By Jeanna Packard
Ohio University will host the 15th Annual Conference on Critical Geography Oct. 3 through 5 on the Athens campus.
Critical geographers study societal and environmental injustices, looking for patterns, causes and effects. The field encompasses philosophy, anthropology, sociology and other disciplines to get a better understanding of root causes as well as who wins and loses in social or environmental situations.
"This conference tackles contemporary societal issues such as hunger, poverty, gender and environmental degradation," said Harold Perkins, a conference coordinator and Ohio University assistant professor of geography. "This is a great opportunity to build interdisciplinary links between departments, and it is a good venue because it is small, collegial and allows interaction."
The conference opens at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, with a keynote address by professor and author Paul Robbins, a political ecologist from the University of Arizona. Robbins studies the politics of the environment and who benefits or loses in a given situation.
His book "Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are" looks at how man's desire for well-manicured lawns has impacted people, animals and the environment. The book "places the lawn in its ecological, economic and social context," says Amazon.com. "Robbins considers the attention we pay our turfgrass -- the chemicals we use to grow lawns, the hazards of turf care to our urban ecology and its potential impact on water quality and household health."
The conference is open to students and faculty from all disciplines as well as members of the community. There is no registration fee.
Discussion on a number of topics will take place in Baker University Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. Sessions will be held on Sunday if demand warrants. A list of specific topics, room numbers and times will be posted by the end of August on the Department of Geography Web site.
The deadline to propose a panel or roundtable, submit a paper or describe an alternative session is Monday, Aug. 18. Submitters should send a 400- to 500-word abstract describing their paper or session and a brief bio of each participant along with contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
General and lodging inquiries should be directed to that e-mail as well; those with lodging questions are asked to include the word "accommodations" in the subject line of their e-mail. Reduced rates are available at the Ohio University Inn, and faculty and graduate students are willing to house conference participants.