The Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) presented the 2016 and 2017 awards for significant contributions towards Latin American geography, honoring both a professor and an alumnus from the Department of Geography and the Environment at The University of Texas at Austin.
C.B. Smith, Sr., Centennial Professor Tim Beach and Ph.D. alumnus Andrew Sluyter received the 2016 and 2017 Carl O. Saur Distinguished Scholarship Awards, respectively, at the CLAG meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recipients were selected based on “a corpus of important published work or other significant contribution towards Latin American geography” or work that has contributed greatly in educating broader audiences about Latin America.
Beach, who is also an associate of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, has conducted field research with hundreds of students on geomorphology and geoarchaeology in the Corn Belt of the United States, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Syria, Turkey, Iceland and Germany, resulting in more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and hundreds of scientific presentation and keynote speeches around the world. His research focuses on soil and agricultural systems, geomorphology, water, environmental change and geoarchaeology.
“CLAG has a deep intellectual history, with many great forbearers I have had the privilege to know,” Beach said. “Any award named after Carl Sauer makes any recipient humbled. I look around and see or imagine the past winners and many from which I have drawn intellectual succor. I can only measure up to these people because of the great colleagues and all of those past and current students I was lucky to have. I benefited from so many local people who guided me with their insights, experience, and support.”
Sluyter, who received his Ph.D. from UT Austin in 1995, is an associate professor of geography at Louisiana State University and the CLAG executive director. He has authored more than 70 publications, making profound contributions to the field, including colonialism and landscape theory, as well as the understanding of pre-colonial and colonial agriculture and environmental change in Mexico.
“I'm not only honored by the Sauer Award itself, but also to be part of the tradition of excellence of UT Geography, which counts six faculty and alums so honored,” Sluyter said.
Previous honorees from UT Austin include Professors Karl W. Butzer (1996), William E. Doolittle (1994), Peter M. Ward (1989) and UT alumnus Billie Lee Turner II (1986).