University of Wisconsin–Madison

Yi-Fu Tuan Lecture Archive

Yi-Fu Tuan in a classroom

The 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 left) 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 2007 Lectures

January 26 - Megafaunal Extinction and Ecosystem collapse in Pleistocene Australia : Separating the impacts of human colonization from those of climate change
Dr. Gifford Miller
Department of Geological Science, INSTAAR, University of Colorado

February 9 - Residential Preferences and Environmental Perceptions: Findings from Southeastern Michigan
Dr. Asli Göcmen
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin - Madison

This study examines residential preferences and environmental perceptions as they relate to development patterns. Two-hundred eighty three residents from urban, suburban, exurban, and open space conservation type neighborhoods in Michigan's Washtenaw and Livingston County were surveyed in the Fall of 2004. Findings from this survey indicate that residents in general rate the exurban neighborhood type as the most desired and the most environmentally sensitive neighborhood type. The study also reveals that residents are not clear about the regional environmental impacts of land development patterns, and as such, points to a substantive need for environmental education.

February 16 - Reconstructing Pleistocene Geography of Species and Speciation
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas

My research focuses on aspects of the geography of biodiversity. My formal training was in tropical ornithology, with a particular focus on systematics. As such, one component of my research focuses on the alpha taxonomy of birds, as well as on the phylogeny of recently radiated clades of birds. Tied to this focus is work with the basic geography of bird distributions, and with the composition of local avifaunas, based on detailed site inventories and scientific collections around the world. My work with the geographic and ecology of species' distributions, however, has taken me into other fields, including conservation biology and planning, invasive species biology, and disease transmission systems. In the latter field, my work has focused on numerous disease systems, including Chagas Disease, malaria, dengue, leischmaniasis, and ebola/Marburg. In general, my work is collaborative in nature, and usually involves geographers, computer scientists, and biologists. CV:

February 17 - The Space of Difference: Public Spectacles in Appalachia, South Wales and the American Southwest
Dr. Camille Guerin-Gonzales
Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program, University of Wisconsin - Madison

"The Space of Difference: Public Spectacles in Appalachia, South Wales, and the American Southwest" examines the contested racial terrain of public space by focusing on public celebrations, public protests, and public amusements in three coal mining regions, the Sangre de Cristos in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado; the Appalachian mountains in the American South; and the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales. This work is part of a larger binational comparative study of miners and their families in the coalfields of Colorado-New Mexico, Appalachia, and South Wales that addresses questions of identity and citizenship during a period of extensive international migration, from 1890 to 1947.

February 23 - Fire as an Integrating Concept in Biogeography
Dr. Amy Hessl
Department of Geology and Geography, University of West Virginia

The relative importance of humans, climate, and local environmental controls on wildfire regimes in North America has been hotly debated for almost 60 years in geography. Recent work by biogeographers on fire ecology involves all three of geography's major themes: space, time, and human interactions with the environment. In this presentation, I review my own work on fire as well as the work of other biogeographers to argue that fire should be considered one of the major integrating concepts in biogeography.

March 2 - A politics of science meets a politics of scale: constructing water scarcity and imagining the Israeli state, water management between 1948 and 1959
Dr. Samer Alatout
Department of Rural Sociology, Nelson Institute, UW-Madison

This talk will draw arguments on arguments related to the following: In the last two decades, two bodies of literature have been growing in importance in the social sciences: science and technology studies (science studies for short) and geographic studies of scale. In this paper I bring these traditions together and make a few theoretical and substantial arguments. On the theoretical side, I review some of the recent literature in order to do three things. First, I introduce a sociology of articulation in understanding the construction, maintenance, and change in techno-political networks in science studies. This move is influenced by the concern that Actor Network Theory relies too heavily on the sociology of translation and thus has a somewhat conventional account of power, a modern notion of the subject as actor, and, lacks a theory of resistance. Second, I encourage a broadening of the notion of politics of scale by including cultural practices that are normally sidestepped by geographers. For the purposes of this paper, those include the production of scientific and technical knowledge and their deployment in microgeographic practices in scale politics. And, third, I uncover somewhat hidden relations between the politics of science and the politics of scale. More specifically, I argue that there seems to be a relation of mutual shaping between the two, which might have a number of implications that need to be investigated and unpacked. On the substantive level, I tell the story of the emergence of a network of water scarcity and centralization in Israel between the years 1948 and 1959. The effects of this network touch on a number of important theoretical themes: it constructed water resource scarcity as 'fact'; centralized policymaking institutions as 'efficient'; centralized technologies as 'appropriate'; national scale of water management as 'necessary'; a strong and centralized state as 'legitimate'; legal precedents for the use of state apparatus for surveillance, discipline, and control over water resources; and, consequently, a form of citizenship that is seen as 'at once heroic and disciplined'.

March 16 - Pacific Northwest Fires, Volcanoes, and Forests: Information from the Past Informing the Future
Dr. Colin Long
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

March 23 - Place and the Alimentary Left: Is 'Eating Locally' Sustainable and Just, or Just Bourgeois Piggery?
Dr. Jack Kloppenburg
Department of Geography, Ohio State University

May 4 - Spaces of Hunger, Memories of Hope: The Co-optation of Radical Grassroots Anti-Hunger Politics
Dr. Nik Heynen
Department of Geography, University of Georgia

Nik Heynen will also participate in a brown bag talk and discussion at noon on Friday in 350 Science Hall. He will discuss one of his current projects and offer a few words on job searches, publishing, and the early years in an academic career. The majority of the hour will be left for discussion. Heynen received his Ph.D. from the University of Indiana in 2002 and was based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before making his way to Georgia in 2006. Among other things, Nik's research interests include: Urban political economy/ecology, Social theory, Inequality and Social Movements. Check out his website for more details:

May 11 - Localized Geopolitics: State Breaking and State Making in Bosnia-Herzegovin
Dr. Gerard Toal (Gearoid O Tuathail)
Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech