Newly elected AAG national councilor Dowler sights social justice

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State associate professor of geography and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, Lorraine Dowler, has been elected as a national councilor for the American Association of Geographers' governing body. She is one of six national councilors and will begin her three-year term on July 1.

“In my new role, I will advocate for the discipline to be a leader in education and society more generally in promoting economic justice, political freedom, environmental stability and cultural acceptance,” Dowler said.

“With the election of Dr. Dowler as National Councilor, the American Association of Geographers gains the benefit of her many years of educational leadership and advocacy as well as a passionate voice in support of broadening social responsibility and inclusion within the wider discipline of geography. I am honored to be able to work with her,” said Derek H. Alderman, AAG vice president.

Dowler said, “I sought this role because we live in challenging times, and I view geographic education as not only crucial to the University's work of knowledge production but to the broader efforts to build a more inclusive and democratic society. It is evident that the old political, social and economic order is changing — you can see it daily on the news and in newspapers. It is palpable on campus and in the classroom.  As a result, it is imperative that we make geographic knowledge central to policy makers and educators.”

Dowler has been a member of AAG for more than 20 years, organizing several workshops and conferences. She is a longtime member of the AAG specialty group, Geographic Perspectives on Women, and serves on the editorial boards of Geography Compass and Geopolitics.

Within Penn State, Dowler served as head of the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from 2004 to 2007 and as director of undergraduate program in the Department of Geography from 2008 to 2012. She was the faculty adviser for the inaugural Penn State chapter of Supporting Women in Geography.

“My career as a feminist educator takes inspiration from the view that the discipline is uniquely situated to address global social justice issues, while at the same time making connections with local communities,” Dowler said. “The promotion of inclusivity and democratic citizenship are critical to the mission of a discipline that is uniquely outfitted to challenge social power relations that promote racism, sexism and homophobia.”

The AAG is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. Currently, the association has more than 10,000 members from more than 60 countries. AAG members are geographers and related professionals who work in the public, private and academic sectors.

Last Updated March 23, 2017