Since it considers the challenges that people face over time in physical space, geography is a key approach to environmental justice and injustice. Geography is a broad academic disipline. Its groupings of subfields include society and space (including cities and rural areas); society and environment (including natural and technological hazards); geographic information science and cartography; and geographies of human-influenced physical systems, including ecology, hydrology, and geomorphology. Unfortunately, Harvard closed its geography department in 1948 (Article by Neil Smith). Dartmouth is the only Ivy League school with a geography department. (Dartmouth geography.)
Geography thrives in other universities. U.S. doctoral programs that have consistently ranked in the top 15 in the last quarter century include Arizona State, Berkeley, Colorado, Clark, Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA, Santa Barbara, and Wisconsin. But rankings (e.g., NRC Rankings) are somewhat arbitrary, especially those compiled by one person (as with Holman’s 2017 ranking), and finding good mentors to teach your topic is more important.
The American Association of Geographers (AAG) is the U.S., Canada, and Americas-based association of academic and professional geographers. It is not to be confused with the popular educational, grant-making, publishing, and filmmaking organization, the National Geographic Society. The AAG publishes an annual Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas. The federally-funded U.S. National Science Foundation sponsors resarch in Human-Environment and Geographical Sciences.
Interestingly, the roots and current practice of the subdiscipline of geographic information science (GIS) are strong at Harvard, even without a geography department. ESRI, the producer of ArcGIS, the dominant geographic information system in the United States, followed on work in the 1960’s and ‘70’s at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. And Harvard established a Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) in 2006, with affiliates from throughout the various schools and departments of Harvard. There are scholars at Harvard who work with geographers and sometimes even publish in the discipline of geography. However, there is no Harvard center for the non-GIS branches of the discipline of geography. On the plus side, Harvard has a stunningly good map library.
- A reading list of work by Black geographers compiled by the University of British Columbia geography department
- Black Geographers, a UK-based online community
- A Celebration of Black Geographers by the American Geographical Society.
- Black Geographers Past, Present, and Future, from the Royal Geographical Society
- An article on the work of Latinx geographers, in the journal Society and Space.
Geographical Societies. Listed here so interested scholars can locate geographical scholars and departments:
International Geographical Union
- American Association of Geographers (AAG)
- Selected Related Specialty Groups of the AAG:
- Asian Geography, a specialty group of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)
- Black Geographies, a specialty group of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)
- Latinx Geographies, a specialty group of the AAG
- Ethnic Geography, a specialty group of the AAG
- The Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers (RGS/IBG)
- A list of geographical organizations in the United States and around the world
- The International Geographical Union
Coming to terms with "scientific" racism in geography's past: It should be noted that along with most social sciences and many other academic pursuits, geography has its own egregious history of establishing and supporting racism with its work. Harvard LIbrary has a guide to the history of scientific racism. Here are some examples from geography. The first two outline and criticize examples. The third is a primary source written in the era.
- Ashutosh, I. (2018). Mapping race and environment: Geography’s entanglements with Aryanism. Journal of Historical Geography, 62, 15–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2018.02.018
- Herwig, Holger H. “Geopolitik: Haushofer, Hitler and Lebensraum.” Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 22, no. 2-3, 1999, pp. 218–241. [Depending on which browser you use, links may work better with an "incognito" or private browsing mode.]
- Huntington, E. (1915). Civilization and Climate. Yale University Press.