Coffee Hour: a critical conversation in geography | New geog faculty | Alum in Annals of the AAG


Pictured at the Lion Shrine, left to right, the new geography faculty members: Luke Trusel, Trevor Birkenholtz, Emily Rosenman, Helen Greatrex, Manzhu Yu, and Panagiotis Giannakis. See news story below; full profiles of all six are forthcoming in the printed Geograph annual newsletter.


Gamma Theta Upsilon & GIS Coalition will hold an internship round table and resume review to talk about how to find an internship as a geographer on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:00 p.m. in 110 Walker Building to hear other students talk about internships, from the application process to the internship experience itself.

The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ 2019 International Culture Night will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Atrium of the Steidle Building on the University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public.

A free screening of the documentary film “Elephant Path / Njaia Njoku” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Penn State’s University Park campus. A Q&A with the director will follow.

Sara E. Cavallo will give a brownbag talk on “Navigating Compounding Uncertainty: Farmer Strategies amid Biosecurity Crises in Western Uganda,” Wednesday, October 2, from 12:30–2:00 p.m. in 133 Sparks Building.

The EMS Graduate Student Poster Competition and Recognition will take place on Wednesday, October 23, in 401/402 Steidle Building. Poster Session and Catered Reception from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Awards Presentation and Special Recognition of Graduate Excellence from 4:30 to 5:00. RSVP by Friday, October 4, 2019.

The inaugural Geospatial Technology and Spatial Data Science Symposium will be held on November 11, 2019, as part of Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day at Penn State.

Call for Papers: The African Studies Program, 7th annual conference, on April 17-18, 2020, “Africa on the Rise! 60 years after 1960,” commemorates the “Year of Africa.” Abstracts of 200 words (max) are due by Dec. 5, 2019. Submit your abstract.


Coffee Hour: Critical Conversation in Geography

On September 20 and 27, 2019, the Fridays for Future movement has called for a global climate strike to demand an end to fossil fuels. We are responding to these calls from youth across the globe by convening an open conversation about the role of geography—and geographers—in responding to the climate crisis for the September 27 Coffee Hour.

Questions that may frame the conversation include: What kind of climate research is necessary and important? What are new opportunities? What is the role of advocacy, engagement, and outreach? Can the department follow other geography departments in calculating our departmental carbon footprint— and are there ways to reduce it?

  • Friday, September 27, 2019
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
  • Lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour to Go on Zoom

More information about Coffee Hour and to view previously recorded Coffee Hour talks


The new geographers: Six faculty hires are driving the future of the field

Six new tenure-line geography faculty started this fall in the Department of Geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. They will conduct research on a wide variety of subjects including water, climate change, natural hazards, remote sensing, social networks, data mining, economics, and inequality and diversity.

“The new geographers are bringing in not only their scientific expertise but also experience in using multiple research methods, and a dedication to engaging livelihoods and environments,” said Cynthia Brewer, professor and head of the department. “Their expertise will also be used to create new courses for our students.”

Individual profile articles for all six new geographers are forthcoming in the printed Geograph annual newsletter.


Making an Anthropocene Ocean: Synoptic Geographies of the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958)

Jessica Lehman ’08
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1644988
Although the notion of the Anthropocene has generated a great deal of literature across disciplines, the geographic critique of this concept is still developing. This article contributes to justice-oriented engagements with the Anthropocene by highlighting the relationships through which planetary knowledge is constructed as sites of critique. I develop an analytic of synoptic geographies, which addresses the praxis of coordinated field measurements that creates the planetary knowledge on which concepts of the Anthropocene rest. Synoptic geographies require a geographic analytic that is capable of going beyond assertions that all knowledge is local. The International Geophysical Year (IGY; 1957–1958) provides a strategic opportunity to elaborate the stakes of synoptic geographies. The IGY was arguably the first attempt to understand the Earth as a planet through a program of widespread synoptic data collection. In particular, the synoptic geographies of the IGY’s oceanography program reveal the ways in which old and new forms of imperialism were knitted together to produce the world ocean as an object of knowledge in a new era of planetary-scale environmental politics.

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