Annual Meeting Opening Session

Welcoming Remarks: Douglas Richardson, AAG Executive Director

Welcome to New Orleans: LaToya Cantrell, New Orleans Mayor-Elect

Presidential Plenary: “When the Big Easy Isn’t So Easy: Learning from New Orleans' Geographies of Struggle” by Derek Alderman

Tuesday, April 10, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Grand Ballroom, 5th Floor, Sheraton

AAG President Derek Alderman's 2018 presidential plenary is titled, When the Big Easy Isn’t So Easy: Learning from New Orleans’ Geographies of Struggle. Beyond merely providing hotels, restaurants, and bars, the hosting cities of AAG meetings offer important moments to delve into the scientific value of these locations and to learn about the historical and contemporary forces and tensions that shape their communities and spaces. Doing so not only advances our intellectual understanding of place but also has the potential to create a more responsible and empathetic visitor and academic conference citizen—someone who can appreciate, analyze, and be affected by the people and places that exist beyond tourism brochures found in hotel lobbies.

When the Big Easy Isn’t So Easy creates a space to explore the role of struggle in the making, unmaking, and remaking of New Orleans. The city’s development has long been a power-laden process in which multiple identities, histories, and social interests converge, mix, but also clash. A wide range of racial, ethnic, class, and environmental struggles have shaped New Orleans in complex ways, making it a site of vulnerability, inequality, and displacement and at the same time a place of resourcefulness, creative surviving and living, and social justice activism.

Panelists, all of whom are civically engaged scholars and gifted geographic storytellers, will highlight not only the (Post) Katrina experience but also the deeper historical and geographic roots of struggle in New Orleans. They will take the audience to evocative spaces and moments, using the opening session to open broader discussions of issues such as black lives and geographies, disaster response and recovery, food justice, water-society relations, the politics of public memory, and urban political economy. Panelists will reflect on the larger academic-political lessons from New Orleans, offer ideas for (re)imagining the future of this city and others, and demonstrate how geographers can learn from and with the host cities for our AAG meetings.

In addition to President Alderman, panelists will include:

Presidential Plenary panel includes Laura Pulido, Craig Colten, Richard Campanella, Michael Crutcher Jr, Catarina Passidomo, Rebecca Sheehan

Laura Pulido, University of Oregon. Noted black geographies scholar and editor of recently released edited book on New Orleans.
Craig Colten, LSU. One of the perennial experts on NOLA and Louisiana history of human-environment/water-society relations.
Michael Crutcher, Jr, Independent Scholar. Long-time expert on NOLA and author of book on Treme neighborhood.
Catarina Passidomo, University of Mississippi. Emerging scholar in southern studies, food geography/justice, and wrote dissertation on post-Katrina NOLA.
Rebecca Sheehan, Oklahoma State University. Has worked extensively as of late on the controversial removal of Confederate monuments from NOLA.

2018 Honorary Geographer

Dr. Robert Bullard
Thursday, April 12, 3:20 - 5:00 pm, Grand Ballroom A-C, 5th Floor, Sheraton

Every year the AAG designates an individual as that year's AAG Honorary Geographer as a way of recognizing excellence in research, teaching, or writing on geographic topics by non-geographers. For 2018, the Executive Committee recognizes Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice” and Distinguished Professor of urban planning and environmental policy at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University.

Dr. Bullard was selected for this honor due to the important foundational role that he has played in the study of environmental and transportation justice, as well as the skills he has shown in translating those ideas to policy makers and wider public groups. This work has been invaluable to scholars in geography, who increasingly address issues of inequality, spatial justice, and environmental racism. Dr. Bullard's ability to mix advocacy with strong basic research is a model for many of us in geography. 

Dr. Bullard will join us at the 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans with his plenary talk, “The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Still Matter.” For more than three decades and in more than a dozen books, he has documented that healthy places and healthy people are highly correlated. The poorest of the poor within the United States have the worst health and live in the most degraded environments. Bullard’s lecture explores how the environment justice framework redefined environmentalism and challenged institutional racism and the dominant environmental protection paradigm. Much of his life’s work has been devoted to uncovering the underlying assumptions that contribute to and produce unequal protection and brings to the surface the ethical and political questions of “who gets what, when, where, why, and how much.” His research and policy work clearly illustrates that America is segregated and so is pollution. Race and class still matter and map closely with pollution, unequal protection, and vulnerability. Today, zip code is still the most important indicator of an individual’s health and well-being. Individuals who physically live on the “wrong side of the tracks” are subjected to elevated environmental health threats and more than their fair share of preventable diseases. Reducing environmental and health disparities is a national priority of the Environmental Justice Movement. Addressing equity is prerequisite to achieving healthy, sustainable and livable communities for all.

Dr. Bullard is the author of 18 books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity, including his most recent work The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (New York University Press, 2012). Bullard was the first environmental justice scholar to receive the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Conservation Achievement Award in Science in 1990 and the first African American to be honored with the Sierra Club John Muir Award in 2013. Bullard has also been in the public eye, serving as a technical advisor and expert witness on hundreds of civil rights lawsuits, as well as being featured by CNN and Newsweek for his environmental leadership. He has also been the recipient of awards from Iowa State University (his Ph.D. alma mater), the American Bar Association, and the Children Environmental Health Network.

2018 Past President's Address

AAG Past President Glen MacDonald
Thursday, April 12, 12:00 - 1:10 pm, Grand Ballroom A-C, 5th Floor, Sheraton

In his address, Climate, Capital, Conflict – Geographies of Failure or Success in the 21st Century, AAG Past President Glen MacDonald will ask the question - will people and planet succeed in meeting the challenges posed by the 21st century or will environmental and socioeconomic pressures, produce catastrophic failure? The address will explore the mounting and often geographically conflated stresses of accelerating climate change, increasing economic disparities and associated conflicts - both in the sense of armed struggles, and in the sense of competing ideals regarding political and socioeconomic systems, valuation of the environment, and basic morality. The answer is elusive, but these challenges represent issues that geographers have long engaged with and must now confront with particular urgency.
MacDonald will also present the 2018 AAG Presidential Achievement Award to Susan Cutter and Billie L. Turner, II.

International Reception

Wednesday, April 11, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Grand Ballroom, 5th Floor, Sheraton

Join us for the 2018 International Reception! This is the perfect opportunity to see old friends and meet new colleagues at the AAG Annual Meeting. There will be drinks, live music featuring James Martin and his band, and a traditional New Orleans brass band "second line" to get the crowd moving! All attendees are invited to attend. Two free drink tickets for alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages are provided in your registration packet.

AAG Awards Luncheon

Saturday, April 14, 11:50 am - 2:00 pm, Napoleon CD, 3rd Floor, Sheraton

Join colleagues and friends for the AAG Awards Luncheon to celebrate and congratulate the recipients of the AAG Honors for their lifetime achievements and accomplishments in scholarship, service, publishing, and education. Several other awards also will be presented during the luncheon. They include: the AAG annual book awards, Miller Award, Nystrom Award, Jackson Prize, AAG Enhancing Diversity Award, Specialty Group Awards, and many other awards. Members who have held 50 years of continuous membership will be recognized for their enduring support and contributions to the Association.

Individual seats for the luncheon are only $55, including service and tax. Tables for parties of ten can also be purchased for $495. Tickets may be purchased here.