Prospective students entering as part of the Fall 2015 cohort will have the opportunity to apply directly to the PhD program without first attaining a Master's degree. More details here.

Welcome New GES Faculty Members!

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The Department of Geography, Environment and Society welcomes its newest faculty members, Assistant Professors Nikhil Anand and Daniel Griffin.


Nikhil Anand theorizes the dynamic social and environmental processes that form cities and states in the global South. Drawing on new approaches in urban geography, cultural anthropology and political ecology, his current project focuses on the production and maintenance of hydraulic infrastructures, and the social and environmental relations that they entail. Framed by popular and scholarly anxieties about the burgeoning cities of the global South on one hand, and the uncertain futures of water resources on the other, his recently submitted book manuscript, Infrapolitics: The Social Life of Water in Mumbai, is an ethnographic account of how urban water is made, moved, and subsequently delivered to marginalized residents in one of the world's largest cities. His new research follows water to new locations to theorize the political work of uncertainty and disgust in everyday life. He plans to teach courses on cities and urbanization, political ecology, the developmental state, and infrastructure.


Daniel Griffin is a biophysical geographer with interests in climate science, water resource issues, environmental dynamics and natural areas conservation. His research is largely focused on paleoclimatology, which is the study of natural climate variability from environmental proxy data. Dan is a field scientist with over fifteen years of experience developing and interpreting tree-ring records. He is now the third Geography faculty member at the UMN Center for Dendrochronology. Dan's current work is focused on hydroclimatic change and variability in places like California, the American Southwest, and Guatemala. A recipient of the NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dan was previously appointed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dan is now affiliated with the University Honors Program , and is currently teaching an honors freshman course in biogeography. In coming semesters, Dan plans to offer upper-division courses in climatology and conservation of natural resources.

Please extend your Congratulations to Michael Southwell, a Geography-Spanish/Portuguese double major and our very own Geography Peer Advisor!


Michael Southwell was awarded the prestigious Foreign Language & Advanced Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. The FLAS Fellowship will support Michael's advanced study of the Portuguese language and further study of Southern Africa.

For more information about the FLAS fellowship program:

Welcome to the new GES graduate students

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Today in Science!

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Happy News! Science just published an article by new GES faculty Dan Griffin and his colleagues at UT Austin, Woods Hole, the Swiss Forest Research Institute, and several others. The core of the study uses a wonderful set of tree-ring records to understand how upwelling off the California coast has behaved during the last several centuries.

More information below. Congratulations Dan!

Six centuries of variability and extremes in a coupled marine-terrestrial ecosystem

Emeritus Professor Joe Schwartzberg in the News!

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Emeritus Professor Joe Schwartzberg is featured in a MinnPost article by Eric Black titled "U.N. doesn't work, and a U of M professor has a plan to fix it." The article discusses structural problems at the U.N. and some of the solutions Professor Schwartzberg offers in his new book Transforming the United Nations System.

from the article "... Schwartzberg has outlined a set of changes in {U.N.} power arrangements that, he writes, "if adopted, would help remedy, those deficiencies" in the U.N. structure that undermine the credibility and therefore the power of the world body."

Read the entire MinnPost article here.


Congratulations Dinesh!


Dr. Dinesh Paudel (PhD '12), presently Post-Doctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, has accepted a tenure-track position at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He will be joining them as Assistant Professor in the Department of Sustainable Development.

Congratulations Omar!
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Dr. Omar Tesdell (PhD '13), until recently Arab Council of Social Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellow at Birzeit University, has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in Geography at Birzeit.

Song of Our Warming Planet

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Dan Crawford, an undergraduate who has worked with Geography Professor Scott St. George and School of Music staff member Michael Duffy, has created a musical score based on a set of data showing the rise in the planet's temperature over time. Since its release in July 2013, the video highlighting Dan's composition ( has been viewed more than 130,000 times in 140+ countries. His performance has also been the focus of stories featured by a long list of media outlets, including Popular Science, Minnesota Public Radio, the Weather Channel, Slate (twice) and the New York Times (three times).

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Dan and Scott St. George will be giving a public lecture to discuss his composition (and the reaction it has received) at UMN's Institute on the Environment.

'Resonate! How 90 Seconds of Cello Music Is Helping People Connect With Climate Science'
November 20 at noon
IonE Seminar Room R380,
Learning & Environmental Sciences Bldg., St. Paul

New Faculty in GES!

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The Department of Geography, Environment and Society welcomes its newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Kate Derickson. Kate joined the faculty in late August and is currently teaching a Freshman Seminar titled Social Justice and the City.

Kate earned a dual PhD in Geography and Women's Studies from Penn State in 2011 (dissertation title: The cultural politics of neoliberal regulation in post-Katrina Mississippi). She was awarded the Urban Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship in Urban Political Economy at the University of Glasgow from 2010 - 2011, and an assistant professor in Geosciences at Georgia State University from 2011 - 2013. Kate's research explores the intersections of politics, difference, political economy, and the ethical practice of academic research. She has worked with communities in coastal Mississippi, West Atlanta, and the Govan neighborhood of Glasgow, Scotland.

Kate's office is 435 Social Science Building. Stop by and say hi!