Human Rights and Geography: Our Authors at AAG

One of the themes in this year’s American Association of Geographers conference (occurring in Boston from April 5 – 9) is Mainstreaming Human Rights and Geography. Many geographers and scholars from all disciplines are concerned about human rights and seek meaningful ways to act on their values. Below are a list of some of our authors participating in an Author Meets Critics sessions.

Author Meets Critics Sessions

A Relational Poverty with Ananya Roy, author of Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World

Friday, 4/7/2017, 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Fairfax A, Sheraton, Third Floor

Encountering Poverty is a genre-busting book, hybrid critical textbook and scholarly monograph, that pushes the reader to reflect on her or his preconceptions about, and desire to redress, global poverty. Its provocative arguments and deployment of innovative teaching tools will stimulate the most seasoned poverty scholar-educator.”—Eric Sheppard, coauthor of A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development

And read more from Ananya in her piece, In “Defense of Poverty.” 

States of Disease with Brian King, author of States of Disease: Political Environments and Human Health

Friday, 4/7/2017, from 5:20 PM – 7:00 PM in Boylston, Marriott, First Floor

“Social scientists have increasingly applied new analytical approaches to the study of health—yet the discipline of geography has largely been on the sidelines. States of Disease sharpens the cutting-edge tools of political ecology to argue persuasively that ecological conditions are integral to the politics and spatiality of disease and wellness. In contributing to multilayered understandings of HIV/AIDS, the book challenges dominant biomedical approaches.”—Mark Hunter, author of Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa

And read more from Brian on climate change and the fight against HIV/AIDS.


Other Sessions

1413 Checking in on the failures and accomplishments of green capitalism
with Gregory L. Simon, author of Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change, and the Great Oakland Hills Fire

Wednesday, 4/5/2017, from 12:40 PM – 2:20 PM in Room 202, Hynes, Second Level

Flame and Fortune in the American West cover“It’s been a while since anyone has developed such a sustained critique of the fire-capitalist development complex, but Gregory Simon has done it in a way that will attract readers to the argument and issues that he tackles. Few other people could write this, and none could write it in this style. This is a book that needs to be read.”—Eric Perramond, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Southwest Studies at Colorado College


1623 Spatial Narrative in the GeoHumanities: Aesthetics, Methods, and Theory
with Nicholas Bauch, author of A Geography of Digestion: Biotechnology and the Kellogg Cereal Enterprise

Wednesday, 4/5/2017, from 4:40 PM – 6:20 PM in Room 303, Hynes, Third Level

“Nicholas Bauch navigates the reader from the microscale of bodily organs and bacteria to the macroscale of the nation. Written in engaging and lucid prose, A Geography of Digestion blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, between the inner geographies of the human body and their projection on the landscape. Thoroughly researched, captivating, and compellingly geographical, this is one of those rare academic books you will find hard to put down.”—Veronica della Dora, Royal Holloway, University of London

Radicalizing the politics of ‘living with’: enacting race, ethnicity, and difference in animal geography scholarship with Julie Guthman, author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism and Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California

Thursday, 4/6/2017, from 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM in Massachusetts, Marriott, Fifth Floor

Weighing In is filled with counterintuitive surprises that should make us skeptics of all kinds of food — whether local, fast, slow, junk or health — but also gives us the practical tools to effectively scrutinize the stale buffet of popularly-accepted health wisdom before we digest it.” —Paul Robbins, professor of Geography and Development, University of Arizona



The 25th Anniversary of the Great Oakland Hills Fire

by Gregory L. Simon, author of Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change, and the Great Oakland Hills Fire

Flame and Fortune in the American West cover

Another day, another menacing wildfire. This appears to be the new fire regime for much of the American West. These days it is not uncommon to learn of several fire events each week – many of which threaten human settlements and force the evacuation of hundreds at the urban fringe. Meanwhile, tens of millions of dollars are spent fighting dangerous fires each month – an ever-expanding budget that reached nearly one billion in California alone during the 2016 fiscal year.

Continue reading “The 25th Anniversary of the Great Oakland Hills Fire”

Understanding Yellowstone

by James E. Meacham, co-editor of Atlas of Yellowstone

9780520271555Understanding a place as complex and as important as Yellowstone is a daunting task. As an atlas cartographer, compelling maps combined with imagery and words are my tools to helping tell Yellowstone’s complicated story. The geographic perspective is the cartographer’s lens to interpret the deep and broad knowledge on Yellowstone that has been collected and analyzed since before the National Park was established in 1872. The goal of creating the Atlas of Yellowstone was to unify that wealth of knowledge and make it accessible. John Varley, a retired career Yellowstone scientist, refers to the Atlas of Yellowstone as a “… synthesis equally useful to the public and scientists alike.” Over the ten years I worked with my co-authors, colleagues, and students in the production of the Atlas of Yellowstone, and we synthesized the knowledge and stories contributed by dozens of scientists, historians, ethnographers, and park managers, that have invested their careers and their hearts in this place that is held ecologically and culturally sacred by so many.

Yellowstone is of course more than what can be scientifically measured, there is a spirit there that artists and poets have been working to capture since it became known to the broader world through the works of painter Thomas Moran, and photographer William Henry Jackson of the Hayden Expedition of 1871 that helped persuade President U. S. Grant and Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first national park. Historical Geographer, Judith Meyer, writes “…the Park houses a genus loci or spirit of place: an infectious, irresistible force that stirs something within so many of us”. Through my decade long experience of collaboratively mapping the greater Yellowstone, I saw in myself a gradual and profound change in my relationship with Yellowstone as a place. Yellowstone evolved beyond being a remarkable place of study, to a place of refuge and connection.

James E. Meacham is Senior Research Associate and Executive Director of InfoGraphics Lab in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. He is the Cartographic Editor of the Atlas of Yellowstone (UC Press, 2012). His current project is working on the Atlas of Wildlife Migration: Wyoming’s Ungulates.

How to Survive the Disruption of Higher Ed? Focus on Rigor, Relevance and Reach

by Garrett Broad, author of More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change

This guest post is published in conjunction with the American Association of Geographers conference

We’re an easy target, us academics.

Most people don’t really know what we spend our time doing (hint: those lectures you see us deliver take time to prepare, squeezed in between advising students, committee work, research and writing), the idea of tenure seems both luxurious and archaic (it’s actually a pretty grueling process, and hardly automatic), while the skyrocketing cost of tuition suggests that faculty get rich at the expense of vulnerable young people (in truth, even the lucky ones aren’t rich, while our “adjunct underclass” often lives around the poverty line).

9780520287457With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise to see that “Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education” is one of the themes for this month’s conference of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). I’m actually not a geographer – my PhD is in Communication – but I will be attending the AAG conference, in part to hear what other scholars have to say about this question of “thriving” in such a precarious moment.

Without a doubt, there are aspects of this disruption that are completely beyond our control. But as I’ve come to learn in my early career as a scholar, there are things we can do as communities of professors, researchers, and university administrators to make academics less of an easy target in the future.

Three words come to mind: Rigor, Relevance, and Reach.

I am borrowing here from the mission statement of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California, which introduced these terms as the “new three R’s” that should guide community-engaged research in the 21st century.

These new three R’s were central to the scholar-activist approach I took in writing my new book, More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change. I knew the work had to be rigorous – any serious contribution to the research community or society at large must be methodologically and theoretically sound. The project was inherently relevant – food injustice is an everyday reality for too many citizens of the globe, while the food movement needs to do a better job of confronting systemic inequality in its varied programs. The reach part, however, has proved a bit more challenging – academics are still incentivized to write esoteric books and papers that very few people read, so it takes extra work to connect with audiences outside of the ivory tower through both multimedia and interpersonal platforms (like writing this blog post and doing community events during my Spring Break).

I know I’m far from the only academic who sees relevance, rigor, and reach as important to their work. Before we are disrupted out of a profession, let’s make sure other people know that’s the case.

Garrett M. Broad is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.

Visit Us at the 2015 American Society for Environmental History Conference!

Join University of California Press this spring in the nation’s capital for the 2015 American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes March 18-22 in Washington, DC.

Please visit our table in the Washington Marriott Georgetown to purchase our latest Environmental History publications for the following offers:

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Our Environmental History list is comprised of a broad selection of titles ideal for research and courses. Our groundbreaking authors and award winning titles explore topics within natural history, geography, world history, and ecological studies.

Please see our conference program ad for our latest offerings. Acquisitions staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Check out #aseh2015 and #envhist for current meeting news.

A San Francisco Visionary

Rebecca Solnit photoUtne Reader has named Rebecca Solnit one of its 25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World, praising Solnit for telling a different story than the one told by mainstream media in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—”a story of strength and resilience” that revealed “the courage and humanity displayed by the millions of volunteers who helped save New Orleans from extinction.”Infinite City cover

Solnit will celebrate the release of Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas at venues around the Bay Area this winter. Infinite City is Solnit’s reinvention of the traditional atlas, examining the layers of San Francisco’s cultural geography with the aid of cartographers, a designer, and 27 artists and writers, along with local experts on everything from labor history to butterfly territories.

Join Solnit at the San Francisco Public Library November 9, Moe’s Books November 10, SFMOMA November 11, the San Francisco Zen Center November 21, and City Lights Booksellers December 2.

Read 7×7 magazine’s feature on Infinite City, complete with three maps from the collection.