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2017 GTU Speaker Matt Huber

By Geography Department on November 2, 2017

Professor Matt Huber, of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs was Colgate Geography Department’s 2017 Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) speaker. His talk was titled “Who produced your carbon footprint? Class, climate, and the politics of responsibility.” Professor Huber works on a range of topics and he is most well known for his work on oil and energy geographies. As a political ecologist who examines capitalism’s forces over the world and on the world’s resources, many of geographers find points of intersection with his work.

Afterwards, GTU members, new and old, met with the speaker at a dinner.

Sal Curasi ’15 awarded an NSF GRFP and Fulbright

By Geography Department on May 18, 2017

Sal Curasi ’15 has been awarded an National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to do work on models of Arctic carbon cycling. The NSF named 2,000 individuals as this year’s recipients of awards from its Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). GRFP offers fellowships to applicants selected through a national competition. (link)

His proposal “focuses on combining field measurements of Arctic tundra vegetation with large scale ecosystem modeling to better explain the potential impacts of climate change on carbon allocation and vegetation carbon storage in Arctic tundra.”

Sal was also awarded a Fulbright open research grant to do field work “which would feed into the in North Eastern Siberia this coming year.”

Sal graduated with a degree in Geography and Political Science and is currently at Notre Dame, working with Dr Adrian Rocha. He is interested in climate change policy and participates in the Notre Dame GLOBES interdisciplinary program.

Melissa Haller ’16: Investigating How Closing a Nuclear Plant Impacts Small, Rural Communities

By Geography Department on April 4, 2017

Professor Yamamoto co-edits two volumes on the Fukushima Disaster

By Geography Department on January 25, 2017

Professor Yamamoto, along with Mitsuo Yamakawa, co-edited two volumes: Unravelling the Fukushima Disaster and Rebuilding Fukushima.

For Unravelling the Fukushima Disaster, the publisher notes: the Fukushima disaster continues to appear in national newspapers when there is another leakage of radiation-contaminated water, evacuation designations are changed, or major compensation issues arise and so remains far from over. However, after five years, attention and research towards the disaster seems to have waned despite the extent and significance of the disaster that remains.

The aftermath of Fukushima exposed a number of shortcomings in nuclear energy policy and disaster preparedness. This book gives an account of the municipal responses, citizen’s responses, and coping attempts, before, during, and after the Fukushima crisis. It focuses on the background of the Fukushima disaster, from the Tohoku earthquake to diffusion on radioactive material and risk miscommunication. It explores the processes and politics of radiation contamination, and the conditions and challenges that the disaster evacuees have faced, reflecting on the evacuation process, evacuation zoning, and hope in a post-Fukushima environment.

Rebuilding Fukushima gives an account of how citizens, local governments, and businesses responded to and coped with the crisis of Fukushima. It addresses principles to guide reconstruction and international policy environments in which the current disaster is situated. It explores how reconstruction is articulated and experienced at different spatial scales, ranging from individuals to communities and municipalities, and details recovery efforts, achievements, and challenges in the realms of public transportation, agriculture and food production, manufacturing industries, retail sectors, and renewable-energy industries. This book also critically investigates the nature of the current reconstruction policy schemes, and seeks to articulate what may be required in order to achieve more sustainable and equitable (re)development in afflicted regions and other nuclear host regions.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork and local surveys, this volume is one of the first books in English that captures the knowledge and insights of native Japanese social scientists who dealt with the complexities of nuclear disaster on a day-to-day basis.

Professor Monk discusses after-the-fact efforts that attempt to make sense of the United States of America’s election

By Geography Department on November 22, 2016

Dara Seidl ’10 awarded International Prize for Master’s Thesis

By Geography Department on November 16, 2016

Dara Seidl ’10, was awarded the Prize for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Cartography, Geodesy and Geo-Information awarded by Pan-American Institute of Geography and History in 2015. This is the first time that the prize has been awarded. The selection was made by a jury of experts who evaluated 14 international submissions. Dara’s 2014 thesis is titled “Striking the Balance: Privacy and Spatial Pattern Preservation in Masked GPS.” (Details of the award here.)

Dara says, “My data source had a huge impact on my thesis experience. I applied for access to GPS data collected in household travel surveys that was later hosted and administrated by the National Renewable Energies Laboratory (NREL) in a secured data center. This allowed me to work with really high-resolution and high-frequency trajectory data (and lots of it!) that I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. I definitely would recommend this as a data source. I was able to remotely log in to their data center and work with their GIS software (QGIS, PostGIS, ArcGIS, R). Of course, for privacy reasons, any results had to be aggregated and go through an approval process to be extracted from their network. The application process for working with these data was helpful in that it forced me to organize the details of my procedure far ahead of time. On the other hand, it was a lesson that not everything in research will go as planned, even if the plan seems solid. For instance, I had to reduce my sample size due to frequent timeouts in the server connection, and at one point, my data folder inexplicably disappeared from their server. These were good reminders for me to adapt to changes when writing the thesis and not to stress too much overall.”

A link to the published version is here.

Dara is still focused on geoprivacy in her doctoral research, and is now looking at human behavior related to location masking.

And, she adds, she’s still thinking fondly of Colgate!

Observing the potential impact of nuclear decommissioning on a community

By Geography Department on November 11, 2016

Lydia Ulrich ’16 continues independent study and collaborates with Bassett Research Institute

By Geography Department on November 11, 2016

2016 GTU Presentation by Brian Godfrey

By Geography Department on November 10, 2016


The 2016 GTU Keynote Lecture was given by Dr. Brian Godfrey, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Vassar College, on October 17, 2016.

“OLYMPIC CITY: Legacies of Athletic Mega-Events in Rio de Janeiro” is a theoretical review and critique of mega-events, along with an empirical analysis of the various socioeconomic, transportation, political, environmental and other impacts of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (and the 2014 World Cup). The talk will highlight the long-term issue of pollution in Rio’s Guanabara Bay, industrialization and informal urbanization (favelas), and sanitation infrastructures generally. It should complement courses on uneven development, urbanization, environmental hazards, Latin America as well as courses on human and nature-society geography more generally.

In addition to attending the banquet/induction ceremony, Dr. Godfrey attended some classes and met individually with faculty and students. He was very generous with his time.

The talk is available on youtube.

James C. McCann to present on Forest Stories and Landscape Realities, Ethiopia, 1668-2015

By Geography Department on October 15, 2016


James C. McCann, Professor of History, Associate Director for Development, African Studies Center, Boston University, visited Colgate October 13-14, 2016.

He gave a public presentation on Thursday, titled “Forest Stories and Landscape Realities, Ethiopia, 1668-2015.”

The next day, he participated in an ENST brownbag where he discussed his research and experience in East Africa. He also met with students and researchers from Colgate’s NSF grant on Church Sacred Forests.

A video of the public lecture is located on youtube.