Welcome to the website 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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2016 Board Election Biographies

Please review the following Board election biographies.


Chris Laingen

Dr. Laingen is an associate professor of geography at Eastern Illinois University.  He received his BS and MS degrees in geography from South Dakota State University (2001 and 2003) and a PhD from Kansas State University (2009).  Dr. Laingen has been a member of the AAG since 1999, at which time he joined the Contemporary Agriculture and Rural Land Use (CARLU) Specialty Group and served a term as a student representative.  More recently he has been active in the Rural Geography Specialty Group, in particular serving as the Awards Committee Chair and West Lakes Regional Representative since 2013.  Dr. Laingen’s research involves assessing multi-decadal trends of rural and agricultural land use change in the conterminous U.S. and describing what causes them.  He relies highly upon land use and land cover change data products derived from remotely-sensed satellite imagery, as well as more traditional types of data such as the USDA’s Census of Agriculture.


Middle States/Mid-Atlantic Division

William Wetherholt

Mr. Wetherholt is a Ph.D. candidate at Kansas State University, and is pleased to announce that he has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at Frostburg State University beginning in August.  Mr. Wehterholt has enjoyed serving as a student representative for the RGSG, and with his new position in the mountains of Western Maryland, will be well-situated to contribute to the efforts of the RGSG in the Middle States and Mid-Atlantic regions.  Because of this, he would greatly appreciate consideration for the specialty group’s regional director position.  Mr. Wetherholt’s interests are in rural population decline, place attachment, critical cartography, and the privacy implications inherent in geospatial technologies. He is looking forward to turning his attention towards the challenges in Appalachia.  Whether in an officer position or simply as a member, he is enthusiastic to continue his involvement with the Rural Geography Specialty Group.

Southeast Division

Larry Kleitches

Dr. Larry Kleitches is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at Georgia State University.  He received bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and completed a doctorate in geographic education at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in 2013.  Dr. Kleitches is a human geomorphologist investigating the impact of human intent and political action upon the landscape.  How humans have altered nature, and how nature has altered us, requires moving beyond microscopes to explore cultural, economic, historical, and political purposes. This is vital because today there are a variety of political bodies around the world demanding clean, reliable, and secure water supplies while dealing with jurisdictional boundaries and mismatched intentions.


Lisa Powell

Lisa J. Powell is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Agriburban Research Centre, jointly appointed at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, and the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of the Fraser Valley.  She is originally from Kentucky, and her work focuses on land use conflicts, agriculture, natural resources extraction, and pumpkins.  Dr. Powell would love to have the opportunity to wave The Maple Leaf and continue to work on communications for the RGSG.


Kathryn Bills

No biography provided

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~Communications Team~

The RGSG Communications team is Allison Brown, Lisa Powell and Ryan Bergstrom. If you are interested in volunteering for this team, please contact the chair, Allison at broccoli1313  at – yahoo.com

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New and Continuing Board Members for AAG Rural Geography

New and Continuing Board Members from the 2015 Election:

Secretary/Treasurer: Dawn M. Drake
Director at Large: Allison Brown
West Lakes Director: Chris Laingen
Pacific Coast Director: Gina Thornburg
Student Representative: Sarah Mason


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Candidates for the 2015 Election to the Board of Directors

Please follow this link for bios of candidates: https://rgsg.wordpress.com/2015-election-for-board-of-directors/

Electronic Ballots to Follow!

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Spring 2015 Newsletter

Please enjoy the RGSG Spring 2015 Newsletter: https://rgsg.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/rgsg_spring2015vfinal.pdf

which contains a Quickguide to RGSG sponsored sessions at the upcoming AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago, board election information, U.S. delegates to the Rural Geography Quad Meeting, Networking Update, Humboldt State geographers in the news, recent publications highlighting Rural Geography and Gender, and upcoming conferences and CFPs.

2015 research highlights include:

Michele Bolduc – Navigating the Changing Immigrant Health Care Landscape in Immokalee, Florida

Bill Wetherholt – Exploring Place Attachment in Kansas’ Central Great Plains

Sophie Moore – Ethnographic Fieldwork with the Peasants’ Movement of Papaye (MPP) in Central Haiti

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2015 Awards – Redd Center for Western Studies

The Charles Redd Center for Western Studies is pleased to announce multiple awards for 2015 that are available for scholars conducting research related to Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, or/and Wyoming. Please see the descriptions below. Follow the link to https://reddcenter.byu.edu/Pages/Apply-for-an-Award.aspxfor further information and application instructions.  Applications for 2015 are due by 11:59 p.m. MST on March 15.

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Call for Participation: Quadrennial

Global Challenges and Rural Responses

The Eighth Quadrennial Conference of British,

Canadian, and American Rural Geographers
2015 Swansea – Aberystwyth

July 6-12, 2015

For the full announcement, please go to: https://rgsg.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/2015-quadrennial-call-for-applications.pdf

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