Preconference preliminary program

The preliminary program is now available for the

29th Annual PGSG PreconferenceSan Francisco 2016

 Download program here.

Abstracts are here.

Date & time: Monday, 28 March 2016 from 8 AM – 5:45 PM.

Location: Nikko Hotel, 222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Lodging: This year’s venue is one of the AAG conference hotels, so you should plan to stay wherever you prefer for the main conference.

Registration: All are welcome. No charge for students. $20 registration fee for faculty only. Faculty, please bring cash on the day of the event.


CFP: Borderless worlds – for whom? (RELATE, Oulu, 7-8 Sept. 2016)

Borderless worlds – for whom? Ethics, moralities and (in)justice in migration and tourism
Conference organised by RELATE, the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence,
University of Oulu, 7-8 September 2016

The notion of a borderless world came to prominence especially after the collapse of socialist Eastern Europe. The conceptualisation of a borderless world sought to deal with the increasingly globalised networks of flows of capital and information. “Borderless world” is now a recurrent term in the titles of numerous academic and non-academic texts, though the optimism associated originally with this idea has vanished during the last 25 years or so when more nuanced views of borders have come to dominate both academic debates and social and political life. While economic flows and some factions (e.g. business people, academics and wealthy tourists) cross borders quite freely, not all travellers are welcome; a number of states around the world actively construct and strengthen borders and build even concrete walls to prevent and control certain forms of mobilities (terrorists, illicit smuggling, and undesirable migrants). The figure of the migrant or refugee increasingly dominates discussion on borders. Borders and bordering practices are inscribed onto the bodies of mobile people, allowing some to cross freely, while obstructing and/or preventing others. These contradictory tendencies have led to a situation where both researchers and activists have advocated for more open borders or even no borders.
This conference, organised by the RELATE Centre of Excellence/Academy of Finland & University of Oulu, will problematise these tendencies and claims. Through keynote talks and panels involving a non-conventional set of border experts – leading border and migration scholars, politicians, journalists, activists (no borders, free mobility, sans papier), activist researchers and migrants themselves – the aim is to expose the complexity of the terrain and to pay much-needed attention to the ethics, moralities and (in)justices in border struggles, migration and tourism mobilities. The power of territorial borders, bordering and identities have become increasingly complex, multi-scalar and relational. Conference speakers and attendees will work towards making sense of this complexity. Instead of taking territorial or relational views as normative givens, we hope to consider how the simultaneous ‘geographies’ of bounded and open, networked spaces are realised in the contemporary world.


See attached CFP for more details.

Student awards – 3/15 deadlines

PGSG members: be reminded that there are several student awards with March 15 deadlines. Please consider submitting an application, or encouraging your students to do so. Early submissions are welcome!

  1. Alexander B. Murphy Dissertation Enhancement Award
  2. MA & PhD Student Paper Awards



Description: The Alexander B. Murphy Dissertation Enhancement Award is granted annually to PGSG student members. Up to two awards of $1000 each may be awarded at the discretion of the Dissertation Enhancement Award Committee. Interested students should prepare a mini-dissertation proposal for submission to the Dissertation Awards Committee.


1. The competition is open to all Ph.D. students who are members of the PGSG.

2. The DEA proposal should be 8-10 pages in length total (single or double spaced) and include sections covering the research question(s), theoretical issues, conceptual framework, methodology, relevance to political geography, and a budget describing how the $1000 would be used.

3. A proposal submitted for the PGSG DEA award may NOT be submitted to any other AAG Specialty Group for a dissertation enhancement award.

4. If a student has already incurred expenses listed in the budget by the time of the award announcement, the student may use the DEA to cover those expenses.

5. The DEA proposal should be crafted from the student’s dissertation proposal which has been or will be submitted to the Ph.D. committee within the 2015-2016 academic year.

6.  To enable full consideration of all submissions, entrants should send electronic copies of their DEA proposals to the Dissertation Enhancement Award Committee Chair listed below by 15 March 2016.

7. The results of the DEA competition will be announced to the winner prior to the annual AAG meeting and the winner will be invited to attend the annual AAG Awards Luncheon at the expense of the PGSG. The award will be formally announced at the PGSG business meeting and payment will take place shortly thereafter. The winner’s name and dissertation title will be forwarded to the AAG for publication in the AAG Newsletter.

8. Questions concerning the competition may be directed to the members of the Dissertation Enhancement Awards Committee.

Dissertation Enhancement Award Committee:
Robert Watrel (Chair), South Dakota State University,
Shannon O’Lear, University of Kansas,
Fiona Davidson, University of Arkansas,



Description: The student paper competitions are open to all students who have written and presented a research paper on a topic in political geography.

Guidelines are as follows:

1. The competition is open to all students, however a student may not receive a Student Paper Competition award more than once during her/his tenure as a student.

2. The entries must be research papers and not complete theses or dissertations. Papers must not be longer than 15 pages double spaced 12 point font, plus bibliography.

3. Entries must be on a topic in political geography.

4. Paper entries must have been presented at a professional meeting during the period beginning with the first day of the previous AAG Annual Meeting and concluding with the last day of the next AAG Annual Meeting.

5. Digital copies of papers must be submitted electronically to the PGSG’s Student Paper Award Committee chair by 15 March 2016.

6. Submissions will be divided into Masters and Ph.D. student divisions.

7. Submissions will be judged on their written clarity, methodological and theoretical soundness, and their contributions to research in political geography.

8. All monetary prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Student Paper Award Committee. Awards will normally include: a) Master’s Student Award ($250); b) Doctoral Student Award ($250); c) up to three Honorable Mention awards ($150).

9. The results of the Student Paper Award competitions will be announced to the winners just prior to the annual AAG meeting. The awardees (including any Honorable Mention awardees) will be invited to attend the annual AAG Awards Luncheon at the expense of the PGSG.  The awards will be formally announced at the PGSG business meeting and payment will take place shortly thereafter. The awardees’ names and paper titles will be forwarded to the AAG for publication in the AAG Newsletter.

10. Any questions pertaining to eligibility will be resolved by the Student Paper Award Committee.

Graduate Student Paper Award Committee:
Karen Culcasi (Chair), West Virginia University,
Adam Moore, UCLA,
Steve Radil, University of Idaho,

Seeking nominations for PGSG board & committee members

PGSG members-

We are currently seeking nominations for several board and committee vacancies, with terms beginning after the 2016 AAG Annual Meeting. Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague for one of these positions:


1) PGSG Governing Board faculty representatives

Vacancies: 2

Term: April 2016-March 2018

Role description: The four faculty members of the PGSG board should be tenure-track faculty at a university or college. They are nominated and elected at the PGSG Business Meeting and serve a two-year term. The faculty board members’ duties are to: (a) consult with the President and Secretary/Treasurer on PGSG business; (b) nominate and select non-student awardees; (c) vote on the Non-Student Achievement Awards; (d) any other business as necessary.


2) PGSG Governing Board student representative

Vacancies: 1

Term: April 2016-March 2017

Role description: The student board member should be an MA, MS, or PhD student enrolled in a geography degree program. The student member serves a one-year term and is nominated and elected at the Business Meeting. Duties include: (a) consulting with the governing board on PGSG business; (b) updating and posting Announcements on the website, including CFPs for the Annual Meeting; (c) any other business as necessary.


3) PGSG Student Travel Award Committee

Vacancies: 2

Term: Not fixed

Role description: This committee reads, ranks, and votes on the applications for the PGSG Student Travel Award grants, which are due in mid-December and announced in mid-January every year. All non-student PGSG members are eligible to serve in this capacity.


Please send nominations directly to Natalie at:

PGSG book award – Call for nominations

PGSG is currently soliciting nominations for the annual Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award, which is given to the author(s) of the best book published during the previous calendar year (2015) in the field of political geography.

The deadline for nominations is January 15 and can be sent to Natalie at:

Additional information about this award, as well as the other PGSG non-student awards, is pasted below and available here.
Additional information and deadlines on student awards are here.


1. Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award.  This award will be given to the author(s) of the best book published during the previous calendar year (2015) in the field of political geography.

2. Virginie Mamadouh Outstanding Research Award. This award will be given to the author(s) of a journal article or book chapter published in the previous three (3) calendar years (2013, 2014, 2015) that makes an innovative, original contribution to the conceptual and/or methodological embrace of political geography.

3. Stanley D. Brunn Young Scholar Award.  This award will be given to an individual who has received her/his Ph.D. within the past ten years, in honor of contributions that have generated new interest in the subfield and/or opened up new areas of inquiry for political geographic research.

4. Richard Morrill Public Outreach Award.  This award will be given to an individual who has used her or his political geographic expertise to affect change (in public thought or public policy) beyond the academy.

General Information:

1. All awards will be based on nominations made to the President of the PGSG, with award decisions to be made by the PGSG Board. Nominations should include a paragraph describing the impact of the nominee’s work in political geography and more broadly. The next deadline for nominations is 15 March 2016 for all awards, except for the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award, which is 15 January 2016.

2. For each award category, a maximum of one award will be conferred each year, with the announcement to be made at the PGSG Business Meeting taking place the next Spring (e.g., the announcement for the Outstanding Research Award for 2015 will be made at the Spring 2016 Business Meeting).  For each award category, if there are no nominees whom the Board views as deserving of merit, no award will be made.

3. Decisions regarding who receives awards will be made by the PGSG Board.  The PGSG Board reserves the right to determine whether a nominee (or a nominated publication) falls within the scope of political geography.

4. Nominations by Board members are permitted.

5. Nominations of Board members are permitted. In this case, the board member will be recused from the vote.

6. Awardees need not be PGSG or AAG members, although awardees will be strongly encouraged to join both groups if they are not already members.

STS Summer Institute at University of Wisconsin, Madison: DUE Monday, January 11, 2016

Science and Technology Studies Summer School

Disclosing/Enclosing Knowledge in the Life Sciences

July 11-15, 2016

University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Madison WI


We invite applications from students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities for a five-day summer school that will provide training in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). This seminar is an excellent opportunity for graduate students who are interested in incorporating social and humanistic perspectives on science and technology into their research, and require an advanced level introduction to the field.


A curious feature of knowledge societies is that producing more data does not always result in less uncertainty, and the circulation of information may obscure some facts even as it reveals and amplifies others. Scientists, policy-makers, ethicists, laypersons, and advocacy groups alike attempt to manage the flow of facts, techniques, and materials by sequestering, containing, or merely highlighting certain facets. Yet despite their best efforts at controlling the distribution of knowledge, there are also unanticipated leaks, diversions, and revelations. Imperatives for transparency and the ‘right to know’ may also come into direct conflict with intended ‘protections,’ as demonstrated by controversies over the sequestering of knowledge through intellectual property regimes or governmental suppression of data for political purposes. We will use examples and case studies from research on the paradoxes of information flow in the life sciences to introduce and illustrate some of the key approaches in STS. These examples cases will span genetics, synthetic biology, newborn screening, bioinformatics, regenerative medicine and precision medicine.

The Summer School is supported by the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and its Disclosing/Enclosing

knowledge research cluster. For more information about the cluster, see


Program and faculty

Through a mix of lectures, group workshops and discussions of individual projects, participants will be exposed to core concepts and methodologies in STS. The workshop faculty will illustrate core concepts or methods with examples from their own research. These will be accompanied by in-depth discussion sessions, case study exercises, short presentations on student research projects, and a field trip. There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction and participation, as well as enjoying artisanal beer and cheese on UW Madison’s lakefront.

Organizing UW Madison faculty:
Linda Hogle, Medical History and Bioethics Nicole Nelson, History of Science
Pilar Ossorio, Morgridge Institute for Research Krishanu Saha, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery


Guest faculty:
Stephen Hilgartner, Cornell University Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University Sergio Sismondo, Queen’s University Stefan Timmermans, UCLA

Selection criteria

We will recruit outstanding young scholars from UW Madison and across the United States. Applications are open to all graduate students, including disciplines other than STS or History and Philosophy of Science. The summer school will offer a rich educational experience for those new to the field, and scientists who are interested in gaining skills to address social or policy questions related to their research are especially encouraged to apply.

Key dates
Deadline for applications: Monday, January 11th, 2016 Notification of acceptance: Monday, February 1st, 2016 Registration and financial aid form: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Financial aid

Accommodations for out of town students and some meals will be covered by a grant from the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies. A limited amount of funds are available for travel grants ($150-$400, depending on the distance traveled). More information about travel grant allocation will be provided in the acceptance letters.

Application process

Applications should include the following, sent as a single PDF file:

  1. Statement of interest (maximum 300 words). The statement of interest should describe the applicant’s background and qualifications and describe their current research and its relevance to the aims of the summer school
  2. Brief Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages)
  3. One signed letter of recommendation from a supervisor, director of graduate studies, or other faculty member familiar with applicant’s research interests.

Application materials should be sent to Lyn Macgregor at




Bergamo (Italy) – June 8-11, 2016

Call for Papers


The past year has been a tumultuous one for the south/eastern borderlands of Europe. From the failed attempts to resist austerity in Greece against the backdrop of its possible exit/expulsion from the Eurozone, to the ongoing ‘refugee crisis’ that reverberates from Germany to the Mediterranean, old patterns of exclusion at Europe’s socio/spatial ‘margins’ are being reinforced, and new ones are being created. The production of categories of exclusion – the insolvent debtor, the economic migrant, the refugee – are also moments of redefinition of what ‘Europe’ may mean, and who or what may be ‘European’.

This panel seeks to bring together areas that are usually studied separately – the Eurozone crisis and ‘austerity’ on one side, and migration and the ‘refugee crisis’ on the other – in order to challenge the notion that it is migration alone (and a supposed ‘difference’ embodied by migrants, or citizens of non-European descent) that is calling into question a stable notion of ‘Europe’. Instead, the panel seeks to analyze the multiple ways in which ‘Europe’ (as a ‘geo-body’, a ‘historical construct’, a symbol, a relation) is currently being produced and reproduced through patterns of inclusion, exclusion and constant renegotiation of belonging at its borderlands, peripheries and margins. Understanding the present moment as part of a longer history of the making and remaking of Europe, the panel seeks to understand what is particular about how Europe is being produced at the present conjuncture, and how this is occurring in multiple arenas of everyday life.

In order to hold this conversation, the panel welcomes ethnographically-grounded papers that study how, through everyday forms of interaction, people from different socio-geographical positionalities produce ‘Europe’. Papers can be grounded in ‘obvious’ border-making spaces such as Lampedusa, or peripheries such as Greece, but also in those traditionally conceived as ‘centers’ such as Berlin, as well as outside of Geographical Europe. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: mobility, migration, and the ‘refugee crisis’; life with, and resistance to, austerity measures; rethinking ‘Fortress Europe’, the Eurozone, the Schengen Area, and the meaning of the European project through everyday material practices. We welcome works in progress as well as finished studies.

Symposium Announcement: What is the Urban? Registers of a World Interior

What Is the Urban? Registers of a World Interior
Iowa State University, Center for Excellence in Arts and Humanities (CEAH) Symposium
April 4-5, 2016
Full details and free registration at 

The urban, long a popular topic of inquiry, has become an unavoidable condition for contemporary life. For many disciplines, it has become a primary locus of research. Disciplines as varied as sociology, anthropology, geography, literature, art, design, economics, history and politics increasingly find themselves in contact with and shaped by the urban. And as more and more spaces of the world are urbanized, the ubiquity of this category as a site of scholarly research could be said to rest on the urgency we face in accommodating ourselves to its contradictions, imposed forms of violence, and the environmental fallout it has unleashed. From all scales, we encounter the urban, too: popularized notions like the anthropocene shed light on this category just as much as the problem of uneven development that characterizes our everyday experiences in its spaces. Yet for as much as it has opened itself to scholarly research, there is oddly scant reflection on the category itself. Despite its irrefutable complexity, its use is often irrefutably reductive: it appears as a background condition, as much for life itself as for the many discourses that attempt to describe it. Always at the disposal of myriad forms of knowledge, it is the unquestioned specification for the definition of other problems. The urban, it seems, is a given.

This symposium opens with a simple yet perplexing question: what is the urban? It brings together a range of internationally renowned scholars in an effort less to provide answers to this question than to frame a problem that has yet to be fully constituted. What language do we need to speak about the urban? What spaces and politics does it produce? Does the urban have a history of its own? An ontological specificity? By simply addressing the urban as a problem in and of itself, the symposium aims to open radically new apertures toward a world increasingly viewed through its endlessly urbanized space.

Emerging philosophical, theoretical and conceptual apparatuses may be necessary to repose the urban outside of its traditional spatial and ontological frameworks. Considering recent work in the humanities, what happens when we consider the urban to be a political ecology in its own right-a dense, complex, relational entanglement of human and non-human natures, embodied energies and materialities? What political forms and technologies does its spatial organization produce? Likewise, through juridico-political histories, the urban may begin to appear as a spatio-political order on par with a historical figure like territory, raising genealogical questions as to its emergence and formation. Can discourses on circulation, logistics and network theory be marshaled to confront the trans-scalar qualities that we observe in a spatial order visible at once at the planetary and the bodily scales? What kind of spatial theories can reconcile the geopolitical with the biopolitical?

In this regard, Peter Sloterdijk’s recent provocations around the notion of ‘world interior’ may shed crucial light on the question of the urban. The ‘world interior’ for Sloterdijk operates as a metaphor to describe the end result of a long history of globalization, characterized by an overarching aversion to risk developed over centuries of plunderous oceanic crossing. ‘Interiorization’ for him stands as a tendency whose effect today is marked by sprawling insurance policies, unchecked security measures and a techno-media power structure whose effort to totally annihilate risk comes through endless structures and technologies of enclosure. The space of the world interior, akin to Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace (1851), is an interior so vast as to permit the fantasy that there is no outside. Moving from paradigm to ontology, how can such a notion of a ‘world-interior’ be useful for unfolding relations between the material, legal, social, political, architectural and phenomenological conditions of the urban today? How can it help to describe new socio-spatial ontologies of this category that transgress the familiar urban/rural, center/periphery, and even global south/north divides? What other emerging concepts and motifs can help capture the elusive yet omnipresent condition of the urban?


James C. Scott, Yale University

Max ViatoriIowa State University

Charles Rice, University of Technology Sydney

Design Earth (Rania Ghosn/El Hadi Jazairy), MIT/University of Michigan

Jane Rongerude, Iowa State University

Ayala Levin, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Marwan Ghandour, Iowa State University

Nikos Katsikis, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Albert Pope, Rice University

Ross Exo Adams, Iowa State University

AbdouMaliq Simone, Max Planck Institute/Goldsmiths College

Michael Bailey, Iowa State University

Alice Randall, Vanderbilt University

Kenny Cupers, University of Basel

Barbara Ching, Iowa State University

Antonio Petrov, University of Texas at San Antonio

UCL – two Assistant Professor openings

2 x Assistant Professor vacancies


The Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STeaPP), is now recruiting two assistant professors to join its growing team and collaborate with the UCL City Leadership Initiative, a joint effort of UN-Habitat, University College London and World Bank based at UCL STEaPP. Two positions are now open with deadline on 3 January 2016 for posts as:

Lecturer in Urban Governance

UCL STEaPP is seeking an innovative scholar working on urban governance, especially in relation to the mobilisation of knowledge within urban policy, to join the department as a Lecturer on or before July 2016.

The successful applicant will join a dynamic and growing department, within a world leading research university, uniquely focused on the mobilisation of science and engineering knowledge for policy, and the use of policy to advance science and engineering for society. Lectures within STEaPP help lead the development and delivery of the department’s expanding teaching, research and policy engagement programmes. This is an exciting opportunity for emerging and entrepreneurial scholars to develop a reputation in these areas.

The department welcomes candidates with a PhD and track record of relevant scholarship in either the natural or social sciences. The topical focus can be on any aspect of urban governance or policy, and incorporate any domain(s) of science, engineering and/or technology. A focus on some aspect of the interaction, circulation or city networking of scientific/engineering knowledge with urban policy, and/or of the role of technology in urban governance, is a distinct plus. The department also has a preference for research/teaching foci that relate explicitly to urban experiences within the Global South and emerging countries.

Further particulars here.


Lecturer in Urban Analytics

UCL STEaPP is seeking an innovative scholar working on the application of scientific analyses and/or models to support public decision-making in cities to join the department as a Lecturer on or before July 2016.

The successful applicant will join a dynamic and growing department, within a world leading research university, uniquely focused on the mobilisation of science and engineering knowledge for policy, and the use of policy to advance science and engineering for society. Lecturers within STEaPP help lead the development and delivery of the departments expanding teaching, research and policy engagement programmes. This is an exciting opportunity for emerging and entrepreneurial scholars to develop a reputation in these areas.

The department welcomes candidates with a PhD and track record of relevant scholarship in either the natural or social sciences. The topical focus can be on any aspect of urban analytics, and incorporate any domain(s) of science, engineering and/or technology. A focus on some aspect of the interaction between the scientific analyses with decision-making in cities is essential, and there is a preference for foci that relate to urban experiences within the Global South and emerging countries.

Further particulars here.