This special forum, derived from a featured session at the 2017 meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Boston, seeks to carry out a grounded discussion of public intellectualism during the turbulent Trump era and beyond. Our hope is to demonstrate the capacity of geographers to participate in and contribute to debates beyond the academy, effect change within wider public worlds, and in turn be affected by this outreach. The contributions in this focus section are personal and intellectual reflections on public engagement, what it means for the contributing authors (and by extension what it might mean to the reader), as well as some guidance on practicing public engagement and navigating and negotiating the challenges of outreach. The brief contributions to this forum cannot completely prepare us to be public intellectuals, but it is our hope that they will advance the AAG long-range (2015–2025) plan of creating opportunities to encourage, support, and train geographers to undertake levels and types of public communication, engagement, and advocacy that fit well with their strengths, passions, and political sensitivities. Public outreach is not a matter of one size fits all, and this forum means to be illustrative, reflective, and projective of practices rather than prescriptive.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes