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Academic knowledge production in age of climate disruption: relevance, inclusion, connection

Type: Panel
Theme: AAG Climate Action Task Force
Sponsor Groups: AAG Climate Action Task Force, AAG Climate Task Force
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Virtual Track 5
Organizers: Patricia Martin, Tianna Bruno
Chairs: Tianna Bruno


Last spring, members of the American Association of Geographers petitioned the AAG
Council to take far-reaching action to reduce the carbon footprint related to the organization
of the annual conference. In response, the Council has created a task force to transform the
Annual Meetings so that they achieve reductions in CO2 emissions at a level commensurate
with that suggested by climate science. This goal calls into question the current logics that
underpin one of the major modes of academic knowledge production and exchange, that
which is enacted through the annual conference.* For example, the ever-expanding
ecological costs of academic conferencing may be one manifestation of other deeply seated
problems in contemporary academia, including the neoliberalization and privatization of
academic institutions and scientific knowledge.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the initiative asks for a radical openness in reimagining the
dominant modes of academic dialogue and exchange in a way that fully acknowledges the
severity of contemporary climate disruption, but that also engages with other social, political
and economic challenges manifest in contemporary academia. Accordingly, this session
invites panelists to engage in this process of “reimagination.” In moving towards a low
emissions endeavor, how can we do so in a manner that is ecologically and socially just and
politically and intellectually relevant ? To help guide your reflection, you might consider the
following questions:

1) How would you analyze the political ecologies and political economies that underpin
the current conference model?

2) Whose knowledge is upheld or excluded in the current model? What kinds of
knowledges are mobilized? For what ends?

3) If we are to reconfigure the AAG annual conference to be a low-carbon endeavor,
how can we do so in a way that encourages social inclusion and public relevance in
our academic practices and our intellectual production?

4) If we are to transform the conference model, how can we do so in a way that
challenges rather that reinscribes different forms of intellectual and social exclusion
and marginalization within the discipline?
*In this sense, we should note that while the petition is addressed to the AAG, the concerns that it highlights are general across academia and thus is not a critique of the AAG, in particular.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Tianna Bruno University of Oregon 15
Panelist Jayme Walenta University of Texas - Austin 15
Panelist Aparna Parikh Dartmouth College 15
Panelist Hannah Knox University of College London 15
Panelist Patricia Martin Université De Montréal 15

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