Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 11/02/16

NOV 16

Coffee Hour with Madhumita Dutta | Promoting public transportation | Immersive Virtual Reality


Clio Andris peeks out the doors of a Centre County Van dressed for Halloween as a taco.



Coffee Hour on November 4 with Madhumita Dutta “Telling life stories: Reflections on researching everyday lived experiences of work-life of women workers in Tamil Nadu, India”
This is a story about lives of young women who had come to work as factory workers in a small industrial town in southern Indian state of Tamilnadu. Traveling up and down to the factory everyday, donning their white aprons, swiping their IDs cards they entered the shop floor to become part of a global workforce. The trials and tribulations of the shop floor were part of their daily experiences. The assembly lines became sites of solidarities and friendships, submissions and subversions, discipline and rebellion. At end of the work shift, these bodies carried their world of work outside the factory into the homes and rented rooms. Their lives outside the factory deeply connected to the shop floor—materially, socially and emotionally. Through a process of conversations and narration of life stories, the young women reflect upon the social and economic conditions and processes that they experience and negotiate everyday at different spaces that they occupy as women and workers, waged and unwaged. This enables them in telling their stories with “an intimacy, complexity and force” (Pratt, 2000: 640), offering multiple views of factory workers’ experiences and dispelling stereotypes. I reflect on the process of doing research that evolved through this dialogic approach and a commitment towards “co-production of knowledge”(Nagar, 2013, 2016) and the challenges on the way.

Centre County vans dress up for Halloween
On Tuesday, October 25, the Centre County Board of Commissioners recognized Penn State Assistant Professor Clio Andris, director of the Friendly Cities Lab, and the Penn State student group STEMComm for winning a $5,000 Emerging Cities Champions grant from 880 Cities & the Knight Foundation for their proposal to promote local public transit by dressing up five Centre County Transportation vans for Halloween.

Students at several State College Area School District elementary schools submitted the designs for the mini-bus costumes, and winners from each school were chosen. The County and project participants also intend to enter one of the buses in the State College Halloween parade on October 30, 2016. The five vans drove around on Monday, October 31, 2016 dressed in their costumes.

Search underway for Earth Systems Ecology or Ecohydrology faculty position
The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University invites applicants for a Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Earth Systems Ecology or Ecohydrology. This position could include the study of interactions among terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems, climate/environmental change, the water cycle, humans, land use/land cover change, energy-related processes and biogeochemical cycling at landscape, regional, or global scales in the contemporary, prehistoric, or deep time periods. The successful candidate would have strengths in areas such as Earth system modeling, spatially explicit vegetation modeling, remote sensing, networked observations, model-data synthesis, biogeochemical cycles (e.g., C, N, and water), and coupled natural and human systems. Exemplary candidates at a higher rank will be considered.

Project explores how virtual reality can help students learn
Any trekkie knows what the fictional holodeck is; a virtual reality space where people can experience artificial real or imaginary environments and situations for recreation, training, or solving problems.  At Penn State, researchers will be offering prototype versions of immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) lessons in three courses this fall and spring to engage students in the advantages and promises that such experiential learning offers.

A multi-disciplinary research team, led by Alexander Klippel, associate professor of geography, including members from the departments of Geography and Geosciences, the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, and the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute received a Research Initiation Grant from Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL). Their proposal is titled “Immersive Virtual Reality (iVR): The Printing Press of the 21st Century and How Learning About Place and Space will Never be the Same.”


The Contributions of Places to Metropolitan Ethnoracial Diversity and Segregation: Decomposing Change Across Space and Time
By Fowler, Christopher S. and Lee, Barrett A. and Matthews, Stephen A.
In Demography
doi: 10.1007/s13524-016-0517-3
Although the trend toward greater ethnoracial diversity in the United States has been documented at a variety of geographic scales, most research tracks diversity one scale at a time. Our study bridges scales, asking how the diversity and segregation patterns of metropolitan areas are influenced by shifts in the racial/ethnic composition of their constituent places. Drawing on 1980–2010 decennial census data, we use a new visual tool to compare the distributions of place diversity for 50 U.S. metro areas over three decades. We also undertake a decomposition analysis of segregation within these areas to evaluate hypotheses about the roles of different types of places in ethnoracial change. The decomposition indicates that although principal cities continue to shape the overall diversity of metro areas, their relative impact has declined since 1980. Inner suburbs have experienced substantial increases in diversity during the same period. Places with large white majorities now contribute more to overall metropolitan diversity than in the past. In contrast, majority black and majority Hispanic places contribute less to metropolitan diversity than in the past. The complexity of the patterns we observe is underscored through an inspection of two featured metropolises: Chicago and Dallas.