Department of Geography and the Environment


The Department of Geography and the Environment is renowned for the quality and diversity of its collaborative research and curricula. We invite you to explore the disciplinary spectrum through our research clusters, initiatives, and spotlights.

Research Clusters

Research Initiatives

The Food and Farming research initiative integrates components of the Department's three major research clusters to examine food and related materials in a geographic context.

Research Spotlights (more coming soon)

Research Spotlights highlight the ongoing research of faculty and graduate students.

Research Initiatives

Food and Farming

Eugenio Arima, William E. Doolittle, Gregory W. Knapp, and Rebecca M. Torres

Food and Farming research initiative integrates components of the Department's  three major research clusters to examine tactics and strategies of the production, distribution, preparation, and utilization of food and other useful plants and animals at a variety of scales from local to regional and global.  Faculty and student research projects have included the dynamics of agricultural and other land use in the Amazon basin, irrigation features and practices in the Southwest, Mexico, and the Andes, nontraditional export agriculture (including soybeans, quinoa and flowers), cattle ranching, the impact of roads, tourism and migration on agriculture, gendered spaces of food preparation, kitchen gardens, the persistence of smallholder farming, impact of traditional plant use on the environment, and the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Research Spotlights

Professor Gregory Knapp

Floriculture and Discourses of Tradition, Modernization and Sustainability in Ecuador

Mountain Agriculture has been transformed in the Andes and elsewhere by the development of nontraditional exports, taking advantage of unique environmental characteristics.  This research project studies the particular case of greenhouse floriculture in Ecuador, its social and environmental impacts and vulnerabilities, and its relationship with indigenous smallholders.  Recent project publications include refereed journal articles in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and the Journal of Latin American Geography.

Knapp with UT graduate student Heather Rule, in a rose breeding facility, 2017.

Professor Caroline Faria

The Feminist Geography Research Collective welcomes three new members!

By Dominica Whitesell and Annie Elledge

This fall, the feminist geography research lab in the Department of Geography and the Environment welcomed three new members: Kany Abdullah, Meraal Hakeem and Zaria Al-Fil. In our second year, our collective works both as a scholarly hub for feminist research on power and place and a space of mentorship and professional development. Originally our focus was the analysis of a large data set produced through Dr Faria’s NSF funded research “Globalization and the Impacts of Emergent Commodity Networks on Local Economic and Cultural Geographies.” This included over 3000 archival images of newspaper coverage, advertisements, and events over 150 recorded interviews and focus groups, fieldnotes and ephemera, and geolocated data on the fashion and beauty industry in Uganda and Dubai, UAE. In the 2016-2017 year, our members have been working to process, order and analyze this data, producing from it their own award winning research projects which they have presented at UT and in national academic venues. Our new members will join us in this work, while also receiving peer-mentorship around finding funding for undergraduate and graduate research, graduate school applications, academic publishing, and conference presentation. Most recently one of our members, Annie Elledge, received the Rapoport Thesis Fellowship, Kany has received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and Meraal and Zaria are finalists in the Texas Undergraduate Research Showdown. Congrats all!

With the assistance of grads and undergrads participating in our new Feminist Geography Research Cluster, we are preparing a series of publications based on this work. This includes a piece by Whitesell and Faria for Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space on “global intimate mapping” in the Ugandan bridal industry and a chapter with Bisola Falola in The Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies. We are organizing and presenting in a range of panels at the upcoming AAGs in New Orleans on our field research and around faculty and  peer-mentoring as a strategy for building more diverse geographic futures. Please check out our ongoing work here!

 Our new members of the Feminist Geography Research Group. From L-R:  Zaria El-Fil, Meraal Hakeem, Kany Abdullah. Welcome!

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