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Professor's New Book Awarded Prestigious J.B. Jackson Prize

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
March 4, 2009

“The American College Town” by Blake Gumprecht, associate professor of geography, has been awarded the J. B. Jackson Prize for 2008 by the Association of American Geographers. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual meeting March 22-27, in Las Vegas.

The book was published in November by the University of Massachusetts Press. It is the first book written about life in U.S. college towns, and explores the distinctive character and culture of these exceptional places that are so prominently held in the American mind.

"College towns are exceptional places, worth knowing and worth knowing about. They are an essential component of American geography. They are part of what makes life different in these United States. They reflect the singular nature of American higher education and the indelible characteristics of American culture," says Gumprecht, who also chairs the department of geography.
Gumprecht’s first book, “The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth,” published in 1999 by the Johns Hopkins University Press, also was awarded the J. B. Jackson Prize. He is the first two-time winner of the award.

The J. B. Jackson Prize is awarded annually to a book about the United States that conveys the insights of professional geography in language that is interesting and attractive to a lay audience. It is the most prestigious award for geographers writing about the cultural landscape of the United States.

The award was created to honor influential essayist and teacher J. B. Jackson, founder and longtime editor of “Landscape” magazine, who was once called by the New York Times “America’s greatest living writer on the forces that have shaped the land this nation occupies.” The Association of American Geographers is the leading professional organization for geographers in North America and boasts more than 10,000 members around the world.


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