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Geography Colloquium Schedule – Spring 2023

Please join us Fridays from 12:20-1:10PM in 234 Wallace Hall (unless otherwise noted)

Dan Sui

April 14, 12:20pm-1:10pm at Wallace 234

Dr. Daniel Sui, Senior Vice President and Chief Research and Innovation officer, Virginia Tech

Title:  “Exploring new horizons in convergence research: Implications for Geography and GIScience”


Growing convergence research has been one of the ten big ideas promoted by the U.S. National Science Foundation since 2017 (  This talk presents a synoptic overview of the new trends in convergence research and discusses how geographers and GIScientists can take the convergence approach to accelerate geographic and GIScience research. Drawing from currently on-going research at Virginia Tech and beyond, it is argued that both geography and GIScience are inherently convergence disciplines, and integrating geography and GIScience with the new trends in convergence research will not only accelerate the geospatial turn across disciplines but amply the impacts of geographic research.

Web link of Dr. Daniel Sui


April 7, 12:20pm-1:10pm at Wallace 234

J. Terrence McCabe, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder

Title: A contested Landscape: Pastoralism, Conservation and cultivation in Northern Tanzania


 During the 2022 UN Biodiversity conference it was agreed that 30 percent of the world’s land and water should be protected. Colloquially, known as 30X30, this agreement could have serious implications for many local and indigenous peoples. The current situation in Tanzania illustrates how complex and contentious meeting this goal can be. In this presentation, I will be presenting research results on changing pastoral livelihoods, the shift from rangelands to cultivated lands, the response and impact of drought, and how this articulates with current policy regarding conservation in Tanzania. I conclude with an outline of a recently funded project that will examine how people respond to multiple extreme events, and how this may lead to increased vulnerability, or to enhanced resilience by learning how responding to one extreme event may better position households to cope with the next extreme event.

Faculty Profile of J. Terrence McCabe


Selima Sultana

March 17, 12:20pm-1:10pm at Wallace 234

Dr. Selima Sultana, Professor, UNC Greensboro

Title: "Transportation, (Im)Mobility, and the National Parks"

Abstract: For an increasingly urban American population, the National Parks System (NPS) offers an opportunity to visit the outdoors, see stunning vistas, explore wilderness areas with a chance of seeing wildlife, or just have a picnic. However, as the population has increased, the pressure on both the parks and the infrastructure necessary to access them also has increased. Privately-owned vehicles comprise the majority of travel modes both to and within national parks, creating problems of traffic congestion and air and noise pollution. These problems in turn have raised issues about how much visitation the parks can handle without degrading either the environment or the experience, and what alternative transportation options should be created to address these concerns. This colloquium will present how people get to the park, how they move around within the park, and the impacts of this movement.  A case study of national parks will be carried out to illustrate the variety of transport options that can exist in each park and potential solutions along with the concept of social carrying capac

Keywords: National Park System, Transportation, Mobility, Sustainability, Carrying Capacity

Bio Page of Selima Sultana


Caleb Parker

February 17, 12:20pm-1:10pm at Wallace 234

Caleb Parker, Senior Research Associate at FHI 360

Title: Applied Geospatial Methods for International Development  

Abstract:  Geospatial approaches are increasingly important to the international health and development sectors. Caleb Parker, MA, is a Senior Research Associate at FHI 360, an international NGO, and leads the GIS Division. The Division supports research teams and service delivery programs across content areas including emerging infectious diseases, HIV, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, maternal and child health, education, crisis response, and lab systems strengthening. The methods we use have a wide range, from using network analyst to model catchment areas and driving times, to modeling land use change, and creating customized interactive maps of near-real-time programmatic data


Meredith Gore

February 24, 12:20pm-1:10pm at Wallace 234

Meredith Gore, Associate Professor, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland

Title: "Inter- and anti-disciplinary thinking about harmful human-environment relationships and conservation crime "

Abstract: Conservation crime (e.g., wildlife trafficking; illegal logging, mining, fishing) is a transnational socio-environmental challenge globally distributed in scope, scale, and cultural impacts. Conservation crime can simultaneously serve as a vector for zoonotic disease and nonnative species invasion, endangered flora and fauna, undermine returns on sustainable development investment, associate with human rights violations, and support an exploited labor force.  Scientific exploration of the causes and consequences of these harmful human-environmental relationships help support more effective decision-making, program evaluation, cross-sectoral partnerships, and funding prioritization. To this end, geographers regularly engage in interdisciplinary research (i.e., different disciplines working together) to advance knowledge. Unfortunately, harmful-human environment relationships persist and by many measures, are getting worse.  Anti-disciplinary research (i.e., working in spaces that do not fit any existing discipline) may offer novel frameworks and methods to help break the logjam. This presentation will review 3 case studies of inter- and anti-disciplinary research on illegal logging in Madagascar, wildlife trafficking at a global level, and wildlife poaching in Indonesia, highlighting how minoritized voices, diverse data streams, and fieldwork advance both new answers to existing questions and new questions for future research. Both impatient optimists and hesitant pessimists are invited to engage and discuss implications for geographical sciences.

Bio Page of Meredith Gore