Welcome to the new home of the Rural Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. Click on the menu items above or the links to the right to explore both the history and current efforts of the group.

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Candidate Biographies for the 2014 Elections to the RGSG Board of Directors

For RGSG candidate biographies, please go to: http://rgsg.wordpress.com/about/2014-elections-to-the-board-of-directors/

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Quick Guide to RGSG Sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting in Tampa

Quick Guide AAG Annual Meeting 2014 Thank you Jesse Abrams for putting this together.

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Spring 2014 Newsletter now available

Spring 2014 Newsletter available now including revised bylaws for review, upcoming elections and nominations of new board members, research highlights, publications, notable news, a guide of RGSG sessions at the Tampa AAG and more…

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Please share your news for the upcoming Spring 2014 RGSG Newsletter

In order to have a fresh newsletter ready before the next Annual Meeting in Tampa, please send me (m.a.lelea@ditsl.org) updates to share in the next Rural Geography Specialty Group Newsletter by March 9, 2014.

examples to share:
-photographs from your fieldwork with a caption
-publications, grants, recent hires
-recent publications that you recommend
-rural geographers in the news, community connections
-relevant news from your department, AAG Division etc.
-recommendations for a research highlight
-announcements related to the upcoming AAG Annual Meeting

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IGU Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems

The 22nd Annual Colloquium of the Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems, will be held in Romania during 24 August – 3 September 2014. For more information, http://rgsg.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/csrs_firstcircular2014romania.pdf

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Call For Abstracts:PECSRL 2014, Göteborg, Sweden: Tourism and Recreation Drives Rural Economies Whilst Also Driving Rural Conservation.

Historically, access to the rural landscape was limited to either those that worked the land or those that were born into it, whether gentry or peasant. In Europe, rural lands were set aside for recreational use by the gentry, such as hunting, whereas in the USA rural lands were seen as the drivers of a distinct culture capable of comparing to the rich cultures of Europe. These lands in the USA became protected areas that should be open for ‘public resort and recreation’, and with the emergence of the railways both Europe and the USA opened up rural landscapes to mass tourism. Initially these were the destinations for the wealthy middle classes from the cities and on a global basis rural communities started to develop on the back of this tourism growth. This is a shift away from agriculture and rural industry, towards the service sector economies, driven by recreation and tourism.

As a consequence, rural tourism has grown and is now synonymous with nature tourism. Many rural areas have diversified to cater for tourism and recreation and in so doing countries around the World enhance economic benefits from rural tourism. Some third world countries have become very dependent on rural tourism to assist economic survival for their communities. However, on a more global scale, the role of tourism has been to develop these economies whilst at the same time framework around strong conservation policies that could be termed as Balanced Business, which has derived from ecological modernization. It is thus tourism itself that is actually driving conservation and any managed nature is managed to provide a harmonious co-existence process between corporate actions and conservation. Tourism and recreation drivers in the rural landscape represent economic growth sitting alongside environmental policies, whereby considerate actions are dictated by a societal requirement.

This session aims to examine the important position that stakeholders have in driving forward economic growth whilst maintaining rural identity and real countryside. It will be important to discuss the past, current and future co-existence processes between tourism, recreation and rural landscapes.

If you would like to submit an abstract for  a presentation at this session please go to: http://www.pecsrl2014.com/abstracts.html for further details or email the organisers as below.

Session organizers:
Richard Stones – University of Exeter, UK
Andreas Skriver Hansen – University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Contact corresponding organizer:

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Job Announcement: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow – Transdisciplinary approaches and participatory action research to improve food security

Call for Applications

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Transdisciplinary approaches and participatory action research to improve food security in Tanzania with a focus on gender and other socio-cultural factors

Review of applications will begin December 15th, 2013. Open until filled.


The German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL) is a non-profit limited liability company (GmbH), at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences of the University of Kassel, Witzenhausen. DITSL conducts research on agricultural systems as human activity systems following an inter- and transdisciplinary social-ecological approach. Our emphasis is on the facilitation of knowledge transformation through collaborative processes.

We are looking for a dynamic, highly motivated and innovative scientist for a Post-Doctoral research position with DITSL. The position is part of a German-Tanzanian research partnership, ‘Innovating strategies to safeguard food security using technology and knowledge transfer: A people-centred approach (Trans-SEC)’. The goal of Trans-SEC is to identify promising innovations along local and regional food value chains, test and adjust them to site-specific, sustainable settings and tailor these concepts for national outreach. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the initiative,Securing the Global Food Supply – GlobE’.

In the frame of Trans-SEC, DITSL leads the analysis of social, political, cultural and gender-specific factors influencing smallholder farmers’ decision-making regarding adoption of innovations in different agro-ecological zones in Tanzania. The aim is to develop a methodology that allows for transdisciplinary knowledge integration through a participatory research process in order to identify feasible innovations to enhance food security. This may include scenario analysis with role-playing games, semi-quantitative actor-based modeling, and other approaches.


The Post Doc will:

-          lead research activities in Tanzania and is expected to conduct field research for about 3-4 months per year,

-          advance methodology relevant to the project (participatory action research, transdisciplinary research)

-          contribute to capacity building through training of PhD and MSc students,

-          support project management (financial, logistic, etc.),

-          coordinate research activities with other partners in the Trans-SEC project,

-          write reports on gender and social differentiation in food value chains,

-          present outcomes of the research at international conferences,

-          contribute to and write scholarly publications.

This is a 2.5 year position with possibility of extension. It is 80% time, in the TV_L 13 pay group. The start date is February 1st, 2014 (negotiable). The project contains research funds to pursue extended empirical research abroad.

Qualifications of the applicant:

-          PhD in agricultural/rural -sociology, -economics, -development or -system science, human geography, organizational behavior, anthropology or related discipline.

-          Strong interest in methodology with experience in one of the following: community based action research, participatory research, actor network analysis, stakeholder analysis.

-          Interest and experience in working with societal stakeholders in Tanzania and with scientists of other disciplines.

-          Fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge of German and/or Kiswahili is an asset.

-          Very good writing skills, team work orientation and good communication skills.


DITSL is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, disability or age.

Application documents:

-          Letter of motivation

-          Curriculum Vitae

-          Publication list

-          Summary of PhD dissertation

-          Copies of relevant certificates

-          Contact details of 2-3 referees


Please submit these documents attached as a single PDF file by email with the subject line ‘Trans-SEC Post Doc Application’ to PD Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann (b.kaufmann@ditsl.org).


If you have questions regarding the position, contact:

PD Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann,

DITSL GmbH Witzenhausen, Faculty of Organic Agriculture, University of Kassel

Steinstrasse 19, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany

+49 (0)55426070, b.kaufmann@ditsl.org


DITSL website: http://www.ditsl.org

Trans-SEC Project website: http://project2.zalf.de/trans-sec/public/

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