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October 10, 2017

On campus recruiting and interviews with ESIR Oct 16th!

On Monday, October 16th, Nick Kelch from ESRI will be holding an informational recruiting session at 5pm in Lillis 162. This is a great opportunity to learn more about all the opportunities available through ESRI (hint: it’s not just for software developers!). The following morning, Tuesday October 17th, Nick will be holding on-campus interviews in Room 208. You will need to sign up the evening before. Polish your resumes now! Geography and SDST students who want some feedback on their resume (though please, not at the last minute!) contact the Geography Academic and Career Advisor, Dr. Leslie McLees at We hope you can take advantage of this awesome opportunity!

October 6, 2017

Mapathon today!

Join the UO Geography Youth Mappers and the Library for an event to help map for disaster relief in Puerto Rico! No mapping experience required, and free pizza and drinks! Bring your own laptop, or use one of those that the library provides. We’ll teach you what to do!

September 15, 2017

Fall 2017 Tea Talk: Sept 28th with Dr. John Agnew

Please join the Department of Geography as we kick off our Fall Tea Speaker Series on Thursday, September 28th with prominent political geographer Dr. John Agnew, from the Department of Geography at UCLA. Dr. Agnew will give us a talk entitled: Putting China in the World: From Universal Theory to Contextual Theorizing. 

This talk will be at 4pm in Condon 106. Please join the department community as we gather beforehand in Condon 108 for snacks and socializing.

Abstract: By considering the geography of international relations (IR) knowledge this article attempts to use the rise of China to geopolitical prominence to question the applicability of universal theory. What usually goes for universal theory is in fact a perspective based very much in the experience of the West in general and the United States in particular. In its place the paper argues for the importance of competing IR narratives within Chinese policymaking and the bureaucratic politics of narrative framing for putting China in the world. After showing why universal theory is so attractive because of its familiarity, the article provides a survey of IR knowledge production and circulation and then argues for the perspective on theorizing that rejects the conventional wisdom for contextualized understanding of China’s place in the world.

August 2, 2017

UO Geog alum Dr. Easther Chigamura to give talk on Thursday, Aug 4th

Easther Chigamura is back in town, visiting from the University of Zimbabwe. She will be giving a talk entitled Consuming Urban Poverty: Twists and Turns in Zimbabwe’s Urban Food System and Food Security: A case of Epworth, Thursday Aug. 3, 12:00-1:00PM, Condon Hall 260. Come join us in welcoming her back!

Easther is also available for individual appointments on Aug 3, from 9AM to noon. Contact for scheduling.


Africa is considered the fastest urbanising continent in the world, however, rapid urbanisation is not going hand-in-hand with economic growth and increased well-being (Van Vark, 2013). Policy-makers and international institutions, such as the United Nations and the World Bank, recognise the problems resulting from urbanisation in African mega-cities, and frame cities as overpopulated, chaotic and as representing a failed urbanism full of poverty, disease and slums (Auclair 2005, McLees 2012). Despite this recognition of ‘failed urbanism’ and that even more poor people are living in African cities, development intervention and government policies continue to be biased toward rural localities.

The ESRC/DFID –funded Governing Food Systems in African Secondary Cities project, commonly referred to as the Consuming Urban Poverty Project (CUPP) focuses on the dynamics of poverty in Africa’s secondary cities in order to provide information and insights which can address poverty reduction. The project argues that poverty cannot be understood or addressed by focusing on poor individuals or households alone. Rather it needs to be understood as having many intersecting drivers operating at a range of scales, from the individual, to the neighborhood, to the city and beyond. The project therefore sought to understand the dynamic connections between poverty, governance and urban poverty. It positioned food as a powerful lens to understand these connections, by embracing Carolyn Steel’s assertion that “in order to understand cities properly, we need to look at them through food”. Therefore the central question for the project was “what does the urban food system in three secondary cities in Africa (Kitwe, Zambia; Kisimu, Kenya; and Epworth, Zimbabwe) reveal about the dynamics of urban poverty and its governance?”

This seminar focuses on key empirical findings from the project, which include a reverse value chain analysis of five key food products, spatial mapping of the formal and informal food retail environment, and in-depth household interviews to determine food systems and experiences of food insecurity in Epworth, Zimbabwe.  This research coincided with the ‘twists and turns’ in economic policy instruments set by the government of Zimbabwe (GoZ), which led to food-related protests and civil unrest across most urban localities. Civil unrest primarily centred on food and access thereof and was mostly visible in secondary cities like Epworth that have high prevalence of poverty and food poverty. The ‘timely’ coincidence of collecting data during such a period in which the GoZ introduced economic instruments that adversely affected the urban food system and household food security, reinforced the positioning that food is a critical entry point for understanding urban poverty, particularly in secondary cities and in shaping a new urban agenda and policy for Zimbabwe.

June 28, 2017

Congratulations Class of 2017!

Another Geography commencement ceremony has come and gone and as we settle in for the summer, the Department of Geography just wants to recognize the fabulousness of our students! Summer seemed to arrive on the day of graduation, making the ceremony fairly warm! However the spirit of the day, as usual, overcomes.




Our ceremony began with opening remarks from Dr. Dan Gavin, Geography department head, about his own personal reflections on the importance of perspective and places.

Newly minted PhD Dr. M. Jackson, fresh from her week being honored in Washington DC as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, gave arousing speech encouraging students to use their perspective, stand up, take notice of the world, make it better, and go further.

Alumni speaker Dr. Eric Sproles, who received his M. A. in Geography from UO in 2006, used a personal story of his grandmother, who attended UO, to encourage students to develop an appreciation of their places, their connections, and their world. And to keep going, making the world better along the way.

Dr. Alec Murphy then took the podium to announce the names of graduates with his usual gravitas.Afterwards we had a photo booth provided by Emerald Media, snacks, cake, and lots of hugs, congratulations and fun!

Congratulations to all students and families who attended!
Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing!

June 12, 2017

2017 Geography Commencement

Congratulations, 2017 Graduates! Please join the Department of Geography as we celebrate this year’s crop of freshly minted Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral students! On Monday, June 19th, 2017, we will gather as a department to celebrate our graduates. Please join us on the Knight Library Lawn on the East side of Condon Hall for remarks and the calling out of each graduates name. Families, friends, and guests are welcome to attend and celebrate!

If you are graduating and need more information, please click here for more info.

Campus will be busy! Please plan ahead for parking or for coming to campus via the bus.


May 31, 2017

Tea Talk June 1st: Raoul Lievanos

Please join us this Thursday, June 1 for a Geography tea talk by Raoul Lievanos (Department of Sociology, University of Oregon):

“Producing Hazardous Space: Socio-Nature and Valuation in the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation Residential Security Survey”

The talk will begin at 4:00 pm in Condon 106. Join us at 3:30 pm in Condon 108 for snacks, conversation, and department announcements.

Abstract: Previous research demonstrates that demographic and housing factors generally predicted neighborhood mortgage risk-rating outcomes in the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) Residential Security Surveys (RSS) of 239 major U.S. cities following the Great Depression. This article contributes to previous research by first developing a novel “socio-nature” model of HOLC risk assessment that bridges the sociology of knowledge and economic and environmental sociology with sociospatial theory and urban political ecology. The model highlights how HOLC residential security appraisals translated ecological theory in a manner that conflated social hierarchies with the biophysical environment and neighborhood quality, especially in the highest-risk “hazardous” grade. Following theoretical illustrations from the iconic case of Chicago, the in-depth case study of Stockton, California informs our understanding of how different environmental considerations—industrial zones and flood risk—shaped HOLC risk-rating outcomes. Spatial and qualitative comparative analyses of archival Stockton RSS data uncovers hitherto neglected heterogeneous configurations of race, class, environmental threats, exclusionary market infrastructure, and housing quality and value that condition hazardous grade assignment and subsequent neighborhood housing values. The study concludes with a discussion of its scholarly and practical implications regarding the production of hazardous space, socio-nature, and valuation within U.S. real estate markets.

We hope to see you there!

May 9, 2017

Tea Speaker 5/18: Ford Cochran from National Geographic

Please join the Department of Geography as we host Dr. Ford Cochran, the Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. Ford selects the writers, photographers, explorer, staff and scholars who head to different parts of the world. He was written for National Geographic magazine and helped launch among many, many other activities at the National Geographic Society. Read more about him here.

Ford will give a talk entitled:

Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Going Further with National Geographic

His talk will be at 4pm in Allen 221 on Thursday, May 18th. Join the department of Geography for Tea Snacks and announcements at 3:15. 

May 4, 2017

Tea Speaker, May 4th: Galit Cohen-Blankshtain

Please join us in welcoming Galit Cohen-Blankshtain, a senior lecturer in Geography and Public Policy at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is currently on sabbatical at Oregon State University. Her talk is entitled “Integrated transport planning in segmented city: the case of Jerusalem.”

To see more about her research in Urban information-communication technologies (ICT) policy, Transport policy, urban policy and environmental policy, click here.

The talk will be gin at 4pm in Condon 106. Please join us for Tea Treats and departmental announcements prior to the talk at 3:30 in Condon 108.

April 25, 2017

Special-TEA Friday, April 28th 2:30pm

Please join us for a talk by Birgit Müller, from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany. Her talk will be entitled “Analyzing the impact of policy instruments and global change processes with help of social-ecological modelling.”

Birgit’s research interests focus on: the use of process-based models for an enhanced understanding and governance of social-ecological systems under global change to explore:

  1. Dynamics of social-ecological resource systems with strong focus on grazing systems in drylands
  2. Effects of policy instruments for global food security and for coping with climate risk (such as weather insurances) on social-ecological systems (SES)
  3. Adequate representation of human decisions in agent-based models for natural resource use
  4. Potential of SES models as a tool of thinking and a tool for communication in inter- and transdisciplinary research

You can find more about her research here.

The talk will begin at 2:30pm in Condon 106. Join us at 2pm in Condon 108 for snacks and department announcements.

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