formulating and implementing monitoring, adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Glen MacDonald’s Presidential Opening Plenary: Bread and Water in the 21st Century on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, will also serve as the keynote session for this featured theme.

Papers and sessions from all disciplines, subfields, and perspectives are welcome to submit to this theme. The submission deadline is October 27, 2016.

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Uncertainty and Context in Geography and GIScience: Advances in Theory, Methods, and Practice

Uncertainty This theme within the 2017 AAG Annual Meeting will explore research frontiers and advances in theory, method, and research practice that address the challenges of uncertainty and context in geography and GIScience.

Papers and sessions from all disciplines, subfields and perspectives (e.g., geography, public health, sociology, transportation, urban studies, etc.) are welcome.

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Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography and the AAG

This special theme within the 2017 AAG Annual Meeting will explore intersections of Human Rights and Geography, and will build on the AAG’s initiatives to mainstream human rights in geography and the AAG. An Interview with Noam Chomsky by Doug Richardson will keynote this theme at the 2017 Boston Annual Meeting.

Papers and sessions from all disciplines, subfields, and perspectives are welcome to submit to this theme. The submission deadline is October 27, 2016.

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Additional Annual Meeting Updates

Witch Way to Salem?

Salem Witch Museum
Salem Witch Museum

Just a 30-minute train ride north of Boston is Salem, Massachusetts, one of America’s oldest and curious cities. Located on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Salem was one of the most significant colonial and early American seaports as well as having a rich New England history with glory and intrigue. Salem is a small, compact and walkable historic city with just over 40,000 residents and hundreds of colonial-era buildings along with more than 60 restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. Over a million tourists visit annually with Halloween, October 31, being the peak where upwards of 70,000 people come to celebrate.

Much of the city’s cultural identity is defined by the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, 63 years after the founding of the city. Salem is widely known as “Witch City” with the High School’s nick name being “the Witches,” police cars have witch logos, one of the elementary schools is Witchcraft Heights Elementary School and it is hard to walk a single block without seeing witch T-shirts and other occult paraphernalia. The city even has a Harry Potter shop, and in 2015 a local witch successfully sued a local warlock! The culture of witchcraft in Salem as a symbol of Salem is a conscious product promoted by the city and its businesses to drive tourism and was mostly created in the second half of the 20th century.

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Help Make an AP GIS&T Course a Reality

The AAG has proposed a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T) designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of geographic information science and applications of geospatial technologies for spatial analysis and problem solving.

For AP GIS&T to become a reality, the AAG needs 250 U.S. high schools to attest to their interest and capacity to offer the course. Similarly, 100 colleges and universities need to declare their willingness to offer credit to students who demonstrate a proficiency on the AP GIS&T exam.

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AAG Launches New Undergraduate Student Affinity Group

AAG Undergraduate Student Affinity Group flierThe American Association of Geographers will launch a new affinity group specifically for undergraduate students. The Undergraduate Student Affinity Group (USAG) will be an international community of students studying geography, offering opportunities to network and socialize, get advice on graduate study and careers, and take part in academic events.

Undergraduate students can join the AAG for just $38 and receive full membership benefits including access to scholarly journals and publications, exclusive access to the Jobs in Geography listings, participation in the knowledge environments, and reduced rates for Annual Meeting and other event registration. They can join USAG for an additional $1.

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New Council Award Recognizing Outstanding Graduate Student Papers at Regional Meeting

Becoming more involved in the AAG facilitates strengthening professional networks, volunteering, taking part in scholarly activities, advancing academic studies, etc. Graduate students can register to attend their fall regional division meeting and submit their paper at that time to be eligible to win the Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at a Regional Meeting.

Each awardee will receive $1,000 in funding for use towards the awardee’s registration and travel costs to the AAG Annual Meeting.

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Annual Meeting Support

AAG has a variety of opportunities for students, un-/underemployed geographers, and scholars outside the discipline to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting.

Some funding opportunities:

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Department of Education Seeks Nominations for National Assessment Governing Board

The Department of Education seeks candidates for four open seats on its National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). The Board sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a nationally representative measure of U.S. students’ knowledge and abilities in core academic subjects. NAEP is broadly recognized as the gold standard in testing. NAGB is composed of 26 members consisting of “governors, state legislators, chief state school officers, a local school superintendent, local and state school board members, principals, classroom teachers, curriculum and testing experts, a business representative, a representative of nonpublic schools, and members of the general public, including parents.”

Specifically, NAGB seeks to fill the following positions: elementary school principal, general public representative (2 positions), and a testing and measurement expert. Nominations are due October 28, 2016.

Courtesy of COSSA Washington Update 

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AGS Council Fellowship Call for Applications

The American Geographical Society (AGS) is now accepting applications for the AGS Council Fellowship. The fellowship is open to all student members of the American Geographical Society, both Masters and Doctoral students. Each fellowship is worth $1,500 and four will be awarded in the spring.

Upon completion of the research, fellowship recipients are strongly encouraged to submit an article based upon their research to one of the AGS publications, such as the Geographical Review. The deadline is November 1.

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Pre-order ‘The International Encyclopedia of Geography’

he International EncyclopediaThe AAG and an international team of distinguished editors and authors are in the final stages of preparing a new major reference work for Geography: The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology.

This 15-volume work, published by Wiley both in hard copy and online, will be an invaluable resource for libraries, geographers, GIScientists, students and academic departments around the globe. Updated annually, this Encyclopedia will be the authoritative reference work in the field of geography for decades to come.

November 2016 Issue of ‘The Professional Geographer’ Now Available

pg coverThe AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 68, Issue 4 (November 2016) of The Professional Geographer is now available.

The focus of The Professional Geographer is on short articles in academic or applied geography, emphasizing empirical studies and methodologies. These features may range in content and approach from rigorously analytic to broadly philosophical or prescriptive. The journal provides a forum for new ideas and alternative viewpoints.

Each issue, the Editor chooses one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Change in the World City Network, 2000-2012 by Ben Derudder and Peter Taylor for free for the next 3 months.

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AAG Releases New Edition of Guide to Geography Programs

The AAG Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas, or The Guide, includes detailed information on undergraduate and graduate geography programs in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, including degree requirements, curricula, faculty qualifications, program specialties, financial assistance, and degrees completed.

The 2015-2016 edition of The Guide is now available as a free PDF document. The AAG has also published an interactive, companion map where users can search for programs by location, degree type, field of interest, and regional focus.

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‘AAG Review of Books’ Launches Database to Commemorate New Milestone

The AAG Review of BooksSince launching in 2013, The AAG Review of Books has published more than 250 book reviews, marking a new milestone for the journal. To celebrate this landmark, and to enable easier exploration of the vast collection of reviews, the AAG has launched a new searchable database.

Readers can now search the full list of all books reviewed in the journal by title, author, reviewer, theme and other categories. They can then follow a direct link to the review. More reviews will be added to the database as each new issue of the journal is published.

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New Books in Geography – September 2016

The AAG Review of Books office has released the list of the books received during the month of September.

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Environmental Sciences Section Editor Sought for ‘Annals of the AAG’‎

The AAG seeks applications and nominations for the Environmental Sciences section editor for the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. The new section editor will be appointed for a four-year editorial term that will commence on January 1, 2017.

The appointment will be made by fall 2016. A letter of application that addresses both qualifications and a vision for the Environmental Sciences section should be accompanied by a complete curriculum vitae. Nominations and applications should be submitted by Friday, October 7, 2016.

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Wanted: APCG Yearbook Editor‎

The Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG) is soliciting applications for the next Editor of the Yearbook, the scholarly journal of the APCG. This annual journal, first printed in 1935 and now in Volume 78, includes full-length peer-reviewed articles and abstracts of papers from their annual meeting. Published by the University of Hawai’i Press for the APCG, the Yearbook is now part of Project MUSE, a widely used scholarly database that provides full-text coverage for 167 journals.

The five-year term will begin immediately, and includes funding to hire a student assistant, graphics editing, and copy production.

The APCG is the Pacific Coast Regional Division of the Association of American Geographers, serving eight western states, British Columbia, and Yukon. Prospective editors should send a brief statement of interest to APCG President, Stephen Cunha (sc10 [at] humboldt [dot] edu).


Ary J. Lamme III

Ary J. Lamme IIIAry J. Lamme III, a cultural and historical geographer who was Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida, passed away in September 2016 at the age of 76. Lamme was a long-time member of the American Association of Geographers and recognized for 50 years of continuous membership in 2014. He will be remembered fondly by many former colleagues. Lamme leaves behind his wife, Sandra, and two adult children, Laurel and Ary Johannes IV.

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