Geographies of Human Rights: The Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress

2019 AAG Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019

Displaced people walk next to a razor wire fence at the United Nations base in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 19, 2016. https://www.voanews.com/a/south-sudan-atrocities-continue-despite-president-call-dialogue/3645680.html (AP)

AAG is a Founding Organization of the Science and Human Rights Coalition, partnering with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and 24 other professional and academic science and social science organizations. This Special Theme builds on this cross-disciplinary partnership to promote human rights through the benefits of science and our disciplines, and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the SHR Coalition in 2019.

Building on the prior AAG theme of Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography, this Special Theme of the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting will explore Geographies of Human Rights. In the same way as we consider the broader impacts and intellectual merits of our work, this Theme is intended to ask ourselves to be introspective and deliberate in discussing how Geography has enhanced Human Rights, how Geography has hindered Human Rights, and how we can move forward with a commitment and determination to include Human Rights in our collective research, teaching, and policy making. There are three main goals of the Right to Science, enabled by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR):  
“recognize the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; conserve, develop, and diffuse science; respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research, and recognize the benefits of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific field.”

The Theme intends to bring together national and international scholars, educators, and policy makers from diverse sectors to present and consider how AAG and Geography contribute to these goals of Human Rights.  This theme encourages sharing of ideas, technologies, case studies, innovations, and networking for problem solving at spatial scales ranging from local to global relating to one or more of these goals of the ICESCR. This will help to reinvigorate AAG institutional and individual participation in the broader Science and Human Rights Coalition, and to plan our second decade of active participation in this important collaboration.

We welcome participation from geographers; GIScientists; environmental, geoscience, social, communications, and humanities researchers; and other scientists, humanitarians, and policy makers working at the intersections of geography, science, and human rights at the AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019. Papers on all aspects of human rights and its connections with geography are welcome. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • The Right to Clean Water and Clean Air
  • Geospatial Technologies to Monitor for Human Rights Abuses
  • Protecting Cultural and Natural Heritage
  • The Right to International Collaborations
  • Rapid Response to Natural Disasters
  • Refugee Assistance
  • Communicating Climate Change
  • The Rights of Nature
  • Human Rights and Health
  • Incarcerated Populations
  • The Right to Benefit from Science
  • Academic Freedom
  • Scientific Freedom and Responsibility
  • Harassment-Free Workplaces
  • Access to Health Care
  • Human Rights Curriculum
  • Environmental Justice
  • Human Impacts on the Environment
  • Environmental Security
  • Food Security
  • The Rights of Scientists
  • Protecting Science in a Politically-Charged World
  • Poverty
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Violence Against Women

    Geographers throughout the world traveled to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22, 2017, to show their support for the March for Science, which AAG was a formal partner. They carried the banners, which were signed two weeks before by attendees during the annual meeting in Boston. Despite the rain, Geographers and scientists from many other disciplines and their supporters rallied in D.C. and also satellite marches around the globe. AAG marchers pose for a photo at the end of the march in front of the Capitol. (Photo courtesy Brooke and Dick Marston)For more information, please contact members of the Theme organizing committee at GeoHumanRights@aag.org. The Theme symposium organizing committee members are:

    Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, (University of Texas at Austin) Co-Chair
    Timothy Beach (University of Texas at Austin) Co-Chair
    Audrey Kobayashi (Queens University), Co-Chair
    Douglas Richardson (American Association of Geographers), Co-Chair
    Jessica Wyndham (American Association for the Advancement of Science), Co-Chair
  • Browse the Session Schedule

    Highlighted Sessions

     

    Wednesday, April 3, 2019 

    What do human rights do? Towards critical geographies of human rights: Session 1
    12:40 PM - 2:20 PM
    Forum Room, Omni
    Critical human geography has a longstanding concern for social and environmental justice, inequality, and the rights of both human and non-human actors. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights have become a global discourse hegemonic in their circulation and practice (Speed and Solano 2008), drawing academics, activists, practitioners, and affected peoples into new relations (Keck and Sikkink 1998) with variegated spatial, temporal, and socio-political effects (Goodale 2009; Boyle 2017). Human rights open avenues of hope and political possibility for oppressed peoples (Cardenas 2011), (re)shape geopolitics and debates about state sovereignty (Kelly 2018), create liminal geographies and states of exception for the stateless (Agamben 1995; Pratt 2005), and expose limits of decolonization (Asad 2000; Spivak 2004; Cusicanqui 2010). Indeed, human rights are relations that are as much social and political as they are spatial. 

    What do human rights do? Towards critical geographies of human rights: Session 2
    2:35 PM - 4:15 PM
    Forum Room, Omni

    Critical human geography has a longstanding concern for social and environmental justice, inequality, and the rights of both human and non-human actors. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights have become a global discourse hegemonic in their circulation and practice (Speed and Solano 2008), drawing academics, activists, practitioners, and affected peoples into new relations (Keck and Sikkink 1998) with variegated spatial, temporal, and socio-political effects (Goodale 2009; Boyle 2017). Human rights open avenues of hope and political possibility for oppressed peoples (Cardenas 2011), (re)shape geopolitics and debates about state sovereignty (Kelly 2018), create liminal geographies and states of exception for the stateless (Agamben 1995; Pratt 2005), and expose limits of decolonization (Asad 2000; Spivak 2004; Cusicanqui 2010). Indeed, human rights are relations that are as much social and political as they are spatial. 

    GIScience and Hazards in the Era of Big Data
    4:30 PM - 6:10 PM
    Forum Room, Omni 

    With each major disaster, innovative applications of geographic information emerge. The convergence of technologies like social media, web-mapping, cloud computing, unmanned aerial systems, and location-based services is revolutionizing risk prediction, risk assessment and communication for emergency management and disaster response. At the same time, advancements are being made in modeling resilience, mapping hazards, and capturing real-time information from airborne (unmanned and manned) and satellite platforms. The result is a rapid change in the technological context for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.


    Thursday, April 4, 2019

     

    Applying Open Principles in Geospatial Education to Enable the Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress
    8:00 AM - 9:40 AM
    Committee  Room, Omni
    Free and open-source geospatial software, open data resources, open standards, open educational resources, and open access to research publications are the Open Principles in Geospatial Education. In the last decade they have significantly lowered the barriers to the use of Geographic Information Science and Technology by the broader public and in particular by economically disadvantaged students and communities.

     
    Sexual Harassment and Bullying Policies in Academia
    9:55 AM - 11:35 AM
    Empire Room, Omni

    Universities and professional organizations vary widely in their sexual harassment policies and reporting procedures. This panel will discuss a change to the culture and climate in higher education to address and prevent harassment and bullying. Additionally, discussants will present their own perspectives about sexual harassment policy requirements and reporting to universities and/or organizations. There will be ample time for the members of the audience to engage the speakers in a dialogue aimed at identifying future priorities in sexual harassment policies and reporting.

    Sunday, April 7, 2019

    The Global Need for Science
    8:00 AM - 9:40 AM
    Senate Room, Omni