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Mahtani wins prestigious geography award

Minelle Mahtani, right, was presented with the Glenda Laws Award by Association of American Geographers President Audrey Kobayashi.

Minelle Mahtani won the Glenda Laws Award for geography, which is given to early and mid-career scholars for outstanding contributions to geographical research on social issues.

It is administered by the Association of American Geographers, and endorsed by the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Institute of British Geographers.

"Her contributions to geographic research on social issues build bridges between the academy and other centers of knowledge, like the policy, media and not-for-profit worlds. Her experience as a former national television news producer provides unique insights into critiques about media and minority representation as well as geographies of news consumption. She has also paid scholarly attention to geography's expertise in an era of specialized knowledge economies, challenging the ivory tower to produce anti-racist geographies in the academy and challenging geographers to teach for inclusion," the award presentation reads in part.

Mahtani recently published a study of the way immigration is represented in the Globe & Mail. Another recent study looked at the racialized geographies of news production and consumption, through interviews with journalists who identified as members of minority racial groups and news consumers self-identified as Iranian Canadians and Chinese Canadians.

Mahtani has also written about issues of race within the academy. She has written about the discrimination faced by women of colour geographers, and suggested that geography's historical engagement with colonialism and imperialism works to ensure the domination of whiteness among faculty and students of geography.

Mahtani is especially interested in documenting the experiences of mixed-race Canadians, and has published a number of papers on mixed-race identities. She is an editor of the forthcoming book entitled Global Mixed Race to be published by New York University Press.

Mahtani brought her expertise on multiraciality to aid in the editing of Lawrence Hill’s memoir, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. In a recent visit to UTSC, Hill, author of the bestseller, Book of Negroes singled out Mahtani for encouraging him to consider the relationship between geography and identity.

Mahtani also designed the first course to be offered in geography and mixed race in Canada, entitled “Spaces of Multiraciality: Critical Mixed Race Theory”, taught in the department of Social Sciences here at UTSC.

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