Department of Geography and the Environment

Professor William E. Doolittle Awarded the 2014 Preston E. James Eminent Latin Americanist Career Award

Sun, January 26, 2014
Professor William E. Doolittle Awarded the 2014 Preston E. James Eminent Latin Americanist Career Award
Prof. Doolittle (R) with his wife, Shannon Bieberdorf, Christian Brannstrom, CLAG Chair, and Prof. Pedro Geiger (L) of Brazil, the 2013 awardee.

We are pleased to announce that Professor William E. Doolittle has been named the 2014 recipient of the Preston E. James Eminent Latin Americanist Career Award at the Conference of Latin American Geographers (CLAG), in recognition of a life-time achievement towards the understanding of the geography of Latin America.

A part of CLAG since the 1970s, Prof. Doolittle served as the Executive Director from 1997-2003.  He also received the Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award from CLAG in 1994 and the CLAG Outstanding Service Award in 2004.  The Preston James award is the highest honor, recognizing a long-standing commitment to Latin American lands and peoples.

At University of Texas at Austin, Prof. Doolittle also serves as the Erich W. Zimmermann Regents Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography and the Environment.  He is a cultural ecologist, geoarchaeologist, and geographer whose work has long focused on water systems in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. His research interests have focused on irrigation, terracing, water management, runoff agriculture, ranching, and other aspects of agricultural landscapes. 

Prof. Doolittle has contributed two significant books to Latin American scholarship:  his first book published in 1988, Pre-Hispanic Occupance in the Valley of Sonora, Mexico, and later in 1990, Canal Irrigation in Prehistoric Mexico, which was reissued in Spanish.  His two other books on pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, The Safford Valley Grids: Prehistoric Cultivation in the Southern Arizona Desert (Tucson: Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona 70 2004), and the monumental Cultivated Landscapes of Native North America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) have focused primarily on Mexico. His Cultivated Landscapes volume, rich with archival evidence and contemporary fieldwork observations, continues to serve as a benchmark for archaeologists and the scholarship on Columbian consequences.


In addition to his scholarly work, he has supervised the independent research of fourteen Ph.D. dissertations, nine of which focused on topics in Latin America. He also is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of geographers, teaching undergraduate courses: Land And Life: American Southwest; Landscapes Of Mexico & Caribbean America; Environment, Development, & Food Production; and Field Techniques.


We congratulate him on receiving this honor, and look forward to his continued contribution to the field of Geography. For more information about Professor William E. Doolittle, you may visit his faculty profile.

Fig. 1- Program for the 2014 Conference of Latin American Geographers (CLAG)

Fig. 2- Prof. Doolittle in the field with graduate student Matt LaFevor . 

Fig 3- Panama City, Panama, location of CLAG 2014 


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