AAG Fellows & AAG Awards

Please note the following AAG nominations being solicited at the moment:

AAG Fellows
The AAG Fellows is a new program to recognize geographers who have
made significant contributions to advancing geography. In addition to
honoring geographers, AAG Fellows will serve the AAG as an august body
to address key AAG initiatives including creating and contributing to
AAG initiatives; advising on AAG strategic directions and grand
challenges; and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. Similarly to
other scientific organizations, the honorary title of AAG Fellow is
conferred for life. Once designated, AAG Fellows remain part of this
ever-growing advisory body.

AAG Honors
AAG Honors are the highest awards offered by the American Association
of Geographers. They are offered annually to recognize outstanding
accomplishments by members in research & scholarship, teaching,
education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe
and for lifetime achievement. Currently, honors are awarded in
several categories, including:
– Distinguished Teaching Honors
– Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors
– Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors
– Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education
– Distinguished Scholarship Honors
– Lifetime Achievement Honors
– Media Acheivement Award
– Publication Award

PGSG Business Meeting reminder

Please remember to join us for the PGSG Business Meeting today, Friday, April 7, from 11:50 am –1:10 pm in the Marriott Clarendon Room, 3rd  Floor. We will announce the student and non-student award winners, vote on the new Board members, and discuss a number of other logistical items.

Preconference Abstracts

Submit your abstracts by Feb. 1 for the Political Geography Specialty Group’s 30th annual Preconference at Harvard University. Our gathering this year will be on April 4, 2017 (a Tuesday) and is hosted and supported by Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the Department of Government.

Abstracts of 250 words or less should be submitted to aag.pgsg@gmail.com and are best submitted as attachments in MS Word. That document should also include your name, department, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address as you want those items listed in the program. This year we welcome both paper and POSTER presentations so please clarify in your abstract document (as well as your submission e-mail subject line) the type of presentation for which you would like to be scheduled.

For additional details and inquiries: http://www.politicalgeography.org/pre-conference/
or e-mail: aag.pgsg@gmail.com

You may also contact organizers individually:
Natalie Koch, PGSG President <nkoch@maxwell.syr.edu>
Kenneth Madsen, PGSG Secretary/Treasurer <madsen.34@osu.edu>

Please do not contact local hosts.

Achievement Awards (non-student)

Nominations are also currently being solicited for the following awards.

* Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award
* Virginie Mamadouh Outstanding Research Award
* Stanley D. Brunn Young Scholar Award
* Richard Morrill Public Outreach Award

The deadline for the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award is Jan. 15 (this coming Sunday!); all other deadlines are Feb. 15.

For additional details: http://www.politicalgeography.org/awards/

Submit nominations to: Natalie Koch, PGSG President <nkoch@maxwell.syr.edu>

Student Awards

PGSG’s student members are invited to apply for:

* Alexander B. Murphy Dissertation Enhancement Award
* PGSG Student Paper Awards: (a) Undergraduate; (b) Master’s; (c) PhD

The deadline for both of these awards is Feb. 15.

For additional details: http://www.politicalgeography.org/awards/student-awards/

Applicants should submit to the appropriate committee members as listed on the Student Awards page.

Student Travel Awards

Student members are encouraged to apply for our specialty group award to help fund travel to the PGSG Preconference and/or the AAG Annual meetings in Boston next year. Applications are due December 15.

Looking ahead, applications to the Alexander B. Murphy Dissertation Enhancement Awards and the Student Paper Awards (available at undergraduate as well as Master’s and Ph.D. levels of study) will be due February 15.

Details are available at: http://www.politicalgeography.org/awards/student-awards/

CFP AAG 2017: Contextualizing the effects of the European Migration “Crisis”

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Contextualizing the effects of the European Migration “Crisis”

The sudden increase in the number of migrants destined for Europe in 2015 was so startling it has been commonly labelled as a migration “crisis”, and has thrown the EU and its member states in disarray over how to appropriately cope with the influx of asylum seekers. In its second year now, the “crisis” is changing its characteristics. Migration routes have shifted further south in the Mediterranean to places like Egypt and Libya and become even more deadly. Tens of thousands of refugees are stranded in a legal limbo in precarious refugee camps mainly in Greece and Italy. Barbed-wire fences and militarized border guards are becoming emblematic, again, of European borders. Public discourses and attitudes toward refugees are hardening along ideological lines, while European governments are incapable of working together to provide comprehensible solutions to refugee issues. What is remarkable here is the depth to which this sudden surge in refugees, as significant as it might be, is affecting the European project and European societies to the point of tearing them apart. Equally remarkable are the transformative effects the European response has on upholding the legitimate needs of people in need of international protection and on governing the movement of people across borders.

The aim of this session is to critically examine the effects of this migration from a primarily theoretical perspective. We are interested in contributions reflecting on a variety of developments surrounding current migratory flows to the EU, including security arrangements, identity and representation issues, border changes, legal and economic issues, international organizations activities, and migrant agency. In this CFP, we invite papers that investigate the aforementioned topics as well as topics including, but not limited to:

–       Contestation surrounding EU or member-state regulations governing migration and refugee status, including external pressure on EU member-states to accept refugees

–       Role/impact of Brexit on perceptions and legislation governing refugees

–       Conflicts at borders and challenges faced by both migrants and receiving member-states

–       Policies or beliefs that make certain member-states more desirable destinations than other EU member-states for migrants

–       Investigation of geographic tropes, discourse(s) and global imaginaries that contribute to perceptions of this surge of migrants as a “crisis”

–       Relationship between of migrants’ actions and strategies and reactions and attitudes in receiving states and societies

This session is sponsored by the Political Geography and European Specialty Groups. Please send proposed titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Gabriel Popescu (gpopescu@iusb.edu) and Kara Dempsey (dempseyke@appstate.edu) by Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

CFP AAG 2017: The Contact Zone II & II: Where Species Meet

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: The Contact Zone II & II: Where Species Meet

Co-Organizers: Jenny R. Isaacs (Rutgers University) and Kathryn Gillespie (Weslyan University)

The goal of these sessions is to reflect upon the influence and continued relevance of the concept of the “contact zone” in “more-than-human”/posthuman research, political ecologies, and other multispecies geographies. Twenty five years ago, Mary Louise Pratt coined the term “contact zone” to describe spaces where “cultures, meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today (1991, 1992)”. With the animal turn’s interest in hierarchy among animals/species (Emel & Wolch 1995 & 1998, Plumwood 1993), Pratt’s concept was soon applied to critical discussions of encounters, meeting spaces, and uneven multispecies power relations– prompting reflexive investigations within animal writings/research/ethics (Sundberg 2006, Haraway 2008, Kirksey & Helmreich 2010, Ogden 2011, Collard 2015). The concept continues to have purchase today as always unfinished cosmopolitical projects demand a furthering of the arts of the contact zone in order to understand, learn from, and more fully allow political agency for the nonhuman “other”.

This conversation follows previous AAG sessions attentive to ethical concerns, critical and creative methodologies regarding the problem of where and how to engage with and let the “animals themselves” be heard in ways that do not reflect, rely upon, or reinscribe anthropocentric, asymmetrical, Western humanist structures of power and control. This is necessary because debates continue around shifting norms in human-animal relations within contact zones; including expanded rights, personhood, citizenship, grievability, access and privacy, conservation measures, and humane care standards/certifications.  For example, in everyday contact zones hegemonic human institutions of “science,” “food,” “pet-keeping,” and “entertainment” routinely subordinate nonhuman animals– displacing, violating, and often killing them to advance human ends; these institutions and their embodied effects remain controversial and continue to be directly challenged by scholars and activists who view these mundane, daily encounters as violent violations of animal lives. Conversely, power is exercised when certain endangered animals’ lives are labelled as more valuable than others, including humans, such as those on IUCN Red Lists and those surrounded by legal, protected area boundaries (Neumann 2004, Collard 2014, Braverman 2015a &b, Benson 2015).

The contact zone, then, is a site where ambivalent encounters occur between humans and other species, and often where violence and uneven power relations continue to be enacted. It is in these contact zones that humans and other species are made visible and where they encounter each other in an embodied way. Collard explains, “to look at animals and to be looked upon by animals often entails accessing an embodied proximity to them. Depending on the animal, this proximity may demand a degree of control over and manipulation of the animal,” concluding that the concept of the contact zone is an “apt frame for this reciprocal looking” (2015:4). This “reciprocal looking” demands ethical reflection and suggests a politics at the heart of geographical analyses of multispecies contact zones. Further, as zones of co-constitution, for Pratt and others, (Ahmed 2004, Haraway 2012, Collard 2013), meetings in the contact zone should be examined for their productiveness and transformative effects, without a priori assumptions.

In these sessions, we seek to intentionally “map” or focus on the spatial aspects of human-animal contact zones– transcultural zones, natural-cultural borderlands, frontiers of biological discovery, and places of witnessing–to investigate the locations, terms, affects, and conditions where species meet.  We seek to foster critical discussion about and share researcher experiences addressing the following questions:

  • Why is the concept of contact zones useful for geographers and other scholars who study relations with nonhumans? What have/can/should animal, post/more-than-human, and environmental geographers add/ed to discussions?
  • What are the trends and new places, spaces, and locations of multispecies contact, and how are these impacting norms of exchange between humans and nonhumans?
  • What ontologies and theories of science are enacted in multispecies research in contact zones, with what effects? How and where does more sophisticated technology affect interactions in this zone? How and where does indigenous and traditional knowledge challenge or better inform institutional knowledge?
  • Have the affective, speculative, nonhuman, and emotional turns transformed relations in multispecies contact zones? How do grief, rage, and other emotions operate within these contact zones as modes of politicizing the multispecies encounters occurring in these spaces?
  • As an alternative to biologists and ecologists acting as proxies for nature, how have/might the humanities served as a bridge between species? What genres and forms have or are being used for co-witnessing and to facilitate transductive learning (see Kirksey & Helmreich 2010, Gordon 2014)?
  • What are the disparate, sometimes contradictory human-to-animal ethics within contact zones? How have these shifted over time and how are these changing today in research, law, and practice? Where might these ethical framings be headed in the future?
  • How is cosmopolitical citizenship negotiated, configured, denied or more fully realized at the contact zone/site (Stengers 2010, Donaldson  & Kymlicka 2011, Gabrys 2016)?
  • How does scale function or collapse in the contact zone? Does the contact zone as research site represent or serve as a nexus point to study extended networks– for instance, lively commodity chains– or does it problematically reduce/oversimplify complexity and the myriad connections to more distant geographies? (Whatmore 2002, Collard 2013, 2014, Collard & Dempsey 2013)
  • Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “If a lion could speak, we would not understand him” (1968:223). If contact zones are places of always imperfect translations, what are the limits and burdens of researchers dedicated to multispecies exchange, conflict resolution, and solidarity?
  • What can the “contact zones” framework contribute to enacting more radical,  liberatory relationships between humans and other species? In what ways do the fraught power relations emerging in multispecies contact zones inform our understanding of animal life and commodification in late-modern capitalism? What does it demand politically of the researcher-as-witness (Sundberg 2015, Gillespie 2016)?
  • How do encounters within the contact zone transform parties, create “hybrid zones” and hybrid forms? How might these contacts lead to positive and/or negative mutual transformation? What are the productive aspects of contact zones for better or worse? Do we see and/or anticipate effects of appropriation and/or assimilation between species?

We would like to have one panel and one paper session on this topic. If you are interested in participating in either a panel discussion or presenting a paper on this subject, please get in touch and specify whether you are interested in being a panelist or presenting a full paper. For papers, please send an abstract; for the panel, please send a short description of how you are thinking about the legacy and continued relevance of “the contact zone” within Geography as well as within the context of your own research, with particular attention to what you might contribute to the conversation. Please send to Jenny R. Isaacs (jenny.isaacs@rutgers.edu) and Kathryn Gillespie (kathryn.a.gillespie@gmail.com) by October 20, 2016.



Ahmed, S. (2004). Collective feelings or, the impressions left by others.Theory, Culture & Society, 21(2), 25-42.

Benson, Etienne. (2015). “Endangered birds and epistemic concerns.” in Vidal, Fernando, and Nélia Dias, eds. Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture. Routledge, 175-194.

Braverman, Irus. (2015a).”Is the Puerto Rican Parrot Worth Saving? The Biopolitics of Endangerment and Grievability.” In Lopez, Patricia, and Kathryn A. Gillespie, eds. Economies of Death: Economic logics of killable life and grievable death. Vol. 199. Routledge, (2015: 73-94)

_____________ (2015b). “En-Listing Life: Red is the Color of the Threatened Species List.” In Gillespie, Kathryn, Rosemary-Claire Collard, eds. Critical Animal Geographies”, Routledge/Earthscan (2015:2015-001).

Collard, Rosemary-Claire. (2013). Animal traffic: making, remaking and unmaking commodities in global live wildlife trade (Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia).

______________ (2014). “Putting animals back together, taking commodities apart.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 104.1:151-165.

______________ (2015). “Ethics in Research Beyond the Human.” In Perreault, Tom, Gavin Bridge, and James McCarthy, eds. The Routledge handbook of political ecology. Routledge. 127-140.

Collard, R. C., & Dempsey, J. (2013). Life for sale? The politics of lively commodities. Environment and Planning A, 45(11), 2682-2699.

Donaldson, Sue, and Will Kymlicka. (2011). Zoopolis: A political theory of animal rights. Oxford University Press.

Gabrys, Jennifer. (2016). “Sensing Climate and Expressing Environmental CItizenship” in Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gillespie, Kathryn. (2016). “Witnessing Animal Others: Bearing Witness, Grief, and the Political Function of Emotion.” Hypatia 31.3 : 572-588.

Gordon, Joan. (2014). Animal Viewpoints in the Contact Zone of Adam Hines’s Duncan the Wonder Dog. Humanalia 5:2.

Haraway, Donna, J. (2008a). When species meet (Vol. 224). Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press.

________________. (2008b). “Training in the Contact Zone.” in  Da Costa, Beatriz, and Kavita Philip. Tactical biopolitics: art, activism, and technoscience. Mit Press, 445.

________________. (2012). Species Matters, Humane Advocacy: In the Promising Grip of Earthly Oxymorons.” In Marianne DeKoven/Michael Lundblad (Hg.), Species Matters. Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory, New York: Columbia, 17-26.

Kirksey, S., & Helmreich, S. (2010). The emergence of multispecies ethnography. Cultural anthropology, 25(4), 545-576.

Ogden, L. (2011). Swamplife: People, gators, and mangroves entangled in the Everglades. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press.

Neumann, Roderick P. (2004). “Moral and discursive geographies in the war for biodiversity in Africa.” Political Geography23.7: 813-837.

Plumwood, Val. (1993). Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. Routledge.

Pratt, M. (1991). Arts of the Contact Zone. Profession, 33-40.

Pratt, M. L. (1992).  Imperial eyes: travel writing and transculturation. NY: Routledge.

Stengers, Isabelle. (2010).  “Cosmopolitics I.” Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Sundberg, Juanita. ( 2006). Conservation encounters: transculturation in the `contact zones’ of empire. Cultural Geographies, SAGE Publications, 13 (2):.239-265.

______________ (2015). “Ethics, Entanglement and Political Ecology” in Perreault, Tom, Gavin Bridge, and James McCarthy, eds. The Routledge handbook of political ecology. Routledge. 127-140.

Whatmore, Sarah. (1999) “Hybrid geographies: Rethinking the ‘human in human geography.” Human geography today: 22-39.

______________ (2002).  Hybrid geographies: Natures cultures spaces. Sage.

Wolch, J., & Emel, J. (1995). Bringing the animals back in. Environment and Planning D abstract, 13(6), 632-636.

Wolch, J. R., & Emel, J. (1998). Animal geographies: Place, politics, and identity in the nature-culture borderlands. Verso.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. (1968). Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe. Reprint of English text with index. Oxford: Blackwell.