Doctoral Candidate Kalli Doubleday Published in Geoforum

Doctoral Candidate Kalli Doubleday recently published a single author paper in the international geography journal Geoforum titled: Nonlinear liminality: Human-animal relations on preserving the world’s most famous tigress.

Kalli pursued this research as a side project during her first dissertation field season. She had watched many documentaries centered on the famous tigress Machli and was shocked to hear the Rajasthan Forest Department had put forth a proposal to taxidermy her after she died for display at the forest station in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Moreover, Kalli had read about the Forest Department feeding Machli in her old age. As a wild animal Kalli wanted to investigate this complex situation that was unraveling around the enigma of Machli: an elderly, internationally adored wild animal. Before submitting the paper to a journal Kalli submitted an earlier version of the paper to the 2016 Animal Geography Specialty Group of the AAG’s graduate student paper competition. The paper won and was subsequently presented at the 2017 American Association of Geographer’s Annual Meeting in Boston as a published paper.


Abstract: This paper explores the Rajasthan Forest Department’s feeding of an elderly tigress named Machli, and her consequent liminal status between a wild life and a captive life. Machli is regarded as the world’s most famous tiger as a result of her decade-long starring role in multiple documentaries broadcast to international audiences. Many people display a relational empathy towards Machli. This has resulted in a powerful ethic of care, materialized in the Forest Department’s realignment of resources to care for her in old age; specifically to keep her from an unbefitting end of starvation. Machli’s relationship to humans and other tigers contribute to scholarship that interrogates notions of “wildness,” “pristine nature,” and the social construction of the nature-society divide through the case of an individual animal’s celebrity and consequential human-animal relations. Most scholarship centers on species or a population in theorizing human-animal conservation relationships and within the distinct spaces of in or ex situ conservation sites. I argue that greater attention needs to be paid to the complex scalar entanglements of individual animals and how this impacts perceptions about conservation practices and wild nonhuman life more generally. This is particularly true as individual animal celebrity grows across a broad spectrum of wild, captive, and domestic spaces and projected or rejected domesticity. Machli’s case highlights and allows for theoretical intervention into changing normative human-wild animal relations across scales and species.

Source: Kalli F. Doubleday. 2017. Nonlinear liminality: Human-animal relations on preserving the world’s most famous tigress. Geoforum 81: 32-44.




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Winner of Jean Holloway Teaching Award – Dr. Caroline Faria



Congratulations to our own Dr. Caroline Faria for receiving the Jean Holloway Teaching Award!

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Geography – very well deserved!


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UT Geography at AAG 2017


Rebecca Torres and UT alum Dr. Lindsey Carte win Geographical Review’s Best Paper Award for their work on the human costs of migration in sending communities in Latin America.



UT alumni Paul Holloway (second from left in red tie) and Molly Polk (at the lectern) at the Nystrom Awards session. Such an honor that two of the four award nominees this year were from our department! (In the foreground, Jennifer A Miller, Paul’s supervisor).



Elisabeth Butzer receives the first annual Karl and Elisabeth Butzer Lifetime Achievement Award in Paleoenvironmental Change.

Posted in AAG, Africa, Climate Change, Latin America

GAGE Nominates New Officers

Last week we had elections for new GAGE officers and these are the winners. Congratulations!

President: Cody Schank
Vice President: Brendan Hoover
Secretary: Greta Wells
Treasurer: Paul Flynn
Grad Rep: Kaiti Tasker
Assistant Grad Rep: Amelia Sosnowski
GSA Rep: Aaron Groth
Historian: William Delgado

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Super Spring 2016

Graduate students in the Department of Geography and the Environment had a record-setting Spring semester of awards, grants, and fellowships. Twelve graduate students received 16 different honors for an estimated total of $230,000. Of the 16 honors, an impressive 11 were from sources external to the University of Texas and 5 were from sources within the University of Texas. Federal agencies played an important funding role, including two awards from the National Science Foundation and one each from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of State. Four best paper awards were received at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Below is a list of graduate students and their respective awards. Well done everyone!!!!

Robert Bean – Fulbright U.S. Student Program Research Grant to Botswana in Geography from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board; UT-Austin Department of Geography and the Environment Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel

William Delgado – LLILAS E.D. Farmer Fellowship for 2016-2017; Master’s Student Best Research Paper Award from the American Association of Geographers Water Resources Specialty Group; UT-Austin Department of Geography and the Environment Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel

Kalli Doubleday – Doctoral Fellowship from American Association of University Women, Austin Branch; Society of Women Geographers Evelyn L. Pruitt Fellowship; Graduate Paper Award from the American Association of Geographers Animal Geography Specialty Group

Colin Doyle – UT-Austin Department of Geography and the Environment Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel

Bisola Falola – Graduate Paper Award from the American Association of Geographers Qualitative Research Specialty Group

Paul Flynn – National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program; Graduate Mentoring Fellowship from the UT-Austin Graduate School; UT-Austin Department of Geography and the Environment Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel

Paul Holloway – Best Paper by an Early Career Researcher from the 24th GIS Research Conference (U.K.) at the University of Greenwich

Brendan Hoover – U.S. Department of Energy Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

Samantha Krause – UT-Austin Department of Geography and the Environment Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel

Edward Park – National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant; Bruton Fellowship from UT-Austin

Kaiti Tasker – UT-Austin Continuing Fellowship

Greta Wells – Master’s Student Best Paper Award from the American Association of Geographers Geomorphology Specialty Group

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Robert Bean studies flooding history of the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Robert Bean is has also spent the majority of the summer in Botswana studying the flooding history of the Okavango Delta around the Makgadikgadi, Mababe, and Ngami sub-basins where the delta terminates.


Above: Together with Dr. Thoralf Meyer, Dan Levine, and UT alum Matt Hubbard, Robert Bean and others dig a 5 foot trench

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Dan Levine spends summer TAing in Botswana

The majority of Dan Levine’s summer has been spent in a tent TAing for the department’s faculty-led study abroad program in Botswana. Working alongside Dr. Thoralf Meyer, the program immerses undergraduate students in hands-on fieldwork and coursework focused on the vegetation, wildlife, and people of the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta environments.
Above: Dan standing next to Green’s Baobab in the Makgaldikgaldi Pans of Botswana; this massive tree was a popular stopping point for early explorers of the region.
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Greta Wells conducts field work in the Columbian Andes

Greta Wells is conducting her Master’s research on jökulhlaups in Iceland.  Specifically, she’s working to reconstruct a Holocene history of these glacial outburst floods along a river channel that drains the country’s largest ice cap.  To find clues of past floods, she studies geomorphologic features and analyzes rock samples and sediment cores.  Greta is pictured here taking a sediment core from a lake perched at 3000 meters in the Colombian Andes during a separate summer research project on paleoclimate reconstruction.  The next stop for this coring equipment (and Greta) is Iceland!

Colombia field work

Above: Greta and team extract Columbian sediment core

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Kaitlin Tasker explores conservation in Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru

Kaitlin Tasker’s Master’s research explores how the spatial patterns of conservation priority differ when informed by economic principles, landscape ecology, and carbon content. She is conducting research in Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru.


Above: Kaitlin Tasker takes coordinates for a recently expanded road in the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru.

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Sam Krause conducts geoarchaeological research in northwestern Belize

Sam Krause is surveying ancient water features and and collecting soil samples for geoarchaeological/ geochemical analysis in northwestern Belize this summer. She’ll be in the field for 9 weeks working with the Maya Research Program. Keep up the hard (and sweaty) work Sam!

Sam Krause Belize

Above: Sam fights her way through the jungle, machete in hand

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April  2017
Events on April 14, 2017
  • Colloquium (David Eaton)
    Starts: 3:00 pm
    Ends: April 14, 2017 - 4:00 pm
Events on April 21, 2017
  • GAGE meeting
    Starts: 2:00 pm
    Ends: April 21, 2017 - 3:00 pm
    Description: March for Science
    Nominations for GAGE officers for next year
    GAGE camping trip?
    Mugs - Dues
Events on April 26, 2017
  • Meeting with James and Kelley
    Starts: 12:00 pm
    Ends: April 26, 2017 - 1:00 pm
    Location: CLA 1.302E
Events on April 28, 2017
  • Colloquium (Glen MacDonald)
    Starts: 3:00 pm
    Ends: April 28, 2017 - 4:00 pm
  • GAGE Officer Nominations due
    Starts: 5:00 pm
    Ends: April 28, 2017 - 5:30 pm