Yi-Fu Tuan Lectures

Yi-Fu TuanThe Yi-Fu Lecture Series features a wide variety of U.S. and international guest lecturers from all geographic disciplines. Lecturers at these Friday seminars also often speak at brown-bag lunches, one-on-one student sessions, and breakfast meetings with student interest groups as part of their visit. Doctoral students are invited to present their final research. The lecture series was initiated by Dr. Tuan (pictured at right) and receives enthusiastic support as a department and campus tradition.

All lectures are presented on Friday at 3:30pm in Science Hall - Rm 180 unless otherwise noted. Alumni, friends and the public are always invited to attend.

Spring 2016 Lectures

Kaushik Sunder Rajan12 February – Postcolonial Values: Nationalist Industries in Pharmaceutical Empire

  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
  • University of Chicago, Department of Anthropology

In this talk, I discuss the place of the Indian pharmaceutical industry within global biomedical political economies. I provide an account of India’s oldest surviving pharmaceutical company Cipla, which has become a leading player in the opposition to World Trade Organization-mandated patent regimes and hence an ally of global civil society groups fighting for access to medicines. Cipla’s history reveals a record of consistent action in its own market interests, and an attempt to define a market terrain in terms of those interests; but it also reflects certain explicit nationalist and (more recently) global humanitarian sentiments, in ways that open up questions about the postcolonial and ethical investments of these market actors. I then think through the global geopolitical landscape within which such ethical incorporations must now operate, in the context of new free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Laura Tilghman19 February – Who needs the village? Rural-urban migration and linkages in northeastern Madagascar

  • Laura Tilghman
  • Plymouth State University, Anthropology Department

Scholars have argued that African city residents have fortified their linkages to rural areas as a survival strategy in the face of urban decline following neoliberal restructuring and economic crises. I examine the ways in which rural resources factor into livelihood strategies of rural-urban migrants in northeastern Madagascar, based on over 2 years of ethnographic research. I analyze the degree to which migrants’ livelihoods have a rural basis, and whether individuals with “stronger” linkages to their home villages indeed have more resources and greater wellbeing. I argue that transaction costs and norms of reciprocity dampen the ability of rural linkages to subsidize urban residence, in effect making life in the city particularly difficult for its poorest residents.

Sven Fuhrmann26 February – Unfolding the Map

  • Sven Fuhrmann
  • George Mason University, Department of Geography & Geoinformation Science

August 2015 was the official start of the International Map Year, a worldwide recognition of maps, mapping products and their roles and uses. While on one hand the history and achievements of mapping products are being celebrated; the International Map Year also encourages exploring new challenges and opportunities to further develop spatial visualization techniques and products. Dr. Fuhrmann has been a member of geovisualization developments for the past 15 years and significantly shaped cartography and geovisualization research. His presentation reflects on past geovisualization challenges and achievements and highlights his current and future research. Dr. Fuhrmann will outline three aspects of his geovisualization work: a) usability and usefulness of true 3d display environments for time critical tasks and decision making, b) recent developments in social media and geovisualization, and c) geovisualization-based spatial learning and thinking. The presentation will close in the spirit of the current International Map Year: as an open invitation to join interdisciplinary cartographic innovation research.

Kate Brown4 March – TBA

  • Kate Brown
  • University of Maryland, History Department

Part of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment's E is for Environment Symposium.


John Pickles11 March – Migration policy and the re-bordering of Europe and Euro-Med

  • John Pickles
  • University of North Carolina, Geography Department

European migration and border management policies and architectures have changed rapidly over the past decade. In this presentation I shall outline some of the ways in which European Neighborhood Policy, the Global Approach to Migration, and the current struggles over migration and asylum seekers are re-working EU border policies and their underlying conceptions of space and sovereignty in the region.

Silvia Alvarez-Clare8 April – TBA

  • Silvia Alvarez-Clare
  • North Central College, Biology Department



Laura Pulido15 April – TBA

  • Laura Pulido
  • University of Southern California, Department of American Studies & Ethnicity



Leila Harris22 April – TBA

  • Leila Harris
  • University of British Columbia, Geography Department



David Biggs29 April – TBA

  • David Biggs
  • University of California - Riverside, History Department



No photo available6 May – TBA

  • Treacy Lecture

Yi Fu Tuan lecture archive