Circuits of Justice workshop to explore human rights and wrongs

The public is invited to a panel discussion and the keynote by Amy Ross, associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia, as part of the “Circuits of Justice” workshop scheduled for Nov. 6-7. Credit: Angela Rogers / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Graduate students from Syracuse University and Penn State will convene Nov. 6 - 7, 2015 to address the nature of geographic justice at the “Circuits of Justice” workshop, hosted by Penn State’s Department of Geography. The public is invited to a panel discussion and the keynote by Amy Ross, associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia.

Ross is a leading scholar in what she describes as “the study of human rights and wrongs.” Her research engages with matters related to international justice including genocide, transitional justice and the spatiality of violence.

The workshop will address issues of activism and public protest; organizing and resistance; gender, race, and intersectional analytics; work and labor; precarity; incarceration; urban (in)justice; environmental (in)justice; subalternism and recognition; emotion and affect; and informal, restorative and transitional justice.

Anyone who is interested in research about in issues of justice, equity, human rights and human vulnerability should attend the keynote presentation and the panel discussion.

The keynote will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Nov. 6 in 112 Walker Building as part of the department’s Coffee Hour lecture series. Ross’s talk is titled: "(Self) Defense and the Killing of Others: Army ROTC and the Laws of War."

The panel discussion will be held from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 7 in 112 Walker Building.

“We are going to ask the graduate students to prompt the discussion with their questions but I imagine we will be talking about a variety of topics such as, methodologies, publishing, job market, writing, teaching, etc.” Lorraine Dowler, professor of geography at Penn State, said.

Dowler came up with the idea for a workshop on justice in geography while on sabbatical last year.

“I spent four months at the geography department at Syracuse University—where I received my Ph.D. Since they also have graduate students who are working on justice, I wondered if there was a way we could enhance graduate training by having a workshop focused on graduate student development in the area of justice.  This is the first year, and if successful, we will do it again and possibly invite more geography departments,” she said.

Dowler said she has several goals for the workshop. 

“First, that the training of geography graduate students in the area of justice, equity and human rights continues to grow and should be fostered in the discipline and not be the responsibility of only a few departments or advisers.  The geography departments at Syracuse and Penn State are investing time, energy, and money into this workshop and future workshops as a way to support this type of work in the discipline.  Second, that the graduate students come out of the workshop feeling supported while conducting this type of research.”

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Rock Ethics Institute, Supporting Women in Geography, and the Center for Global Studies.

For additional information, please contact Azita Ranjbar at or visit

Last Updated May 19, 2016