Profile for John Kelly

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John Kelly

Associate Professor
Geography And Earth Science
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Specialty area(s)

rural Latin America; indigenous cultures, territorialities, and property rights;  forest-agriculture dynamics; participatory research mapping; protected areas

Current courses at UWL

World Cultural Regions (GEO 110)

First Year Seminar (Great Cities: Redesigning how Humans Converge) (FYS 100)

Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean (GEO 318)


BA Geographical Studies, University of Chicago

MLA Landscape Architecture, University of California Berkeley

PhD Geography, University of Kansas



Teaching history

Maps and Society (GEO 102)

Power, Space, and Global Change (formerly Political Geography) (GEO 307)

Islamic Asia: Cradle of Civilizations, Geographies of Conflict (GEO 335)

Geography of Europe (GEO 304)

Maps and GIS I (GEO 305, formerly GEO 250)

Capstone (GEO 401)



Research and publishing

  1. Peter H. Herlihy, John H. Kelly, Andrew M. Hilburn, Aida Ramos Viera, Derek A. Smith, Miguel Aguilar-Robledo, and Jerome E. Dobson. Losing Ground: Indigenous Territoriality and the Núcleo Agrario in Mexico. In In A. Diener and J. Hagen, eds. Invisible Borders in a Bordered World: Power, Mobility, and Belonging, pp. 144-175. London: Routledge.
  1. Kelly, John. Village-scale territorialities in eastern Campeche state, Mexico. In M. K. McCall et al., eds. Territorialising Space in Latin America: Processes and Perceptions, pp. 35-55. Springer: The Latin American Studies Book Series. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-82222-4
  1. Kelly, John. Village-scale reserves in the forest frontier regions of Chenes and Calakmul, Mexico. Journal of Land Use Science 15 (2-3), 203-220. DOI: 10.1080/1747423X.2019.1648578
  1. Kelly, John, Peter Herlihy, Taylor Tappan, Andrew Hilburn, and Matthew Fahrenbruch. From Cognitive Maps to Transparent Static Web Maps: Tools for Indigenous Territorial Control in La Muskitia, Honduras. Cartographica 52 (1), 1-19. DOI: 10.3138/cart.52.1.3811
  1. Kelly, John. Water Sources and Uses on Individual and Common-Use Properties in Talea, Mexico [map]. In Jensen, D., Cowart, A., Powell, S., Roy, M., Sterling, C., Wachtel, M., eds. Water: An Atlas. Oakland, California: Guerilla Cartography.
  1. Kelly, John. Moskitia Hondureña: Tierras Indígenas y Áreas Protegidas [Honduran Mosquita: Indigenous Lands and Protected Areas] [map]. Produced for CA Indígena project, MASTA, FITH, and Alianza Verde, Honduras.
  1. Kelly, John. La Posesión de Tierra y la Producción de Agua [Land Ownership and the Production of Water]. Reflexiones - Revista Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Costa Rica 91 (1), 289-298.
  1. Kelly, John, Peter Herlihy, Derek Smith, Aida Ramos Viera, Andrew Hilburn, and Gerardo Hernandez Cendejas. Indigenous Territoriality at the End of the Social Property Era in Mexico. Journal of Latin American Geography 9 (3), 161-181.



John Kelly, Geography & Earth Science, co-authored the chapter "Losing Ground: Indigenous Territoriality and the Núcleo Agrario in Mexico" in Invisible Borders in a Bordered World: Power, Mobility, and Belonging published on Sept. 1 by Routledge. John Kelly collaborated with Peter Herlihy and other geographers in this book chapter culminating seven years of binational research. In sum: "while we acknowledge the creative agency of indigenous communities and individuals, the door is closing on the primary means of effective indigenous territoriality, as communal land holdings are converted into private property, and often then sold, in the absence of any legally-recognized regional territories."

Submitted on: Sept. 8



Brenda Leahy, Michele Nauman and Kalia Vang, all Academic Advising Center & Career Services; Ana Mendoza and Corey Sjoquist, both Admissions; Kaylie Connaughty, Heather Dutcher, Britney Heineman, Jake Speer and Maren Walz, all Advancement; Michael Abler and Renee Redman, both Biology; Zac Knutson, Budget Office; Dawn Hays, Campus Child Center; Mark Sandheinrich, College of Science & Health; Ashley Jochimsen, Counseling & Testing; Ryan Friesen, English; Samuel Schmidt, Exercise & Sport Science; Meredith Thomsen, Extended Learning; Ka Lia Smith, Financial Aid; John Kelly, Geography & Earth Science; James Longhurst, History; Natalie Solverson, Institutional Research, Assessment & Planning; Christine Manno, Management; Suzanne Anglehart, Microbiology; Anthony Chergosky, Regina Goodnow and Sean Hurtubise, all Political Science & Public Administration; Sandra Grunwald and Betsy Morgan, both Provost's Office; Nathan Barnhart and Jeff Keenan, both Rec Sports; Vitaliano Figueroa, Student Affairs; Kara Ostlund, Student Life; and Kyle Burke, University Centers; served Verification Tent Staffing during Move In Week. THANK YOU to the many staff and faculty who greeted students and their families at the Verification Tent during Residence Life Move In Week. These welcoming faces helped ensure those who are vaccinated are recorded as such and those who are not vaccinated had completed a negative COVID test prior to move in. We could not have completed this large task without their assistance. They have helped keep our community healthy and contributed to the campus-wide endeavor of welcoming students back to campus.

Submitted on: Sept. 13, 2021



John Kelly, Geography & Earth Science, authored the article "Village-scale reserves in the forest frontier regions of Chenes and Calakmul, Mexico" in Journal of Land Use Science published on Aug. 1 by Taylor & Francis.

Submitted on: Aug. 10, 2020



John Kelly, Geography & Earth Science, co-authored the article "From Cognitive Maps to Transparent Static Web Maps: Tools for Indigenous Territorial Control in La Muskitia, Honduras" in "Cartographica" published on April 19, 2017 by University of Toronto Press. As indigenous groups claim a fundamental role in the governance and management of the territories they inhabit, the evolution of digital and web-based maps continues to offer tools that support these activities, while demonstrating to state governments, educators, and others the distinct indigenous concepts and practices. In this article, UWL Assistant Professor Kelly and his co-authors recount the pioneering participatory mapping work they have led with indigenous Miskitu, Tawahka, and Pech communities in Honduras. One of their maps is featured on the cover.

Submitted on: April 20, 2017