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Unit 3 (Cultural Geography)
Folk and Popular, Language, Ethnicity, and Religion
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Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques

Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it

"Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.  It's a side of Iran the rest of the world doesn't normally get to see -- the kaleidoscopically brilliant interiors of the country's intricately designed mosques.With beautiful mosaics and stained glass framed by powerful architecture, the buildings are astounding."

 

Tags: religion, culture, Islam, Iran, Middle East.


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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:30 PM

It is interesting to see how the social and cultural factors surrounding Iranian mosques posed barriers to taking these pictures. The pictures show the beauty and colors of these mosques, showing how important they are to their history and society.

Evan Margiotta's curator insight, January 4, 6:43 PM

Often the normal American has trouble understanding what other religions are and mean. Seeing the architecture of that place may help to develop a deeper understanding of the religion. In this case, many Islamic norms can be seen in this mosques, for instance there are no pictures or representation of the human form. Architecture is an important way for religions to express them selves and allow others to learn more about them.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, March 4, 9:45 PM

When looking at these photographs of the Iran Mosques I would have to agree that these pictures are both dazzling and stunning, you would not think that a place filled with such controversy would have such amazing symmetric mosques and buildings. I recommend to look at these pictures because they show Iran in a different light, a light where Iran is more of a artistic location rather than a violent location. 

The photographer is also an inspiration because first off he taught himself to take photographs but he also gained the opportunity to photograph this mosque. The beautiful art shows different historical importance with architecture that can not be seen much around the world today. I agree with the article where it says the images look as if the mosque has been seen through a kaleidoscope.

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Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it

A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.

 

This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table.  Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel.  This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. 

 

Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping. 


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Persian or Iranian? Is there a Difference?

Persian or Iranian?  Is there a Difference? | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it
Over the next few months, Ajam Media Collective will host a series that focuses on and describes various elements of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic mosaic that we refer to collectively as Iran...

 

What is in a name?  We know that there are subtle differences between Hispanic, Indigenous, Latino and Mexican that are bound with the history of these words and how they have been used by both insiders and outsiders to construct identity.  Likewise, the distinctions between the terms Persian and Iranian are often used interchangeably.  However there are political, ethnic, linguistic and religious connotations that shape the meanings behind these terms.  While I don't necessarily agree with all of the arguments, this is an interesting look at the historical roots of these distinctions and the ramifications of these terms.   


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Ms. Harrington's comment, July 3, 2012 11:17 PM
This is interesting, I have wondered this myself, when hearing a person describe themselves as Persian. The article goes on to say being Persian is a cultural subset of Iranians, who share a common language and culture. It can be conditered a cultural or political statement to call ones self Persian rather than Iranian.
Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 2014 11:23 AM

This has always been a question between my friends and I, as one of my friends identifies as Persian. In my limited experience in the US it seems that the people who identify themselves as Iranian have immigrated in the last two generations or so. In comparison to families which came over quite a few generations ago who refer to themselves as "Persian"

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 29, 2014 3:58 PM

When speaking about this topic it is important to recognize that Iranian and Persian are not the same. I believe in this classification as well as others placing people into groups of any kind can be dangerous. I enjoyed the comedy routine included in this article by Persian-Iranian-American comic Maz Jobrani. I thought it was very clever how he poked fun at the fact that he prefers to be called Persian at times because in this post 9-11 world it seems "softer". I thought it was hilarious how he mentioned cats and rugs and tried to emphasize the "softer" side of Persia.

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On Israel's system of segregated roads in the occupied Palestinian territories

On Israel's system of segregated roads in the occupied Palestinian territories | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it

Tags: MiddleEast, territoriality, transportation, borders, conflict, governance, political, unit 4 political. 


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Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 2014 11:32 AM

A relatively grim reminder that even things as clear-cut as road systems can be inherently political. This system forces segregation by the law of which roads can be driven on, but it's a good jumping point to remember that even the placement of roads can exclude or include communities. I'm reminded of the proposed idea for a NAFTA superhighway running through Mexico, Canada, and the US. One of the criticisms was that the highway would not provide exits for anywhere but major economics centers, effectively cutting off small towns from the rest of the area.

Zach & Wafeeq's curator insight, November 4, 2014 5:04 PM

Area/Geography: This is a diagram of what Israel is like for Palestinians and Israelis. It shows extremely restricted access for Palestinians. Whereas Israelis have all of the roads. This diagram fairly falls under the Area/Geography category because of the fact of how the Israeli government is manipulating the area/geography of the land of Israel to suit their best interest. 

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, December 7, 2014 9:03 PM

What a powerful image and message that is being represented.As a geography student and someone who is newly learning of this area this segregation was a surprise to me.

 

Israelis are able to access all roads while Palestinians are forbade from doing the same. Palestinians are restricted to only roadways and passages that are outlined in white.I was also interested to know that the officials that enforce these rules are able to tell if someone is of Palestinian decent by the color of a your license plate. This seems to be such an unfair practice. It does not seem that Palestinians are treated as equals in this area.

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As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey

As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit

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Joshua Choiniere's comment, December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
This is really interesting professor
Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 6:34 AM

How to handle it?

 

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, January 8, 2013 1:15 PM

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.

 

Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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Inside Mecca

For over 1400 years, Mecca has been one of the most important cities in the Arabian Peninsula. By the middle of the 6th century, there were three major settl...

 

As the heart of Islam, Mecca brings in pilgrims from around the world.  This documentary gives a great overview of the historical, spiritual and cultural reasons why this is sacred space to over one billion Muslims.  Additionally, this documentary contains an analysis of the logistics that are a part of the Hajj.  

 

Tags: Islam, tourism, place, transportation, religion, Middle East, culture. 

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NYTimes video: "Skateistan"

NYTimes video: "Skateistan" | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it

"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that."  Issues of ethnicity, class and gender are right on the surface.  Globalization, cultural values and shifting norms make this a good discussion piece.  


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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 2014 1:25 PM

This is an inspirational video it is very powerful to see someone trying to make life better. The young Australian man that has created this program should be applauded. Watching this video you can tell that this simple gesture brings so much joy to these children. One feeling that comes to mind is yes countries can seem different but they can also seem familiar. These children are just like any others they want to play and have fun. I think this is a wonderful program for them to help them forget about the dangerous world they live in.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2014 2:03 PM

This is a good example of the use of soft power in areas where American culture is not popular. Instead of using military force to exert western Ideals on the people of Afghanistan. This Australian may have found a way to close the gap towards bringing our cultures  closer together.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 14, 2014 8:01 PM

In a society that is seen by most of the world as strict and rigid, it was interesting to see these children having fun and breaking the mold of traditional afghan kids. What makes this even more fascinating is that female children are doing some of the skating. With gender issues a hot topic in some Middle Eastern countries, letting kids have fun before being made to conform to tradition is a nice experience for them. While they still respect the culture to they belong to, it is a break from that and a breathe of fresh air for them. These youth are not seen primarily as men and woman, but as children.