Yi-Fu Tuan Lectures

Yi-Fu TuanThe Yi-Fu Lecture Series features a wide variety of U.S. and international guest lecturers from all geographic disciplines. Lecturers at these Friday seminars also often speak at brown-bag lunches, one-on-one student sessions, and breakfast meetings with student interest groups as part of their visit. Doctoral students are invited to present their final research. The lecture series was initiated by Dr. Tuan (pictured at right) and receives enthusiastic support as a department and campus tradition.

All lectures are presented on Friday at 3:30pm in Science Hall - Rm 180 unless otherwise noted. Alumni, friends and the public are always invited to attend.

Fall 2016 Lectures

National Geographic30 September – Faculty and Graduate Students Grant Session

  • National Geographic

In lieu of an Yi-Fu Tuan talk, National Geographic will be here to share current funding opportunities for research, conservation and exploration projects. Learn more...

Eric Carter7 October – The Health of the People: A History of Latin American Social Medicine

  • Eric Carter
  • Macalester College

This talk previews findings from a book project on the development of Latin American social medicine, supported by historical research in Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica. This project sheds light on the ideological roots of social medicine, traces the development of the health-related social sciences in Latin America, situates them in a dynamic geopolitical context, and explains how social medicine ideas translate into policy. This talk will focus particularly on analyzing Salvador Allende's 1939 book The Socio-Medical Reality of Chile to explain potential contributions of the study of Latin American social medicine to health geography and related fields.

Jessi Lehman14 October – The Ocean Archive: Querying the Geographies of History

  • Jessi Lehman
  • UW-Madison

The advent of the Anthropocene concept has prompted a fundamental question: how does the Earth remember? And what does the memory of the Earth have to say about humanity as a species, despite (or because) of its many differences and inequalities? The geologic archive has captured many geographers’ minds, but the ocean contains other possibilities for understanding the nature of planetary history. Postcolonial writers imagine the ocean as a collector of the histories, bodies, and ways of life that hegemonic historical narratives would rather forget. Scientists also understand the ocean as a kind of record(er), following materials or liquid formations through time to understand ocean dynamics and to trace the harmful impacts of substances such as radioactive isotopes and plastics. In this paper I build on these oddly resonant notions to consider the world ocean as a planetary archive that might prompt us to reassess the geographies of history.

Rich Schein21 October – Historical Geographies for the Present: Stories of Race in Everyday Landscapes

  • Rich Schein
  • University of Kentucky

This talk posits the cultural landscape as foundational to racial formation in the US, and suggests the potential to intervene through landscape in addressing racist practice as a “social wrong.” It will tell stories of particular contemporary landscapes to: first, illustrate landscape sedimentations and discursive continuities around racial themes in order to; second, address the potential of landscape to mediate social conflict before; ultimately, asking questions about who gets to tell landscape stories, how we tell them, who belongs, and what different questions we might ask if we listen to different voices. The talk moves between landscape as an object and landscape as a method for how we negotiate and live in the racialized world.

No photo available28 October – Social Media for Academics

  • John Lucas, Dominique Brossard, Kris Olds, Jack Williams, & Jacquelyn Gill
  • UW - Madison & University of Maine

A panel discussion on how academics can use social media to engage in broader public debates. Led by John Lucas (Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Communications), Dominique Brossard (Life Science Communications), Kris Olds (Geography), Jack Williams (Geography), and Jacquelyn Gill (University of Maine–School of Biology and Ecology).

Amy Myrbo4 November – Consequences of Elevated Sulfate Discharge to Fresh Surface Waters

  • Amy Myrbo
  • University of Minnesota

Sulfate is a relatively benign ion, but even low concentrations can lead to phytotoxic sulfide accumulation in sediment porewaters.  Sulfate reduction is often considered to be of minimal importance in freshwater systems, but can support "extra" mineralization of organic matter in anaerobic environments, with consequences for ecosystem health and stability.  Organic matter decomposition returns a number of compounds to the water column that would otherwise be sequestered in the sediments: nitrogen, phosphorous, and mercury; and generates dissolved organic carbon and alkalinity that can alter ecosystem structure.  This study is part of the State of Minnesota's investigation of the biogeochemistry behind the observed negative relationship between surface water sulfate and the distribution of wild rice, a culturally significant resource to many Native Americans, and Minnesota's state grain. 

Sheri Fritz18 November

  • Sheri Fritz
  • University of Nebraska



Carolyn Finney9 December

  • Carolyn Finney
  • University of Kentucky



Yi Fu Tuan lecture archive