2018 Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference

Engaged Scholarship: Fostering Civil and Human Rights
Austin, TX

From October 23-25, 2018 the IX bi-annual Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference took place at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in downtown Austin. The conference was a collaboration between the Texas State University, the University of Texas at Austin, the City of Austin and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The conference brought together over 235 participants, over half of whom were from groups historically underrepresented in academia. They were from twenty-six states and eight countries. The host institutions had very strong representation: 38 presenters from University of Texas at Austin and 40 presenters from Texas State. The conference kicked off with an NSF sponsored pre-conference Early Career Mentorship Workshop themed “Surviving and Thriving in the Academy” that consisting of 27 early career scholars and 13 senior scholar mentors. The workshop included panels focused on achieving success at writing, research, and publishing, small breakout groups, a talk on finding and applying for grants by Tom Baerwald of the NSF, and sessions on applying for tenure-track jobs and achieving tenure and promotion.

The two other days of the conference involved 50 separate paper and panel sessions on topics as diverse as gentrification and community resilience, natural disaster recovery, diversity, inclusion and ethnic studies initiatives on college campuses, immigration and refugees, health disparities, human-environment interactions, criminalization and human rights, and cultural and ethnic identity. The conference also featured panels that allowed for in-depth discussion on topics such as teaching race and ethnicity, advancing women in geography, methodological and theoretical diversity in the discipline of geography, international field work, supporting historically black serving institutions, and more. Powerful keynote speakers concluded the conference days. On Wednesday, associate professor of the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and Vice Provost of Diversity at The University of Texas at Austin Dr. Edmund Gordon provided a deeper context for the controversy around confederate statue removal and name changes in Austin and across the U.S. South. Closing out the conference on Thursday were two inspiring addresses given by Christina Tzintzún Ramírez and Rebecca Flores. Ms. Tzintzún spoke of the importance of finding your voice, and Ms. Flores traced the history of farm worker organizing from the early days of Cesar Chavez to the present through her own vast experience as an organizer for the Texas United Farm Workers. All speakers spoke to this year’s conference theme: “Engaged Scholarship: Fostering Civil and Human Rights”.

We were also able to impart upon participants a sense (and taste!) of the City of Austin. Meals were catered by locally-owned restaurants including TacoDeli, the Tamale House, La BBQ, Hoover’s Cooking, and Hecho en Mexico. Local artists Javier Jara, Austin’s Bronze Band Community Project, and mariachi bands from Texas State University and Wallace Middle School provided wonderful music. On the Friday following the conference, field trips led by local experts provided conference-goers with the opportunity to experience Austin’s unique cultural and social geographies: UT’s racial geographies (led by Dr. Ted Gordon), Austin’s ethnic museums (led by Laura Esparza), Austin’s cultural murals (led by Frederico Geib), and Historic Black East Austin (led by Harrison Eppright of SixSquare).

The conference would not have been possible without the generous support of so many institutions, academic departments, and private donors. In addition to a National Science Foundation grant, both Texas State and the University of Texas at Austin raised $10,500 thanks to a multitude of academic departments, research centers, and university offices and colleges. The City of Austin covered the cost of the venue, and private donations covered 22 graduate students’ participation (in the form of waived registration and travel stipends). Additionally, universities across the country contributed with co-sponsorships (see website), and many have already committed to future collaboration. We are extremely grateful for all this support.

Planning for the X REP Conference is underway – mark your calendars for October 2020. The Tenth REP will be held in Baltimore, MD in collaboration with Joe Wood (University of Baltimore) and Mark Barnes (Morgan State University), keep an eye on developments at www.repconference.org.

NSF Early Career Scholars

  • Katia Avilés-Vázquez, Adjunct Professor, The University of Puerto Rico, Cayey
  • Kelsey Brain, PhD Candidate. Pennsylvania State University
  • Alex Colucci, PhD Candidate. Kent State University
  • Kalli Doubleday, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Claudia Garcia Louis, Assistant Professor, The University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Alexandra Giancarlo, Adjunct Professor, Queen’s University
  • Rachel Goffe, Postdoctoral Fellow, Temple University
  • Kevin Lynn, Adjunct Professor, Troy University at Montgomery
  • Aaron Malone, PhD Candidate, The University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Jamila Moore Pewu, Assistant Professor, California State University
  • Carmen Mosley, PhD Candidate, The University of New Mexico
  • Carrie Mott, Assistant Professor, The University of Louisville
  • Solange Muñoz, Assistant Professor, The University of Tennessee
  • Magie Ramirez, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
  • Kaitlin Reed, PhD Candidate, The University of California, Davis
  • Kevon Rhiney, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
  • Mark Rhodes, PhD Candidate, Kent State University
  • Ana L. Sanchez Rivera, PhD Candidate, The University of Maryland, College Park
  • Stevie Ruiz, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge
  • Edgar Sandoval, PhD Candidate, the University of Washington-Seattle
  • Pavithra Vasudevan, Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Kanika Verma, PhD, Texas State University
  • Traci-Ann Wint, PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Willie J Wright, Assistant Professor, Florida State University
  • Shaolu Yu, Assistant Professor, Rhodes College
  • Wan Yu, Assistant Professor, Binghamton University

IX REP Student Travel Awards

  • Melisa Argañaraz, Department of Geography and Environmental Systems- University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Guillermo Dominguez Garcia, LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin
  • Mikaela Gillman, Department of Geography, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • JoshuaGonzalez, Binghamton University Geography Department
  • Leslie Gross-Wyrtzen, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
  • Jama Grove, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • Hanieh Haji Molana, Kent State University, Department of Geography
  • Kathryn Hannum. Geography, Kent State University
  • Angeline Johnson, Geography and Planning Department, University of Toledo
  • Joseph Lasky, Political Science, Villanova University
  • Winnie Ngare, Geography Department, SUNY Binghamton
  • Keri Revens. Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Sarah Riva, History, University of Arkansas
  • Carlos Serrano, Department of Geography at UNC Chapel Hill
  • Ishrat Sultana, Sociology, York University
  • Yining Tan, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, School of Social Transformation & Arizona State University
  • Morris Thompson, Department of Public Policy and Administration, West Chester University
  • Kristy Tillman, Geography, Binghamton University
  • Frank Tolbert, Department of Geography, Binghamton University
  • Ki’Amber Thompson, Geography, UT Austin
  • Ligia Vasquez-Huot, Academy for Population Health Innovation, University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • Alex Webb, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Geography

IX REP Student Poster Awards

First Place

  • Amanda Hoffman-Hall, University of Maryland “Rural Population Mapping at Moderate Spatial Resolutions Using Geospatial Data Fusion”

Second Place

  • Frank Tolbert, Binghamton University, “State and Local Roles in the Expansion and Redevelopment of a Rust Belt”

Third Place

  • Kaitlin Stewart, Stephen F. Austin University, “The Treacherous Journey of the Chin and Rohingya People from Religious Persecution in Burma to Texas”

Honorable Mentions

  • Winnie Ngare, Binghamton University, “Associations Between Air Pollution, Lung Cancer, Race/Ethnicity and Income in Ohio”
  • Christopher Pierce, Texas State University, “Does Size Matter? Case Study of Refugees from Burma in Waterloo and Marshalltown, Iowa”
  • Gavin Derleth, George Washington University, “Community, Ethnicity, and Gentrification in Columbia Heights”

IX REP Sponsors



The University of Texas at Austin:
Department of Geography and the Environment
Beach Butzer Labs
CB Smith Sr. Centennial Chair in U.S.­Mexico Relations
Erich W. Zimmermann Regents Professor Chair
Population Research Center
Center for European Studies
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Center for Mexican American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Texas State University:
Office of the Provost
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Geography
Center for the Studies of the Southwest
Department of Anthropology
Department of Psychology
Department of Sociology
Department of Modern Languages
Department of Political Science
Department of History
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Office of Equity and Access


Alberto Giordano and
Marta Mastroianni

Rickie Sanders

John Frazier

Joe Wood

Sheryl Beach and
Tim Beach

Richard Jones

Lawrence Estaville

Jay Newberry

Derek and
Donna Alderman

IX REP Conference Coordinators

Sarah Blue, Texas State University
Rebecca Torres, University of Texas-Austin

Contact us:

IX REP Planning Committee

Texas State University
Sarah Blue
Alberto Giordano
Yongmei Lu
Jennifer Devine

University of Texas-Austin
Rebecca Torres
Sheryl Beach
Tim Beach
Caroline Faria

IX REP Board of Directors

Dr. Derek Alderman, Chair, UT-Knoxville (Tennessee), current AAG president
Dr. Sheryl Beach, Chair, University of Texas-Austin, AAG president-elect
Dr. Sarah A. Blue, Geography, Texas State University
Dr. Sean Crotty, Texas Christian University
Dr. Alberto Giordano, Chair, Texas State University
Dr. Carlos J. Guilbe López, University of Puerto Rico
Dr. Norah Henry, Binghamton University (New York)
Dr. David Kaplan, Kent State University (Ohio)
Dr. Edris Montalvo, Cameron University (Oklahoma)
Dr. Jay Newberry, Binghamton University (New York)
Dr. Kefa Otiso, Bowling Green State University (Ohio)
Dr. Marie Price, George Washington University (Washington, DC)
Dr. Rebecca Torres, University of Texas-Austin
Dr. Joseph Wood, American Geographical Society

Further support REP

You can make an optional donation to REP below. Your generous donation (of any amount) to the REP Conference will go towards offsetting conference costs and supporting student travel, making the conference more affordable for those in need of financial support.