Association of American Geographers: 2012 Call for Papers

Call for Papers and Organized Sessions

Note: You must first register for the Annual Meeting to submit an abstract or session.

The AAG accepts all submitted abstracts and organized sessions for presentation. If you have any questions about these guidelines please direct them to Oscar Larson at meeting@aag.org.

Important Dates

  • Call for Papers: May 15 to Sept. 28, 2011
    Registration opens. Abstracts and sessions can be submitted online. September 28, 2011 is the deadline to submit an abstract and organized sessions. We encourage you to submit early for best placement in sessions and in the program.
  • Annual Meeting: February 24-28, 2012

Requirements for Participation

Anyone interested in the advancement of geography may participate in the annual conference. You are eligible to give a presentation or participate in other capacities in the program provided you are registered for the meeting. You do not need to be an AAG member to register.

The AAG Council has implemented rules pertaining to the number of times an individual may appear in the annual meeting program. Eligible participants may present only one paper, illustrated paper, interactive short paper, or poster presentation. You are allowed to present one paper and be a panelist in one other session, or you may elect not to present a paper, and appear as a panelist twice. You may still organize multiple sessions.

Participation in the program as a session chair, discussant, panelist, non-presenting co-author, session organizer, workshop organizer, or field trip organizer or leader does not affect your eligibility to present a paper, poster, interactive short paper, or illustrated paper. Anyone who participates in more than two events runs the risk of time conflicts that staff will not be able to resolve.

An abstract is required for everyone presenting a paper, illustrated paper, or poster presentation. Abstracts can only be submitted online after you have registered for the meeting.

Fees

All participants, except non-attending co-authors, must pay the appropriate participation fee before submitting an abstract. Annual meeting registration fees may be paid online.

Presentations

Your presentation should describe the purpose, methods, and conclusions of your research. No one may submit or take part in more than one presentation. Presenters may give one, and only one, of the following presentations:

  • Paper PresentationEach presenter is allowed 20 minutes to present and discuss a paper. Sessions are limited to five presentations.
  • Illustrated PaperA short, three- to five-minute, oral summary of problem, data, method, and findings presented in poster format, followed by a one-on-one or small group discussion at the poster.
  • Interactive Short PaperA session of ten to 14 paper presentations accompanied by PowerPoint slides. Each presentation summarizes research or research in progress in a particular field, followed by a 30- to 45-minute interactive roundtable discussion.
  • Poster PresentationSessions consist of posters displayed for informal browsing with opportunities for individual discussion with authors. This format is best suited for material that can easily be communicated visually.

Disclaimer

The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers is an open forum for sharing the results of research and teaching in geography and related specialties. The contents of annual meeting presentations by individuals or groups at the annual meeting are theirs alone. The Association of American Geographers neither endorses nor disclaims the conclusions, interpretations or opinions expressed by speakers at its annual meeting.

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PhD Field Work: Metro Vancouver

Since mid-April, I have been conducting research on Cantonese evangelicals, their conceptions of civil society, and their social and political engagement in Metro Vancouver.  I hope to wrap up this first round of research by 2 June.  I plan to be flying to San Francisco on 3 June and returning mid-July.

A few things that are especially on my mind as I conduct this Vancouver field work over the next few weeks:

  • The upcoming Canadian federal election (2 May)
  • The recent Edgewater Casino hearings
  • Print and video media reports on Chinese Christians
  • Chinese Christian youth/young adult ministries and revival networks
  • Relationships between Christian parachurch organizations/networks and churches
  • Anything else about Cantonese evangelicals in Vancouver being socially and politically engaged (or not–and why not?)
As I’ve said previously, much of this project depends on semi-structured interviews, focus groups, ethnographic field work, and texutal/media analysis.  Feel free to contact me at jkhtse@interchange.ubc.ca for more information!

Human Ethics Clearance

GREAT NEWS: my application to UBC’s Office of Research Services ethics committee has been approved!

This is one of the interesting things about doing research in North America.  Because of a long history of research with questionable ethics (largely within psychology), many North American universities have decided to screen any research involving human subjects.  This ranges from anything including simple interviews and surveys to more complicated things like deception to get information (which I do NOT engage in).  There’s a science version too for lab subjects and animal safety (which I also don’t do).  All of this gets put under an umbrella at UBC called the Behavioural Research Ethics Board.  I applied for clearance in human subjects.

My application was actually very simple because there weren’t too many ethical risks in my project to begin with.  My project is very simply talking to people in interviews and focus groups, observing people at churches and organizations, and stuff like that.  The key thing about this kind of research is that everything has to be up front, i.e. I have to let people know when I’m taping what they’re saying, I have to let them know that I’m a PhD Candidate doing research, and all the rest of that.  As a very simple formality and also a common courtesy, people that I tape also have to sign consent forms that say that they give “free, informed, and voluntary consent” and that they know what the project is about.  For the record, I use a digital voice recorder that records in mp3s made in Korea that I got from this tech shop in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong that just plugs into the USB port with a wire on my laptop.  I use the recordings as another note-taking device so that I don’t have to scribble down verbatim what everybody says, and I transcribe the interviews and make sure nobody besides me and the person being interviewed hears the interviews or looks at the transcriptions (confidentiality MATTERS!).  I always leave the recorder on the table out in the open, and I never tape secretly.  It’s really just about being forthright that I am an academic researcher interested in Cantonese evangelicals.  That’s not very hard to do, especially because I like the project so much!

The whole process only took about two weeks.  I was put under the category of minimal risk and assigned for expedited review.  This means that really, the project doesn’t have too many ethical risks.  The key thing is just to be honest that I’m doing research.  I think that’s what any decent person would do.

But yes, this means I’m cleared by UBC to do research.  Vancouver, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, here we come!

Proposal Approval

On 31 March 2011, my PhD proposal was approved.

What does this mean?
It means that I’m finally approved to do research as a full PhD candidate.  The human subjects ethics forms are currently being approved, pending provisos for a few clarifications on my application (but nothing substantial), but I expect those to be taken care of in the next few days.

What’s the proposal about?
The proposal concerns my upcoming doctoral dissertation research, which is due to be completed in Summer 2013.  The working title is Religious Politics in Pacific Space: The Political Interventions of Cantonese Christians in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Vancouver.  It’s basically about how Cantonese-speaking evangelicals see themselves as involved in society in these three metropolitan areas.  The basic methodology for this project is a global ethnography, a term coined by Berkeley sociology Michael Burawoy (2001) that refers to when social scientists contextualize their field work in larger global processes in time and space, and will mostly depend on semi-structured interviews with Cantonese Christian organization leaders and pastors as well as focus groups with Cantonese Christian lay persons.  These interviews and focus groups will be contextualized by basic field observation, quantitative data from organizations and the censuses, and textual and media analysis of both Chinese Christian media sources and secular news sources.  It’s going to take about a year, with at least three months in each site.

Can you help?
If you identify as a Cantonese Christian–or even just a Chinese Christian (even if you’re Mandarin-speaking, or if your parents are Cantonese-speaking)–or if you’ve done work with Cantonese Christians, I’d love to get in contact with you. In fact, even if you don’t identify as Cantonese Christian, period, but you wanted to get some of your friends involved in the project, please do contact me!

But I don’t like politics! It’s such a touchy topic!
THAT’S OK!!! I’m using “politics” in an fancy academic way–and I have to, because I’m an academic–to refer to when people get involved in their civil society.  In that sense, a lot of things count as “politics” for academics.  The way that I’m using “politics” is more in terms of social involvement; in other words, I’m interested in the constant conversation between Cantonese evangelicals and the societies they find themselves in.  Yes, it could refer to electoral politics when you try to vote someone into that society, but it may be as simple as feeling like you want your voice heard in the broader society, or joining in a march or a protest, or making your organization or church more engaged in social issues.  Or maybe you’re not interested in doing any of that–I’d really be interested in: why not?  Basically, although the title of my research concerns politics, I’m just interested in how Christians who speak Cantonese think about and get involved in society in Vancouver, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.

What will happen to information that is gathered?
I will use the data I gather to write my PhD doctoral dissertation.  These things are usually 300ish pages long.  I’ll turn that into an academic book that will be able to speak to scholars in human geography, religious studies, ethnic studies, migration studies, political studies, and urban studies.  I’ll also write some academic articles based on it.  While these things sound so academic, they also form the basis for community involvement as well, including using my studies to help Cantonese evangelicals reflect on issues of faith and society and providing a fair and balanced representation of Chinese Christian churches and organizations to the media.  I am very interested in contributing my academic skills in partnership with community leaders, organization heads, and pastors, and I hope that this project will be of use in both academic and non-academic settings.

If you want to get in touch with me because you’re interested, feel free to send me an email at jkhtse@interchange.ubc.ca or call me at +1-604-728-0024.  I’d be happy to hear from you!

APARRI 2011

The 2011 Annual Meeting of the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative

APARRI
Call for Papers

Here and There: Race, Religion, Law and Immigration

Dates:  August 3–5, 2011
McCormick Theological Seminary
Chicago, IL

APARRI is a community advancing the interdisciplinary study of Asian Pacific Americans and their religions. Through conferences, mentoring, and collaboration, APARRI promotes the professional development of scholars and the emerging field of Asian Pacific American religious studies. The APARRI conference began in 2000 among a group of doctoral students and early-career scholars of religion and theology who sought to develop a community of mutual support for the development of interdisciplinary scholarship on Asian Pacific American religion.  The conference continues this cross-disciplinary work by organizing concurrent sessions. Presenters are encouraged to share their research and works-in-progress with other APARRI participants by organizing panels, presenting papers, and/or by structuring small group dialogue sessions on an important topic of inquiry in the study of Asian North American and Pacific Island religions. Selected papers/sessions will be scheduled during the concurrent panels.

Entitled “Here and There: Race, Religion, Law and Immigration” the 2011 conference will be held August 3–5 on the campus of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL.  The conference will feature a plenary as well as concurrent sessions that showcase research-in-progress. Additionally sessions focusing on professionalization (“Research and Writing: Staying Productive and Sane” and “I got the Job: Now What?”) will be available for students and faculty.

Debates around immigration have become increasingly fraught in the U.S. and abroad.  The impact of these debates has affected the lives of Asian Americans in predictable and unexpected ways, especially when considerations about citizenship take into account religion, law, and race.  The 2011 Annual Meeting of the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI) will explore the nexus of race, religion, law, and immigration through papers, working groups, and experimental keywords sessions.  Among the questions the meeting will consider are: How have changes in legal, civic, and cultural understandings of religion and race affected the formation of immigration policies in the U.S. and in other nations? What role have Asian American religious communities and traditions played in the fight for the rights of immigrants? How have race relations among Asian Americans and other racial and ethnic groups affected attitudes about immigration policies and religious affiliations?  What discourses about social justice have Asian American religious communities developed?  We invite working papers that will address these and related questions.

Deadline for Submissions:  June 1, 2011.
Email submissions to:  We encourage work in multiple and diverse religious contexts. Proposals should be sent by e-mail to Joe Cheah at jpcheah@aol.com
Acceptances will be sent out by June 15, 2011.

Association of American Geographers 2011 (Seattle, WA)

A few updates on the sessions in this Association of American Geographers in Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center and the Sheraton.

Betsy Olson, Claire Dwyer, and I co-organized a session on Wednesday, 13 April 2011, at 10 AM entitled Religion and transnationalism/Traveling faith (#2244).  This paper featured paper presentations by Murat Es, Abby Day, Ben Kogaly, Sharon Suh, and Patricia Ehrkamp.  Claire Dwyer, David Ley, and I also gave our presentation on Richmond’s “Highway to Heaven”:

While geographers have written much about the varying dimensions of transnational urbanism (Ley 2004, MP Smith 2001, Mitchell 2004) religious transnationalism remains under explored despite the establishment of many new spectacular religious buildings in diaspora cities in the last decade and evidence of the continuing significance of religious practice for many migrants (Levitt 2007, Tweed 2002). In this paper we draw on recent empirical work in the multicultural suburb of Richmond, Vancouver to explore the complex geographies of a transnational suburban religious landscape. Along the Number 5 Road, on the eastern boundary of the city and adjacent to the major 99 highway, more than twenty religious buildings including mosques, churches, religious schools, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples are clustered within 3 kilometres. This suburban religious landscape has been produced by the complex intersection of suburban planning regulations, municipal multiculturalism and the transnational activities of a range of different diasporic faith communities living in greater Vancouver and beyond. Our paper traces the processes by which this landscape has been produced and raises some questions about the possible outcomes of planning for religious and cultural diversity and the varying trajectories of religious transnationalism.

I am also giving a paper on Thursday, 14 April 2011, at 10 AM in the Issues in Ethnic Geography II (#3220) session.  Here is the paper abstract:

Until recently, ethnic, religious, and ethno-religious spaces in North America have been assumed to be apolitical.  Urban ethnic centres (such as Chinatowns), ethnoburbs (such as Richmond in Metro Vancouver), and ethnic churches and temples have often been seen as sites where migrant cultures to North America have been preserved; indeed, the only politics in which they are involved may be anti-segregation and anti-racism protests.  However, Cantonese Christians have not been apolitical.  In 2008, Cantonese Christians successfully campaigned for the election of a Conservative Member of Parliament in Richmond, British Columbia; a parallel in the San Francisco Bay Area was an alliance of Chinese evangelicals with the larger evangelical movement to pass Proposition 8 to ban same-sex unions.  Such a trend has also been noticed by Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, running a front-page article on immigrants and the conservative vote.  In this presentation, I propose a working approach to such migrant religious communities that takes into account their politics.  We must ask: what are the civic imaginations and practices of Cantonese Christians who are said to vote conservative?  This paper grounds this question in Vancouver and San Francisco as the starting point of a new line of inquiry into the political agency of communities formerly thought to be ethnic enclaves running parallel religious lives in North America.  It is the hope of this paper to initiate a new approach to immigrant and ethnic geographies from which empirical data can be collected.

Finally, in the usual great run-up of speakers for the Geography of Religion and Belief Systems Annual Lecture, Claire Dwyer will be giving this year’s lecture (#4258):

Encountering the Divine in W5 and Highway 99: stories of the suburban sacred
This lecture reflects on my on-going collaborative research on suburban faith spaces in London and Vancouver to explore the significance of everyday geographies of religion.  Recent research on suburban faith spaces offers both into a reinterpretation of the assumed secularism of suburban space and an analysis of the transnational and postcolonial connections shaping suburban geographies. Through this analysis of suburban faith spaces I develop two broader arguments about the geographies of religions and belief systems. First, I ask what geographies of religion have to offer to wider theoretical discussions within the discipline. Second, I reflect on the  possibilities and challenges of accessing the suburban sacred as part of a wider reflection on geographies of encounter and enchantment.

Metropolis Canada: 23-26 March 2011

Just wanted to check in and report on the success of a paper session I co-organized with my friends Claire Dwyer, David Ley, and Paul Bramadat at Metropolis Canada.  Here’s the session information:

Immigrant Integration, Religious Diversity and the Suburbs
This session brings together academics and policy makers to discuss the ways in which the civic engagement and integration of immigrants is facilitated through religious institutions and organisations. It focuses on the emergence of new religious spaces in the suburbs of many Canadian cities and the challenge of planning for diversity.

Organizer | Organisateur
Claire Dwyer, University College London
Justin Tse, University of British Columbia
David Ley, University of British Columbia
Paul Bramadat, University of Victoria

Participants
Claire Dwyer, University College London, Justin Tse and David Ley, University of British Columbia
‘Highway to Heaven’: The Making of a Transnational Suburban Religious Landscape in Vancouver

Ranu Basu, York University
Kali in the Legions to Eid with Christmas Lights: Integrative Multiplicity in Toronto Suburbs

Meharoona Ghani, Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development, British Columbia
Multiculturalism and Inclusive Communities

Alan Hill, City of Richmond
Cultural Diversity and Integration

Chair | Modérateur
Paul Bramadat, University of Victoria

Discussant | Commentateur
Balwant Sanghera, Interfaith Bridging Project

A CLAIM TO FAME: our session was mentioned by Douglas Todd in The Search for our presentation on religion.  Thanks so much, Douglas, and yes, it provoked some great discussion on religion, secularism, migration, and the suburbs in Canada!