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Queen Mary academic wins American Association of Geographers’ Creativity Award

Professor Kathryn Yusoff from Queen Mary’s School of Geography has been awarded the 2022 Brunn Creativity Award by the American Association of Geographers.

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Image of a globe. Credit: iStock.com/Stefan_Alfonso
Image of a globe. Credit: iStock.com/Stefan_Alfonso

The award is given annually to an individual geographer or team of geographers that has demonstrated originality, creativity and significant intellectual breakthroughs in geography.

Professor Yusoff was recognized as being widely published in prominent geography journals as well as interdisciplinary journals of the humanities.

Her research examines how inhuman materialities have consequences for how we understand issues of environmental change, race and subjectivity. She has a particular interest in the Anthropocene – a period of time during which human activities have impacted the environment enough to constitute a distinct geological change. Her 2019 book, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (University of Minnesota Press) examines the relationship between geology and subjectivity and seeks to recenter the question of race in the context of the Anthropocene. She recently gave the Chair’s Plenary at the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers Annual meeting on ‘Colonialism Now: Unearthing Geologies of Race’, which argued that colonialism and geology, and their extractive logics, have both been at the forefront of the Anthropocene, global warming and mass extinctions. Where colonialism seeks to create normative structures of devaluation, of people and places, decolonial scholarship seeks to disrupt this. Her forthcoming book, Geologic Life: Inhuman Intimacies and the Geophysics of Race addresses the histories of geology and gravities of race.

Professor Yusoff has had a long engagement with the arts and geopoetics, telling new stories at the intersection of environmental change and cultural theory, and making space for interdisciplinary conversations. Most recently, she was a faculty member of Digital Earth and ICA Miami, and previously as curator of "POLAR: the Art & Science of Climate Change" and "Weather Permitting," a collaborative creative research group that investigates weather and climate change at the intersection of arts and sciences.

Professor Kathryn Yusoff, Professor of Inhuman Geography at Queen Mary University of London said: “I am honoured to accept this award and happy to see creative geographies recognized as crucial to the critical development and decolonization of the discipline. Thank you to the judges and my colleagues, postgraduates and students within the School of Geography at Queen Mary for bringing their everyday creative energies to work.”