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Geography Faculty attend first World Human Geography Conference

Geography Faculty attend first World Human Geography Conference

Sponsored by the American Geographical Society ( and partners, the first annual World Human Geography Conference convened at Haskell Indian Nations University (, Lawrence , Kansas, September 14-16, 2011.  Dr. David Keeling, Geography and Geology Department Head, and Dr. John Dizgun, Kentucky Institute of International Studies, historian, and adjunct geography professor, presented research they conducted in Medellín, Colombia, With co-investigator Dr. Holli Drummond, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Keeling and Dizgun outlined the results of an ongoing analysis of development and change in Comuna 13, a neighborhood of Medellín long afflicted by poverty, drug violence, and social instability. 

Sponsored initially by the American Geographical Society’s (AGS) Bowman Expeditions and thereafter by a WKU Summer Research grant, Keeling, Drummond, and Dizgun have been examining how residents of Comuna 13 are adjusting to changing sociopolitical and economic conditions in Medellín. Drs Drummond and Dizgun conducted a detailed youth survey in 2009 in Comuna  13, in partnership with local community and educational organizations, to assess attitudes and perceptions among 9-18 year-old students about life in the Comuna.


The conference theme of “Communities and Ethics” drew attendees from government, military, business, and academic institutions representing several countries. Notables at the conference included: Dr. Lee Schwartz, Geographer of the United States, U.S. State Department; Brian McClendon, founder of Google Earth; Dr. Peter Herlihy, Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas and leader of the first AGS Bowman Expedition to Mexico (; Dr. Jerry Dobson, President of the AGS and Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas; Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Nations University; and Dr. Chris King, Command and General Staff College, U.S. Army, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  Representatives from the Russian Geographical Society, the MASTA Federation of Honduras, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Army Research Office, and multiple universities and organizations also participated in the conference.


Dr. Keeling was appointed to the AGS Bowman Expeditions Advisory Council, which is tasked with planning the future of the Bowman Expedition model and helping to arrange the 2nd annual and future WHG conferences.  The AGS Bowman Expedition to the U.S. Borderlands (Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America) is currently conducting research on participatory mapping, land use, and social change as part of its broader mission to promote human geography as a tool to better understand the world we live in.


For more information, contact David Keeling at (270) 745-4555.

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 Last Modified 3/6/17