The Founders Seminar is the Geography and Environmental Studies Departmental Seminar series. Speakers are invited to present to an audience of students and faculty with an interest in Geography (human and physical) and Geomatics. The seminar is usually biweekly and starts a few weeks after the beginning of the term.

We start with a meet and greet usually in Room Loeb A220 by 14:30; light snacks are provided. Talks of around 40 minutes are followed by questions. Later, we often go to Mike’s place (campus bar) to continue discussions.

The name “Founders Seminar” was chosen around the year 2000 to honour the founding members of the relatively young department: those who were present from the 1950s and those who were part of the major growth cycle in the late 60s and 70s. These individuals started the Department and later formed the base for its application for the Ph.D. degree.



WED SEPT 25 – Catriona Gold (University College London) “Passport Denial & Public Diplomacy: The Politics of Travel in Cold War America.”

ABSTRACT: In the aftermath of WWII, the travel of US citizens assumed a hitherto unprecedented political significance. The Cold War struggle for economic and cultural dominance combined with post-war American prosperity and rapid developments in transportation technology to thrust tourism and cultural exchange into the political spotlight. Actors across the political spectrum rushed to construct travel as a matter of national security, with the American traveller emerging as a figure of both threat and opportunity — and, crucially, a subject in need of governance. This seminar draws upon in-depth research at the US National Archives and the Library of Congress to unpack and contextualize the most significant Cold War developments in American travel policy. By illuminating the circumstances under which these earlier forms of traveller surveillance and discipline were pioneered and contested, I seek to further both understanding of and possibilities for critical intervention in contemporary approaches to securing travel.

Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate at University College London and a Visiting Scholar at Carleton’s Political Science department. Her current research concerns shifting policy approaches to American citizens’ travel during the Cold War, with a particular focus on the US Passport Office. She is a political geographer and mobility scholar by training, with previous degrees from the University of British Columbia, University College London, and the University of Nottingham. Catriona’s current research and her visit to Carleton are funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council; her PhD fieldwork in Washington DC was facilitated by a six-month fellowship at the Library of Congress, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

FRI OCT 18 – Ingrid Waldron (Dalhousie) “Re-Thinking Waste: Mapping Racial Geographies of Violence on the Colonial Landscape.”

WED NOV 20 – Julie Talbot (Université de Montréal) “The Biogeochemical Heterogeneity of Peatlands.”

WED DEC 4 – Grad Student Research Presentations


WED JAN 15 – Kieran Findlater (University of British Columbia) “With Motive, Capacity, Intent: How South Africa’s Commercial Grain Farmers Fail to Adapt to Climate Change.”

WED FEB 5 – Koreen Millard (Carleton University) Title TBD

WED MARCH 18 – Michael Simpson (University of British Columbia) Title TBD