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Research News

Department of Geography: Achievements June 2011 – April 2012

Posted Mar. 27, 2012

Social Science Research

Recent research activity in the social sciences conducted by Department of Geography faculty members between June 2011 and March 2012 includes seven presentations.  

David Kaplan   

Kaplan, David. 2011. Visiting Chair of Geopolitics at the Institute of French Geopolitics at the University of Paris 8.

  • France and particularly Paris have experienced tremendous waves of immigration from several sources, such that the fabric of the cities has been completely transformed.  The contentious nature of this new ethnic geography was widely publicized with the riots which erupted in some Parisian suburbs in summer 2005, but tensions are always simmering below the surface.  Dr. Kaplan spent the spring semester living with a family in Paris's most diverse neighborhood, known as the Goutte d'Or, which includes an exceptionally high number of immigrants from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa.  While this neighborhood is poor, it is exceptionally busy with small shops and street vendors.  In keeping with accepted geographical field practices, Dr. Kaplan inventoried the variety of businesses and land uses in the Goutte d'Or and established here the existence of true ethnic based economies.  In addition, extensive interviews were conducted with the merchants along three specific corridors in order to assess the nature of the business, the employees, clientele and elements of change.  This research is now being prepared for publication as articles and part of a book.
  • Dr. Kaplan gave seven public talks (three in French and four in English) while at the institute.  One discussion in particular was initiated at the behest of the Paris-based French American Foundation, entitled "Population et Communauté Musulmanes des Etats-Unis.", and looked into some recent trends in the growth of the Muslim population within the United States. This is an area of fascination for the French seeing as how their Muslim population has expanded considerably.  The elements of this talk were presented at another time, in Paris's American Cathedral.  This public presentations, along with others presentations and the opportunity to teach French graduate students, provided a greater cross-cultural comparison of how diversity is perceived in France and the United States.

James Tyner  

Tyner, James.  Nominated for the Asian Geography Specialty Group Distinguished Service Awards (American Association of Geographers).    

  • Dr. James (Jim) Tyner is a consummate geographer whose research has helped fill lacunae in our understandings of Asia and specifically, Southeast Asia, his region of expertise. Jim has contributed much to Asian Studies through his research on Southeast Asia, his advocacy of Asia-related research and teaching at Kent State University and his leadership in the AAG's Asian Geography Specialty Group. His studies focus on issues such as politics, culture, population, and gender in Southeast Asia. His scholarly output is remarkable: thirteen scholarly books; over fifty refereed articles and book chapters; numerous encyclopedia entries and other publications. Additionally, he has presented his research at numerous conferences, as guest lectures, and invited plenary speeches the world over. Jim has queried and analyzed the exploitation and oppression of migrant female workers from the Philippines; genocide and mass violence in Cambodia; and the legacies of militarism and warfare in Southeast Asia. His ground breaking scholarship has led to various awards: the AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography; the James Blaut Award; the Glenda Laws Award; and the Julian Minghi Award for Outstanding Research Contribution to Political Geography. He is also recognized for his promotion of social justice within and beyond academia. Jim has been a faithful member of the Asian Geography Specialty Group, and has served as the Southeast Asia regional director, Secretary/Treasurer and most recently, as Chair of the AGSG. He is also the co-coordinator of the Asian Studies Program at Kent State University.

Science Research

Mandy Munro-Stasiuk

Munro-Stasiuk, M., Manahan, T.K. and Stockton, T. (in press). Spatial and physical characteristics of rejolladas in Northern Yucatán, Mexico: Implications for ancient Maya agriculture and settlement patterns. Geoarchaeology.

  • A GIS (Geographic Information Science) analysis of the distribution of sinkholes, with the site of Xuenkal having the densest clustering.  The sinkholes are typically 20 to 100m wide and 2 to 8m depp.  Mandy Munro-Stasiuk and Kam Manahan (Anthropology) have systematically been collecting spatial, environmental, and ground penetrating radar data from these sinkholes to understand their physical properties and why they may have been so attractive to the Ancient Maya.  Specifically, the nature of the geology, hydrogeology, micro-climate, and soils were documented.  A network of data-loggers emplaced in and around one sinkhole logged temperature, atmospheric moisture and soil moisture every 30 minutes for 18 months to determine if temperature and moisture conditions in the sinkholes were different than outside.  The results convincingly showed that there was a major oasis effect in the sinkholes.  In contrast to the surrounding environment, they have thicker soils, more humid microclimates, lower daytime temperatures, higher nighttime temperatures, and much higher and more constant soil moisture year-round.  Based on archaeological evidence, these distinct micro-environments were likely used as garden plots that hosted lucrative cash crops that needed high maintenance.  The results of this research have just been accepted for publication in Geoarchaeology, a major cross-disciplinary journal.  The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the KSU Research Council, and provided training experience for six undergraduate and two masters students.

Scott Sheridan

Sheridan, S. Allen, M., and Lee, C. (in press). A spatial synoptic classification approach to projected heat vulnerability in California under future climate change scenarios. Climate Change.

  • Scott Sheridan and his research group (including KSU PhD students Michael Allen and Cameron Lee) recently completed work on a funded contract from the California Air Resources Board on "A Spatial Synoptic Classification Approach to Projected Heat Vulnerability in California under Future Climate Change Scenarios".  A two-part article that discussed the results has been accepted in the prestigious journal Climatic Change.