Maxwell Geography Professor Don Mitchell to Receive Swedish Society of Anthropology and Geography Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday April 23, 2012

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Jill Leonhardt

Don Mitchell, Maxwell Distinguished Professor of Geography, has a date with a king on April 24. Mitchell will receive the Anders Retzius Medal in Gold from His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, on Vega Day, which celebrates geography and exploration.

The Anders Retzius Medal is awarded by the Swedish Society of Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) every two or three years to a human geographer or anthropologist. The Swedish Society announced it was presenting the award to Mitchell in recognition of his role as “an internationally distinguished human geographer, influential within historical landscape geography as well as urban, social and cultural geography. His research impressively unites fieldwork, critical analyses of historical sources and theoretical development. His publications on place and landscape build upon a strong geographical tradition which he has skilfully elevated to a critical, committed and vital voice in contemporary societal development. Don Mitchell is thus a major inspiration for young geographers and a highly respected ambassador for the discipline within critical social science.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this medal,” Mitchell says. “Not only have many of my intellectual heroes in both geography and anthropology been previous recipients, but also some of the most exciting intellectual work in my field is coming out of Sweden and Scandinavia these days, so to be recognized by my colleagues there is a singular honor.”

SSAG was formed in 1877 as an extension of the Association for Anthropology, which was founded four years earlier. In an era of exploratory expeditions, SSAG took an active role in the scientific description of the Arctic region. In recent years, the Society has sought to popularize topics including environmental degradation, physical planning, political geography and questions of underdevelopment.

In addition to receiving the Anders Retzius Medal on April 24, Mitchell will sponsor a symposium on the theme of “Revolutionary Landscapes.” The symposium will feature Mitchell and three other geographers, and will explore the relationship between landscape and revolution. The theme fits into the context of recent events, including the Arab Spring, the upheavals in Greece, and the rise of the Occupy Movement.

Following the Vega Day ceremonies, Mitchell will remain in Scandinavia until May 7 to give a series of lectures in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. He will also participate in a PhD course on the Swedish island of Gotland.

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