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Glenda Laws Award

Deadline: December 31, yearly

The Glenda Laws Award is administered by the American Association of Geographers and endorsed by members of the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Institute of British Geographers. The annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to geographic research on social issues. This award is named in memory of Glenda Laws—a geographer who brought energy and enthusiasm to her work on issues of social justice and social policy. All early to mid-career scholars involved in geographic research on one or more social issues will be eligible for this award. Nominations should include two letters of recommendation from scholars or members of community organizations familiar with the research upon which the nomination is based, a curriculum vitae, and a scholarly paper based on original research.
The award is presented at the Awards Luncheon at the AAG Annual Meeting. In addition, the Awardee(s) will be invited to contribute a publication to Social and Cultural Geography that uses their scholarship and experiences to offer perspectives on advancing geographic research on social issues, social justice, and social policy.

Applications: Complete nominations consist of:

  • A cover letter detailing outstanding contributions to geographic research on social issues application;
  • The nominee's current CV that identifies at least one scholarly paper based on original research; and
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Please gather all required supporting documents before completing the online Application Form at this link. The Application Form will require you to upload all supporting documents before being able to complete your submission. You cannot save a partially completed form and return to it later, so it is important to have all materials ready before accessing the online Application Form. For questions or difficulties, please contact or call the AAG at 202-234-1450. Alternatively, nine paper copies of the completed application can be sent to: ATTN: AAG Glenda Laws Award, Association of American Geographers, 1710 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009-3198.
As with all AAG awards, the Award Committee may decline to make an award in any given year.

 Previous Awardees  


2021 Jen (Jack) Gieseking, University of Kentucky, for scholarship that combines critical urban theory, GIS, and digital humanities to study queer, feminist, and trans geographies.

2021 Pavithra Vasudevan, University of Texas at Austin for her feminist-inspired, participatory action research calling attention to environmental racism, and also for her inspirational pedagogy.

2020 Martina Angela Caretta, Lund University,  works on the human-environment interactions of women and water, but that does not adequately describe the depth, breadth or impact of her work. She has been asked to serve as a Coordinating Lead Author of the 6th UN Intergovernmental Panel on the Climate Change Assessment Report. Caretta is as dynamic a teacher as she is a researcher. 

2018 Sharlene Mollett from the University of Toronto Scarborough is recognized for her outstanding work as a critical social geographer, who has made a significant impact on feminist political ecologies. She has been influential in establishing the study of postcolonial intersectionality through her work on Latin America. Dr. Mollett intends to inspire justice-orienhted debates in geography and contribute to on-the-ground change in development practice.

2017 Sarah Hunt from the University of British Columbia is recognized for her committment to knowledge mobiliztion, social justice, and super scholarship.  She explores geographies of resistance  and resurgence in the intimate, everyday relations of indigenous people and communities. Dr. Hunt's writing has been published in numerous books and scjholarly jourbals, as well as in popular media outlets such as mediaINDIGENA,, and Op Eds for The Globe and Mail and CBC Aboriginal.


2015 Joshua Inwood from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for signifiicantly advancing the ideas of social justice, anti-racism, and peace from a geographic perspective. Critical pedagogy and the fierce urgency of now: opening up space for critical reflections on the U.S. civil rights movement

2014 Juanita Sundberg from the University of British Columbia for her commitment to social justice, which is deeply embedded in both her teaching and scholarship.

2012 Minelle Mahtani, University of Toronto for her outstanding research in the area of minority representation in geography, her contributions to the Geography Faculty Development Alliance and her use of multimedia to enhance diversity initiatives, demonstrating her oustanding efforts to encourage a more diverse discipline. Dr. Mahtani initiated a tradition, together with the editors of Social & Cultural Geography for an article celebrating the AAG Glenda Laws Awardee.  Her inaugural article citation is: Minelle Mahtani (2014) Toxic geographies: absences in critical race thought and practice in social and cultural geography, Social & Cultural Geography, 15:4, 359-367, DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.888297

2010 Nik Heynen, University of Georgia for his work which has helped to define and advance the academic agenda in geography and cognate disciplines in a number of areas, particularly related to hunger, environmental justice, globalization, and emancipatory social struggles.

2007 James Tyner, Kent State University for his “long-standing and steadfast commitment in research and teaching to social justice,” including work on the geographies of race, religion, economics and labor, geopolitics and the morality of war

2006 Michael Brown, University of Washington for his research focusing on the intersection of political, cultural, urban and health geographies, and particularly for his leadership in geographies of sexuality and the body.

2005 Karen Bakker, University of British Columbia for her uncompromising commitment to advance understandings of the nature of governance, the significance of natural resources, and the importance of distributive justice in contemporary societies.

2004 Vincent Del Casino Jr., California State University, Long Beach,  for his passionate commitment to ease the suffering of people with AIDS and HIV and to help in the prevention of these diseases, especially in marginalized and vulnerable communities.

  Glenda Laws, Photo courtesy Stephen Matthews.

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