Colloquium Schedule

Wed, May 3rd
Women Shall Lead Them: Islamic Reform 21st Century
Amina Wadud, Professor and International Consultant on Islam, Gender and Justice
4:00 pm
WT Young Auditorium

This lecture, delivered by one of the most Internationally recognized Islamic Feminists in the past few decades, will trace the Muslim Women's Movement from an inside personal-spiritual course to its global conditions and challenges and on towards a new paradigm changing the future.  Muslim women are creating more viable, necessary and creative reforms than any other sector of Islamic post-modernism.  The path has been rough, the challenges have been deep and yet, the rewards are unprecedented. Dr. Wadud will cover the rise of Islamic feminism and its direct relationship with both secular Muslim feminism and Political Islam.  It will feature analysis and experiences spanning 4 decades of scholarship and activism in more than 60 countries.  Islamic feminism is born out of this time and travel but it is still growing and its impact will continue the course towards an inevitable future of equality and justice for all.

Tuesday, April 12th
Phase Objects: Geography, Spatial Media and the Politics of Smart Devices
Dr. James Ash, Newcastle University
3:30 pm
Room 212 Whitehall Classroom Bldg

 In this paper I theorise how smart objects, understood as Internet connected and sensor-enabled devices, are altering users’ experience of their environment. Rather than networks connected by lines of transmission, smart objects generate phases, understood as space-times that modulate the spatio-temporal intelligibility of both humans and non-humans. Examining a range of objects and services from the Apple Watch to Nest Cam I suggest that the modulation of spatio-temporal intelligibility is partly shaped by the commercial logics of the industries that design and manufacture smart objects, but can also exceed them. In doing so, I suggest that the concept of phase is valuable to help us understand the emerging geographies of smart technology.

Dr. James Ash is a Geographer and senior Lecturer at Newcastle University. His research focuses on the cultures, economies and politics of digital interfaces and digital technology. He is currently leading an ESRC funded project on digital interfaces and debt (2016-2018) and is author of ’The Interface Envelope: Gaming, Technology, Power’ (Bloomsbury 2015) and 'Phase Media: Space, Time and the Politics of Smart Objects’ (Bloomsbury 2017, in press). You can find out more about his research at


Thursday, March 23rd
Water Resource Stewardship in the U.S. National Park Service
Dr. Ed Harvey, National Park Service
4:00 pm
Room 102 Minerals and Mining Building

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new bureau in the Department of the Interior. This “Organic Act” directed the Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." This conservation, enjoyment and protection mandate also applies to water resources within parks. Unlike most park resources, that are located largely within park boundaries, or are completely under the management control of the National Park Service, park water resource issues and management often involve greater challenges. These challenges arise from the fact that surface water and aquifer boundaries often extend beyond park boundaries and because the legal authority to allocate and manage water resources typically resides with the states. Thus, parks often need to consider resource issues at a larger landscape, or seascape scale, and manage collaboratively with neighbors and partners to protect, manage and restore water resources. In addition, water resource expertise is not always available within a park, resulting in the need to partner with other agencies, universities, friends groups, or regional and national offices. Lastly, many park water resource issues have broader legal, political, socioeconomic, and cultural implications requiring park managers to consider more than just the science alone when making a water resource management decision. The lecture, using a series of examples from various parks across the United States, will explore the process of how parks identify water resource needs, issues and concerns, and how they develop and apply the necessary scientific information needed to make water resource management decisions. Specific challenges to decision making and park water resource management will be presented and explored including trans-boundary issues, partnership building, scientific uncertainty, funding and personnel/expertise, and making science-based decisions that also appropriately consider the legal, political, socioeconomic, and cultural impacts of the decision.

Dr. Ed Harvey is supervisory hydrologist and chief of the U.S National Park Service (NPS) Water Resources Division (WRD) located in Fort Collins, Colorado. He received his B.S. in geology/geophysics from Olivet Nazarene University (1986), his M.S. in hydrogeochemistry from Purdue University (1990) and his Ph.D from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (1996). Immediately after graduation, Ed took a joint position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) where he was a research hydrogeologist with the Conservation and Survey Division (the state’s geologic and water survey) and a professor of hydrologic sciences with the School of Natural Resources (SNR). At UNL, Ed’s research focused on groundwater dependent ecosystems, groundwater-surface water interaction, and using geochemical and isotope applications methods to characterize regional groundwater flow systems. In January, 2013, Ed left his academic position to assume his current role as NPS WRD chief. WRD provides Park Service-wide leadership for the preservation, protection, and management of the water and aquatic resources, offers technical assistance to all 400+ national park units, leads and supports development of NPS water resource initiatives, guidelines, and policies and provides disciplinary and policy support to the Washington, DC offices and Park Service leadership staff.

For more information on the graduate program in Earth Surface Systems at UK:


Friday, March 3rd
Mapping the Relational Geographies of Lexington’s Housing Landscape
Dr. Taylor Shelton
3:30 pm
Room 114 Whitehall Classroom Building

Across the United States, there is growing awareness of the crucial role played by housing in reproducing structures of racial and class inequality. From gentrification to racial segregation to exploitative rental markets, the data demonstrate the ways that contemporary housing processes concentrate poverty and other social problems within certain neighborhoods. This presentation will document the changes in Lexington’s housing landscape over the past half century, with a particular eye towards demonstrating the fundamental connections and co-production of racially concentrated poverty and extreme affluence. Ultimately, this presentation will attempt to shed light on the limitations of using data and mapping in housing advocacy, and point towards alternative understandings of how these methods might be used to challenge the status quo.

Dr. Taylor Shelton is a visiting scholar in the Department of Geography and New Mappings Collaboratory at the University of Kentucky. Taylor earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in geography from UK before continuing on to earn a PhD from the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in 2015. Prior to returning to Lexington this year, Taylor worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Urban Innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research is situated at the intersection of critical GIS, digital and urban geographies, using the tools of GIS and big data to understand and rethink urban social and spatial inequalities.

Friday, Feb 10th
Natural History, Conservation Biology and Political Ecology at UK?—Bluegrass Versus Appalachia!
Dr. Julian Campbell
3:30 pm
Room 114 Whitehall Classroom Building

Natural History is the largely descriptive study of species, plus their ecologies, habitats and distributions. It has now dwindled at the University of Kentucky (UK) to only occasional progress, with just 0-2 theses or dissertations per year. Conservation Biology is the application of natural history and its ecological developments to guide conservation. There are 1-10 theses or dissertations per year with a significant component of this type. Political Ecology is the interaction of society and politics with ecology and conservation. Growing out of geography and human ecology, this nebulous field has exploded after the 1980s. Since 2011 there is an annual conference at UK (DOPE), organized mostly by graduate students of Geography, Anthropology and Philosophy. In Feb 2016, this conference included over 150 presentations, with speakers from across the USA and elsewhere. I suggest that the Political Ecology conference (which has been wonderful for sure) place a more focus on the problems within Kentucky. Conservation should become a central application of all three disciplines. I explore this problem here through comparison of challenges for conservation in Appalachian Kentucky versus the Bluegrass region. I make special reference to a controversial project in each case: Robinson Forest and Griffith Woods, both of which have involved UK.

Dr. Julian Campbell received his bachelors degree from Cambridge and a Masters of Science at the University of Wales.  He received his PhD at the University of Kentucky in 1980.  Dr. Campbell worked for almost 20 years for The Nature Conservancy in Kentucky.  He is now a private consultant on the environment.  His main interests are plant ecology and conservation, especially in east-central North America. He is involved in several horticultural projects on native plants, starting with work for UK in 1986 to collect material for the Arboretum on Alumni Drive. Currently, he is growing several local species for use in central Bluegrass. He also works with the New York Botanical Garden on basic taxonomy of ash trees in the face of threat from Emerald Ash Borer.  His goal is to advocate for more coordinated cooperation amongst plants-people, who historically tend to be loners and poorly organized, if at all, for political purposes.

Friday, Feb 3rd
Unmapped Woods: Exploring Appalachian Forests and Commons
Dr. Kathryn Newfont
University of Kentucky Department of History
3:30 pm
Room 114 Whitehall Classroom Building

This presentation will consider the many ways in which Appalachian forests, the most diverse temperate forests on earth, have challenged efforts to render them "knowable." Physical, biological, and historical factors have contributed layers of complexity to these landscapes and rendered them difficult to map, deed, list and catalog. Culture has added further layers of complexity, including a vibrant tradition of commons.The resulting matrix both puzzles and compels its most dedicated students, and offers insights useful far beyond the ridges.

Dr. Kathryn Newfont is an environmental historian with the University of Kentucky history department and Appalachian Studies program. Her first book, Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina, looked at wilderness, petroleum, and clearcut timber harvesting on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in the 1970s-1980s. It won the Appalachian Studies Association’s 2012 Weatherford Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. Her recent project, The Land Speaks: Voices from the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History, co-edited with Debbie Lee of the University of Washington, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (Fall 2017). She is currently researching the “Monongahela Case,” a landmark suit brought by West Virginians that changed U.S. forest management policy in the 1970s and continues to shape it the present day. Newfont has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of North Carolina, and the Appalachian College Association.

Friday, Jan 20th
Politics Below the Surface: A Political Ecology of Mineral Rights and Land Tenure Struggles in Appalachia and the Andes
Lindsay Shade, PhD Candidate
University of Kentucky Dept of Geography
3:30 pm
Room 114 Whitehall Classroom Building

This talk focuses how confusion and lack of access to information about subsurface property rights facilitates the rapid acquisition of rights by mining interests, leaving those who live 'above the surface' to contend with complicated corporate and bureaucratic apparatuses. It examines the first proposed state-run large scale mining project in Ecuador, believed to contain copper ores, and the natural gas hydrofracking industry in three counties in north central West Virginia. The comparison allows consideration of how subsurface governance patterns across legal and cultural systems contribute to the long-term persistence of absentee ownership and control over land in Ecuador and West Virginia, and likewise is implicated in larger scale violences and silences in resource conflicts.

Lindsay Shade is a political ecologist and legal geographer who works with groups and individuals who are directly impacted by extractive industries. Through their collaboration and support, she studies land tenure and mining rights with an emphasis on social and environmental justice issues in the Americas.

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