Our Colloquia Series presents engaging research from around the world. Guest presenters cover varied topics from all aspects of Geography. This page lists abstracts from past and future colloquia.

A visualization of openflights data using graph drawing

David O'Sullivan: Reimagining GIScience for relational spaces

March 23, 2018

A mismatch between largely absolute Newtonian models of space in GIScience and the relational spaces of critical geographies has contributed to mutual disinterest between the fields. Critical GIS has offered an intellectual critique of GIScience without substantially altering how key geographical concepts are expressed in data structures. As an example...

Statues on a Chinese city street

Andrew Grant: Ethnopolitics and the Chinese City: Urbanizing Tibetans during the era of Commodity Housing

March 16, 2018

This talk explores how China's urbanization program is recasting the politics of place in the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau, Xining. Urban development discourse and practice is transforming increasing numbers of China’s ethnic population into de-ethnicized urban citizens under the the sign of the Civilized City. The state deploys...

computer graphic of aerial shot with roads, city, and open country

Kathleen Stewart: Big Data GPS Trajectory Analysis for Travel Activity Modeling

March 9, 2018

We have been applying big geospatial data processing techniques to vehicle GPS data collected over several months in 2015 for Maryland roads in order to reconstruct spatiotemporal vehicle trajectories and understand how the volume of traffic varies on different types of roads. Volume of traffic or vehicle miles traveled estimates...

Map of geographical distribution of tornado and flash flood warnings

Jennifer Henderson: A Hazard Multiple: The Co-Production of Tornado/Flash Flood Warnings in a National Weather Service Forecast Office

March 2, 2018

During a tornado outbreak in May of 2013, a family of seven took shelter in an underground culvert in Oklahoma City, fearful, no doubt, for their children’s lives; minutes later, they were swept away in flood waters that raced through ditches and culverts near the city, killing all of them...

Woman squatting, burying head in arms, in front of earthquake devastation of Sichuan China

Christian Sorace: The Mirage of Development: The Sichuan Earthquake, One Decade Later

Feb. 23, 2018

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, it is worth reflecting on the post-earthquake reconstruction from the perspective of what was built, why was it built, and ultimately for whom was it built? Based on my book Shaken Authority: China’s Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan...

Person chipping rocks with a hammer in a mountain landscape

Anu Sabhlok: Road Chronicles: Ethnographic notes on defense and development from the Indo-Tibetan border roads

Feb. 16, 2018

“China is building roads right up to the border and we have to follow suit.” There is an urgency in the road building activity on India’s borders. These roads, we are told, will secure the nation and bring development to its peripheral areas. In this paper, I go deeper into...

Satellite image of Bohaiaqua

Neil Brenner: Is the world urban?

Feb. 9, 2018

In what sense is the 21st century world "urban"? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the "urban age," which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world's population resides within cities. Against such demographic, city-centric understandings, Brenner excavates Henri...

Aerial photo of African village

Matthew Turner: Alternatives to sustainability science: A political ecology of soil nutrient depletion in the fields of African farmers

Dec. 15, 2017

Assessments of the sustainability of smallholder agriculture in Africa have focused on soil fertility decline. The forms in which these scientific assessments take are shaped by disciplinary traditions, development prerogatives, and assumptions about the social “drivers” of environmental change. The dominant approach in Africa today creates nutrient budgets for land...

Mountain scenery

Stephanie Kampf: Mountain hydrogeography: Streamflow patterns and processes across the Rockies

Dec. 1, 2017

The Colorado Rockies span an elevation range of more than 2000 m, extending from the foothills with limited winter snow up to high mountain slopes, where snow lasts most of the year. This talk will cover catchment to regional-scale research that addresses questions about where, when, and how tributary streams...

clumped isotope paleothermometer

Sierra Petersen: Unveiling the mysteries of past climate, oceans, and life using novel isotopic techniques

Nov. 17, 2017

Stable isotopes of carbonate have long been used to reconstruct past climate and environmental conditions. The recent development of the clumped isotope paleothermometer has expanded the range of possible applications of these isotopic techniques to cover more environments and time periods. My research uses these isotopic tools to reconstruct past...