Michael Brown and Larry Knopp Awarded NSF Grant

Professor Michael Brown (UW-Seattle Department of Geography) and Professor Larry Knopp (UW-Tacoma Director of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences) have been awarded a 3-year, $250,000 National Science Foundation grant to conduct a study titled “Urban Governmentalities in Local-State Relations with a Marginalized Population”.  The project explores the roles of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and the Washington State Liquor Control Board in the regulation and control of male homosexuality between 1945-1982 and will employ two graduate students for seven quarters over three academic years.

More Interesting Talks around UW this Week

As always, there are plenty of talks around campus this week that may be of interest to Geographers. Interested in gender, race and care work; the construction of truth claims about the social and cultural past through archaeology; mental health in the US; ocean acidification; or recent revolutionary  movements in the Middle East? If so, then check out some of these great talks!

“Forced to Care: Race, Gender and the Obligation to Care”
WHEN: Tuesday, February 15 at 6:30 pm
WHERE: 120 Kane Hall
SPEAKER: Evelyn Nakano Glenn, professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley
MORE INFORMATION & RSVP: Find out more and RSVP here

“Who Owns the Past?: Stewardship and Collaborative practice in Archaeology”
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16, from 12:30 – 1:20 pm
WHERE: 220 Odegaard Undergraduate Library
SPEAKER: Alison Wylie, Department of Philosophy
OTHER INFORMATION: This is a part of Research Exposed!, a series of presentations on current UW research that can also be taken for credit.

“Transforming the American Conversation about Mental Health”
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16 at 5:30 pm
SPEAKER: Jennifer Stuber, University of Washington, Social Work
OTHER INFORMATION: This is part of the “Unspeakable: Disability History, Identity, and Rights” film & lecture series.
REGISTRATION: This is event is co-hosted by the School of Social Work and Department of Communication. Registration required

“Gender Stereotypes – How They Discourage Unconventional Career Choices and Limit Opportunities”
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm
WHERE: 120 Kane
SPEAKERS: Sapna Cheryan, Assistant Professor, UW Department of Psychology; Alice Eagly, Professor of Social Psychology, Northwestern University Department of Psychology
OTHER INFORMATION: Women continue to be underrepresented in the sciences and engineering and in leadership positions within politics and business despite considerable gains made in other areas over the last few decades. Drs. Cheryan and Eagly examine the social and structural obstacles that contribute to this underrepresentation. They also will share promising individual strategies and institutional interventions that promote gender equality in traditionally male-dominated domains.
REGISTRATION: Please RSVP for this event

“Can an Acerbic Congress Deal with Acidic Oceans?”
WHEN: Thursday, February 17 at 4:30 pm
WHERE: 102 Fishery Sciences
SPEAKER: Brain Baird, U.S. Congressman
DETAILS: Ocean acidification has been called “the other CO2” problem because it gets far less attention than climate change but may be even more destructive to the planet. Congressman Brian Baird, former chair of the House Science and Technology’s subcommittee on Energy and Environment, and author of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009, will discuss the environmental implications of ocean acidification and the policy and political demands of meeting this challenge. This issue is particularly acute for our region, where the latest research has shown acidification levels much higher than had been predicted and where adverse environmental impacts are already being observed.
OTHER INFORMATION: This is a part of the Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries

“Revolt in the Arab World: Activists from Egypt, Tunisia & Palestine Speak Out “
WHEN: Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 pm
WHERE: 211 Smith
SPEAKERS: Tarek Dawoud, Egyptian activist and President of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)- Washington; Amin Odeh, member of Voices of Palestine & Arab American Community Coalition; Zied Mhirsi, eyewitness and participant in the Tunisian revolution (skyping live from Tunisia)
OTHER INFORMATION: Celebrate the first victory of the Egyptian revolution and join this panel of activists from the Middle East in a discussion about the wave of revolution sweeping the Middle East and what lies ahead.

Colloquium: Ron Smith on Gaza and the Occupation of the West Bank

This Friday, February 18th, Ron Smith will present a talk entitled “Processing a Peace and Strangling a Nation: The Siege on Gaza and the Occupation of the West Bank. The talk will take place in Smith 304 at 3:30, with a reception to follow in Smith 409. An abstract of the talk can be found below.

The Egyptian revolution has brought renewed attention to the effects of local, regional, and US foreign policy in the middle east. While commentators still mobilize geopolitical visions of the middle east, featuring besieged democracies and islamist terrorists held in check only by tyrannical regimes, there is a new generation of geographers that are taking up the call to challenge this conventional view. Palestine in particular represents a failure of the geopolitical imagination, where a status quo that is untenable for the occupied population is maintained through appeals to multiple moribund peace processes to satisfy the international community. Mobilizing approaches of critical geopolitics, this paper examines the very local and personal impacts of Israeli occupation policy on the people of the Gaza Strip. Contributing to Sara Roy’s theoretical analysis of the processes of de-development, this presentation explores the political economy of the siege through interviews, sketch maps, and critical analysis. This paper is part of a larger project of qualitative research conducted over 5 years with over 1 year of total field work that investigates microgeographies of occupation. Processing a Peace presents analysis of the Gazan borders as a particular site of social control, a microgeography of incarceration in its own right, with dramatic effects that reverberate throughout Palestinian society, and the region as a whole.

RON SMITH is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington in the Department of Geography. He has conducted qualitative research in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the past five years. Before pursing his doctorate in Geography, he worked as a documentary film maker and journalist throughout Latin America. His primary research interests revolve around contemporary political geographies of colonialism and diverse forms of local and transnational social organizing and resistance.

Geographic Spread of Pathogens and Molecular Techniques

Until recently, the only ways to trace the spread of disease have been to 1) identify the pathogen microscopically and classify it on the basis of appearance (phenotypically) or 2) identify the occurrence of resulting disease based upon secondary reports, or upon “syndromic surveillance”–the appearance of signs and symptoms that are characteristic of a particular disease.

A number of molecular epidemiologists and a few geographers have been using molecular techniques and genomic sequencing to trace the spread of pathogens (disease causing microbes) based upon characteristic genomic markers, or upon identification of identical genotypic strains. My team and I are doing this with tuberculosis transmission chains in Ghana. In the January 28th edition of Science,
Croucher and his group report on the use of such techniques to identify the spread and evolution of a particularly virulent strain of one of the major causes of bacterial pneumonia, which causes significant morbidity and mortality. The bacterium, formally called Streptococcus pneuomoniae, and popularly called pneumococcus, is the bacterium covered by the “pneumonia shot” that is recommended for adults >/= 65 years old. Commenting on the article, Enright and Spratt (p. 407) emphasize the importance of using molecular techniques for understanding spatial spread, as well as genomic evolution, particularly in rapidly evolving pathogens.

One might imagine geography departments with labs that have the capability for DNA or RNA sequencing, or increasing collaboration between “epidemiologic geographers,” molecular epidemiologists, and genome scientists, in order to synthesize those with interests in globalization, transportation, settlement patterns, and spread of pathogens.