- Report of the Seventy-Second Annual MeetingSan Diego, California September 30–October 3, 2009
The 72nd annual meeting of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers was held at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego, California, from September 30 to October 3, 2009. The event was hosted by the Department of Geography at San Diego State University. The meeting drew in participants from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The meeting included five concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday as well as an opening evening session on Wednesday and a President’s Plenary on Friday evening. In total, 355 people attended the even, including 120 undergraduate students. All states in the APCG were represented, with individuals also traveling from as far away as Oaxaca, Mexico, and Joensuu, Finland. Attendees ranged from neophyte geographers in their teens to seasoned octogenarians. A number of universities sent large contingents, including Arizona State University, Cal State Long Beach, the University of Arizona, and UCLA.
The conference was officially opened by SDSU Provost Nancy Marlin. Also giving remarks was Paul Wong, dean of SDSU’s College of Arts and Letters. The highlight of the Opening Session was an engaging—alternatively disturbing and hopeful—talk by celebrated author, scholar, and activist Mike Davis. His talk, “Welcome to the Anthropocene,” was given to a packed house. A reception on the top floor of the convention hotel followed the opening event.
Thursday saw participants travel throughout San Diego County on a number of field trips: a walking tour of downtown San Diego, a visit to coastal estuaries and lagoons, an encounter with rare native flora at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and a San Diego Bay harbor cruise and visit to the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma. More than thirty meeting participants enjoyed the field trips. Also on Thursday afternoon, Vincent Del Casino organized a workshop on “Writing and Publishing Your First Peer Reviewed Paper.” [End Page 131] The field-trip buses returned in time for participants to join over sixty of their colleagues for a Mexican Dinner in San Diego’s historic Old Town. Participants got to experience San Diego’s famous trolley system to and from the dinner.
The paper sessions began at 8 am Friday. The two morning sessions were followed by a number of lunch meetings, including the Chair’s Lunch on Friday and the Women’s Network Lunch on Saturday. Fifteen chairs from around the region joined host Stuart Aitken to bemoan the plight of academia in the economic downturn. It was clear that California institutions were suffering badly.
In total, there were 35 paper and panel sessions and 1 poster session; the latter was held in conjunction with the President’s Reception on Friday evening. In addition to the 126 paper presentations, 33 panelists spoke on a variety of topics, and 9 posters were presented on Friday evening. After the President’s Reception, the organizers held a special session honoring the late Dr. Larry Ford, who spent his productive career at SDSU. Two paper sessions were also organized to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Ford: friends, colleagues, and former students of Larry gathered to celebrate his accomplishments and his legacy.
The sessions in the meeting explored a wide variety of important topics. On Friday, there were sessions on medical geography, GIS Education and Public Practice, Ice and Snow in the Andes and Himalayas, Geographies of Youth, and Modeling Nature. There were panels on Post-Border Futures, Meet-the-Editors, and Learning Research Methods through Peer-Teaching and Workshops. The President’s Plenary Session on Friday afternoon, titled “Neo-Geographies: Just Another Spin of the Globe,” involved JP Jones, Sarah Elwood, and Andre Skupin giving short presentations and indulging “talk back” from a panel of graduate students including Chris Lippitt, Grant Fraley, Sean Crotty, and Giorgio Curti.
Saturday’s sessions also demonstrated the variegated practices of geography, with sessions ranging from Climate Landscape and Society, GIS, Food Geographies, and Religious Transnationalism to International [End Page 132] Perspectives of Political Ecology and Hydrology. An organized panel session on Student Abroad Programs featured speakers from Mexico and the...