Highest Honors Go To Eleven Geographers For Lifetime Achievements Work On Climate,GIS, Racial Justice


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Dr. Clyde Woods and Dr. Douglas Richardson Recognized for Lifetime Achievement

WASHINGTON, D.C….The American Association of Geographers (AAG) announced the recipients of its 2022 AAG Honors, the highest honors bestowed on its members. Among them is Dr. Clyde Woods (posthumous) and Dr. Douglas Richardson, who each received AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors.

“This year’s recipients of AAG Honors represent a remarkable range of practice in geography, as well as dedication to public scholarship and education,” said Dr. Gary Langham, Executive Director of the AAG. “We are especially proud to recognize the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Honorees, Dr. Douglas Richardson and Dr. Clyde Woods, who have contributed an extraordinary legacy of support for the discipline and forged new directions for scholarship and learning in geography.”

Dr. Clyde Woods received the 2022 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honor for his path-breaking impact on the fields of Geography, Black Studies, Environmental Justice, Urban and Regional Planning, and Southern Studies. His scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and leadership reshaped fields well beyond academia. His work challenges the systematic exclusion of experiences of Black communities from geographical and social science scholarship, also showing that the violence and deprivations of racism and capitalism are neither inevitable nor natural. Woods' work transformed what was possible in Black geographical scholarship, laying a foundation to confront the crises made more acute over the past two decades: authoritarian populism, state and extra-legal racial violence, rising inequality, and environmental catastrophe.

The 2022 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honor is also awarded to Dr. Douglas Richardson for his far-reaching contributions to the discipline. In 1980, he founded and led GeoResearch, Inc., which invented and patented the real-time, interactive GPS/GIS technology that enabled the continuous creation of accurate maps and their simultaneous integration with GIS, long before cell phones were ubiquitous. Dr. Richardson’s work influenced the development of new horizons for research and applications of geography to transportation, public health, and the environmental sciences. From 2003 to 2019, Dr. Richardson served as the Executive Director of the AAG and brought the same visionary outlook to the organization at a time when AAG faced challenges in terms of finances, membership, and new technologies. Richardson renegotiated existing contracts, built external partnerships, garnered federal research grants, revamped AAG’s membership services, and took other actions to put AAG on sound financial footing. Dr. Richardson then successfully implemented a broad and inclusive vision for an AAG that has led to the expansion of the AAG’s membership to 12,000 members across nearly 100 countries. Three areas of particular impact were research, publications, and public policy

Honored alongside Dr. Woods and Dr. Richardson this year are nine geographers in academia, the public sector, and media:

Distinguished Scholarship Honors (2 awardees):

Shaowen Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, for his leading role in the development of cyber-based geographic information science (cyberGIS) as a transdisciplinary scientific approach that develops and integrates new computational methods, techniques, and instruments with geospatial knowledge, spatial analytics, and their applications in a broad range of research domains.

Laura Pulido, University of Oregon, for her foundational contributions in environmental justice and Latinx geographies and to human geography more broadly, over the past three decades. Dr. Pulido has repeatedly received the AAG’s highest book awards for her publications, and her article on “Rethinking Environmental Racism: White privilege and urban development in Southern California” remains one of the most cited articles in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers for its clear and accessible call to move from individuals to a structural understanding of environmental racism. Her transformative work helped bring crucial interventions in the Black radical tradition into print

Gilbert White Distinguished Public Service Honors: Craig Colten, Louisiana State University, for his many contributions as a government employee during his early career and, later, as an academic. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as the public sought to understand the shocking devastation of one of America’s iconic cities, he demonstrated through many media appearances and newspaper essays just how essential historical geography is for understanding people and places. Now emeritus, he and his many PhD graduates continue to apply their research to support communities threatened by flooding and coastal land loss.

Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education: Jerry T. Mitchell, University of South Carolina, for exceptional service to the geography discipline and the geographic education community. From 2004 to 2021, Dr. Mitchell served as the Coordinator of the South Carolina Geographic Alliance (SCGA). He has received more than $5 million in grants to support more than 40,000 educators throughout South Carolina. Dr. Mitchell has shown a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion through his publications, his student advising, his outreach to teachers and students across the state of South Carolina, and in his media engagement. Over the past several years, he has co-authored pieces in Journal of Geography, The Geography Teacher, and Social Education that assist teachers in developing and teaching lessons that advance critical understandings of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Media Achievement Awards (2 Awards to an individual and a team):

Joshua Inwood, Pennsylvania State University, for his commitment to advancing understanding of racism, civil rights, and social justice. Dr. Inwood has authored and co-authored more than 35 op-eds over the past 15 years, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers with his work in The Conversation and redistribution by prominent news outlets. Inwood has also promoted the geographers’ role in interpreting major social issues in his interviews with such local, national, and international media outlets as USA Today, The Atlantic Magazine, PBS, The Christian Science Monitor, France24, and El Confidencial.

VerySpatial Podcast co-founders and hosts (Jesse Rouse, University of North Carolina Pembroke; Sue Bergeron, Coastal Carolina University; Frank LaFone, WV GIS Technical Center; and Barbara MacLennan, Fairmont State University) for their work on the VerySpatial podcast, an internationally known, award-winning podcast that has provided outstanding geographic content and teaching methods to geography enthusiasts and educators around the world for 15 years. Ranked in the top 5% of all K-12 podcasts in iTunes VerySpatial also has much to offer professionals and laypeople, demonstrating how geography and geospatial technologies filter into our digital and daily lives and connecting vital ideas from geographers’ work to recent events and trends.

Since 1951, AAG Honors have been offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe, and for lifetime achievement. The AAG Honors Committee is elected by the AAG membership and charged with making award recommendations for each category, with no more than two awards given in any one category. This year’s Honors Committee members are Ronald Hagelman, III, Texas State University (Chair); Amy Katherine Glasmeier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Andrew Sluyter, Louisiana State University; Thomas Baerwald, NSF (retired); Kelsey Ellis, University of Tennessee, Stephanie Zick, Virginia Tech; Kavita Pandit, Georgia State University; Alexandra Ponette-Gonzalez, University of North Texas; Megan Ybarra, University of Washington.

For more than 100 years, The American Association of Geographers (AAG) has contributed to the advancement of geography. Our members from nearly 100 countries share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography, which they cultivate through the AAG's Annual Meeting, scholarly journals (Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Professional Geographer, the AAG Review of Books and GeoHumanities), and the online AAG Newsletter. The AAG is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1904.

FOR INTERVIEWS OR INFORMATION, CONTACT Lisa Schamess, phone 202.234.1450, ext 1164 or lschamess@aag.org

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