NAS Fellow A. Bebbington to head renowned School of Geography

Esteemed scientist Anthony Bebbington will become director of Clark University’s acclaimed Graduate School of Geography, also assuming the title of Higgins Professor of Environment and Society.  Bebbington was appointed in March 2009 to assume the position starting July 2010.

In April 2009, Bebbington was elected as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist.  Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.  The Academy has approximately 2,100 members, and includes nearly 200 Nobel Prize winners.  Only 14 geographers around the country currently hold the membership.  Bebbington’s arrival marks the fifth geographer to be elected to the NAS while being appointed at Clark, following R.W. Kates (1975), B.L. Turner II (1995), S. Hanson (2000), and R. E. Kasperson (2003).  Clark Geography has been the home department of the largest number of NAS members. 

Bebbington is among the more than 250 members of the NAS who signed an open letter aimed at “restoring public faith in the integrity of climate science,” published on May 7 in the journal Science.  Bebbington’s work addresses the political ecology of rural change with a particular focus on the factors that drive the relationships between humans and the environment under conditions of inequality and poverty.  His recent research has explored how social movements, indigenous organizations, and socio-environmental conflicts influence these relationships in contexts affected by the expansion of extractive industries (oil, gas and hard-rock mining: see  He has worked throughout South and Central America, though primarily in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. 

Bebbington studied geography and land economy at the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with distinction. He completed a masters and Ph.D. at Clark in 1988 and 1990. Bebbington has been a Professor of Nature, Society and Development in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester (U.K.), where he has been an Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellow and a Research Associate of the Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales, Peru. Bebbington has held fellowships from the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the Fulbright Commission and the Inter-American Foundation. He has held positions at the World Bank, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Cambridge and the International Institute of Environment and Development. He is a native of Staffordshire, England.

The oldest sustained program of geography in the United States, Clark Geography fosters a culture of innovation that has made it a key site for the development of new topical fields and geographic technologies.  Faculty and students pioneered research in human-environment, geographic information science, urban-economic geographies and earth-systems sciences.  The School has awarded more Ph.D.s in geography than any other program in the United States.  Clark geography is the home of Clark Labs which publishes IDRISI and CartaLinx software, and the home of Economic Geography, an internationally peer-reviewed journal currently ranked 4th among 51 geography journals in ISI citation impact factor.

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