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# Books under threat - article by Matthew Gandy

In Matthew Gandy's new article in Area he explores some worrying trends in relation to academic book publishing. In particular, Matthew argues that the UKRI open access mandate for books risks entrenching existing forms of academic inequality as well as undermining the significance of books as a distinctive facet of intellectual life.

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# Madeleine Ary Hahne wins Vice-Chancellor's Social Impact Award

Congratulations to our PhD student Madeleine Hahne!

The awards, organised by Cambridge Hub, recognise and celebrate exceptional achievement in contributing to society.

Madeleine is the co-founder of climate action non-profit Vision of Soon, a Gates Cambridge Scholar, an honorary Woolf Institute Scholar, and a PhD candidate in Geography researching how conservative religionists view climate change. She also worked for the National Democratic Institute where she helped run an International Electoral Observation Mission in Beirut, Lebanon and train Kurdish parliamentary candidates in Dohuk, Iraq. She is a former Obama White House Intern and holds a Cambridge MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Dr Anthony Freeling said: "The winners have demonstrated that innovation and perseverance can go a long way in making a positive impact on society. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to us all."

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# Pushkin Prize nomination for Dr Olga Petri

Photography: Antonio Olmos

Many congratulations to Dr Olga Petri on being nominated for the 2023 Pushkin House Book Prize, which is awarded annually to books on and about Russia, its people, history and culture. Dr Petri's debut monograph, Places of Tenderness and Heat: The Queer Milieu of Fin-de-Siècle St. Petersburg (Cornell University Press) is a novel exploration of the historical geography of queer male sexuality and sociality in imperial Russia. The Pushkin Prize judges include scholars, writers, and creative artists, and consider works from a very wide range of disciplines and topics and a very competitive field. To be part of a shortlist of just six works is an amazing honour! The winner will be announced on June 15th at Pushkin House in London. Congratulations also go to Olga for her appointment to a teaching associate position in the Department, beginning in September this year.

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# Professor Sarah Hall appointed to the '1931 Chair in Geography'

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Sarah Hall to the 1931 Chair in Geography. Sarah is currently Professor of Economic Geography in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham, and a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director at the ESRC-funded academic think tank 'UK in a Changing Europe'.

Professor Hall is a public economic geographer, whose work develops new, cultural economy approaches to understanding economic change, especially in relation to UK-China and UK-EU relations. Her work has gained wide international recognition, and informs and shapes academic, public and policy debates at a time of radical economic disruption.

Professor Hall is the seventh, and first female, holder of the 1931 Chair, the first established professorship in Geography at Cambridge and one of the oldest in the country. The post was first occupied by glaciologist and geologist Frank Debenham in 1933. It has subsequently been held by coastal geomorphologist J. Alfred Steers, historical geographer Clifford Darby, and economic geographers Michael Chisholm and Robert Bennett. The post has most recently been held by Ash Amin, who retired in 2022.

Sarah will take up her appointment at the University of Cambridge on 1st October 2023.

Mike Hulme, Head of Department

# Alex Jeffrey contributes to Foreign Affairs Committee on Stability in Western Balkans

Kathleen Murgatroyd

On Thursday 20th April, Professor Alex Jeffrey was invited by Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, to contribute to a debate concerning stability in the Western Balkans.

Alex emphasised the threat posed to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the wake of increased youth emigration and the continued supervision by international agencies. He pointed to the possibilities posed by the creation of state-level institutions, such as the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the topic of his 2020 book The Edge of Law. Keen to ensure the voices of young people were heard in the debate, in writing his talk Alex collaborated with PhD student Dino Kadich to draw on his pioneering feminist scholarship on the politics of the future in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

# Why the 'Great Acceleration' is giving the Anthropocene an identity crisis

Back in 2000, Dutch chemist Paul Crützen's idea that humans have transformed Earth, pushing it into a new geological age that he dubbed the Anthropocene, sparked interest and controversy in the social sciences — and lots of buzz in the popular media. For Earth system scientists — those who study how the planet's atmosphere, hydrosphere, rocky crust and biosphere work, in tandem — the idea was immediately compelling.

But some geologists — those who chart Earth's history recorded in hard rock and soft sediments — are more sceptical - including Professor Phil Gibbard.

Not all geologists agree humans have transformed Earth's surface in 70 years
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio documentary Ideas presenting a discussion about the Great Acceleration and Anthropocene Working Group labours is now posted at the CBC Ideas website.

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# Medieval monks accidentally recorded some of history’s biggest volcanic eruptions

Recueil de poésies françaises. Consolation de Boèce, Ms. 822, fol. 61v, Bibliothèque Municipale de Toulouse /Gallica, BnF

By observing the night sky, medieval monks unwittingly recorded some of history's largest volcanic eruptions, according to a new analysis of 12th and 13th century European and Middle Eastern chronicles.

An international team, including researchers from the University of Cambridge, drew on readings of medieval texts, along with ice core and tree ring data, to accurately date some of the biggest volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen.

"By putting together the information from ice cores and the descriptions from medieval texts we can now make better estimates of when and where some of the biggest eruptions of this period occurred." said co-author Professor Clive Oppenheimer from the Department of Geography.

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# Charlotte Lemanski awarded British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Research Funding

Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded funding from the British Academy's Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research programme. Prof Lemanski is a co-investigator on the Interrogating Urban Crisis Representation and Response in 'Disorderly' Southern Cities. During this project she will work with Dr Melanie Lombard (University of Sheffield), Dr Fiona Anciano (University of the Western Cape, South Africa), and Dr Carlos Andres Tobar Tovar (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, Columbia).

# Charlotte Lemanski awarded British Academy International Writing Workshop Funds

Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded funding from the British Academy to run an International Writing Workshop in collaboration with Richard Ballard from the GCRO. The workshop will support early-career researchers from southern Africa to develop a publication for an international peer-reviewed journal within the theme of Governing for Urban Inclusion. The workshop will be held in Johannesburg in 2024.

# Matthew Gandy wins book prize

Matthew Gandy's book Natura urbana: ecological constellations in urban space (The MIT Press, 2022) has been awarded a 2023 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize by the Foundation for Landscape Studies and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. The prize is awarded every three years for works based on original research that "break new ground in method or interpretation".

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