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Africa: Where black is not really beautiful

Africa: Where black is not really beautiful | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Millions of Africans use harmful creams to bleach their skins despite the many dangers associated with the products, writes the BBC's Pumza Fihlani.
Seth Dixon's insight:

What is beautiful?  This is not an objective question; people around the world have different ideas about beauty and there are geographic patterns to these subjective judgements.  Ideas of beauty are often bound with culturally and historically specific context.  This case-study shows how the ethnic and political geography of South Africa has made many black Africans feel literally uncomfortable in their own skin. 

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Cultural Geography
Historical, Cultural and Social Issues of place and space
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Orthodox Jews in central Ohio toss old hot plates after tragic N.Y. fire

Orthodox Jews in central Ohio toss old hot plates after tragic N.Y. fire | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Some members of the Jewish community in central Ohio are tossing old appliances after seven Orthodox Jewish children died in a Brooklyn, N.Y., fire caused by a malfunctioning electric hot plate used to keep food warm during the Sabbath.

Via Courtney Barrowman
Seth Dixon's insight:

These deaths were so unnecessary, both from religious and a technological safety standpoints.  I do honor their desire to maintain religious purity and hope that everyone can finding a safe manner to do so; I think this will serve as a huge wake-up call to reconsider some traditions, or the interpretations thereof. 


All religions and folk cultures today are all searching for ways to maintain their most values tradition in a midst of a modernized, secular world that might often scorns them as backwards.  Most religions developed customs in a different technological and cultural context and finding how to do so is a balancing act...this was one of the over-arching themes of the classic film Fiddler on the Roof; Tevye, an observant Russian Jew searches for the core values behind his most prized traditions and seeks to keep observing them and his daughters continually push the limits of tradition.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 25, 10:29 AM

unit 3, many have been questioning how long is too long before truly reconsidering a longstanding cultural tradition. 

Courtney Barrowman's comment, March 25, 12:36 PM
I like the way you pointed out the balancing act of finding a way to keep the most valuable traditions in a modern technological and cultural context. Thanks for your input-
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On St. Patrick’s Day, Mexico remembers the Irishmen who fought for Mexico against the US

On St. Patrick’s Day, Mexico remembers the Irishmen who fought for Mexico against the US | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Amid the celebrations this St Patrick's Day, there are also more somber commemorations taking place. In Mexico and in a small town in Galway, Ireland, they are remembering the hundreds of Irishmen who died fighting for Mexico against the United States: the San Patricio Battalion.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is not a well-known story in the United States because it reveals the cultural prejudice against the Irish that was prevalent in the United States in the 1840s.  I first learned about them in Mexico City, walking by a monument, that memorialized St. Patrick's Battalion; a group of soldiers that deserted from the U.S. army and chose to fight with their Catholic brethren on the Mexican side.  


Questions to Ponder: Why are these historical events not usually mentioned in the U.S. national narrative?  Why is this seen as very significant for Mexican national identity?  What 'axes of identity' mattered to the soldiers in St. Patrick's Battalion?   

 

Tags ethnicitywar, Mexico, Irish, racismreligion.

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Tyler Anson's curator insight, March 22, 10:16 AM

This article is really neat, for it goes to show how the Irish culture has affected people across the world in Mexico. Since there were quite a few Irishmen who fought with Mexico against the US, a part of their culture was kept in Mexico and now St. Patrick's Day is celebrated with a special twist in Mexico (Honoring those who fought with Mexico).

Cade Bruce's curator insight, March 22, 7:00 PM

This shows how Irish culture diffused across the world to Mexico, and how it affects Mexican culture. The culture has assimilated with the Mexican culture, forming Multi-Culturalism in Mexico. The Irish culture has been mixed with Mexico's culture, creating a sort of unique combination.

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India's Dying Well of Death

India's Dying Well of Death | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Brave stuntmen have long been riding the near-vertical walls of India's Well of Death—but the popular spectacle is on the decline
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The Residents of Ferguson Do Not Have a Police Problem. They Have a Gang Problem.

The Residents of Ferguson Do Not Have a Police Problem. They Have a Gang Problem. | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Darren Wilson is not the first member of a gang to be accused of something he did not do. If only the cops of Ferguson extended to their own citizens the same due process he received.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The final reports show that there was not evidence to prosecute Darren Wilson of a federal crime...but it also showed the systemic racial inequalities in Ferguson, MO.  This is a very good article to use to explain what institutionalized racism is even if the official laws on the books aren't explicitly racist. 

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The town destroyed to stop black and white people mixing

The town destroyed to stop black and white people mixing | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Sophiatown, in the suburbs of Johannesburg, was once known for its bohemian lifestyle and vibrant music scene. But 60 years ago, the South African government decided to clear the multi-racial neighbourhood to turn it into a whites-only area.
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Matthew Connealy's curator insight, March 24, 7:51 AM

Sophiatown was known for their diverse culture and upbeat lifestyle. All of a sudden however, the South African government came to the city and cleared everyone from it except the whites. The whites had been complaining about their city, and the police reacted. The blacks and non whites were forced to move to Meadowlands with no street lights, identical houses, and no grocery store. The adjustment was tough on the black community, and many bread winners of families passed away due to stress. Nelson Mandela and the ANC attempted to fight back and protest the situation, but they knew a massacre would've occurred. The town now is back to normal, but it will never be the same.

 

This apartheid story is very interesting and shows how the non whites had to suffer in South Africa during this awful time. The struggles they went through on a daily basis were unforgettable. It is neat to read stories about it and gain better understanding for what they went through and how much society has changed over time. This topic fits right in with the cultural differences tab of the syllabus.

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10 UNESCO World Heritage sites with wild back stories

10 UNESCO World Heritage sites with wild back stories | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Murder. Greed. Oppression. Intrigue. The ruins at these UNESCO sites may be silent, but they tell some shocking and absorbing tales.
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AMA Voyages's curator insight, February 11, 3:51 AM

L'occasion de très beaux treks pour certaines destinations, comme Potosi ou Lumbini! une autre manière de découvrir ces sites majeurs.

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13 Yiddish Words We All Say

13 Yiddish Words We All Say | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Here are 13 Yiddish words we all say. How many of them do you use in your daily conversation?
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Tori Denney's curator insight, March 23, 11:29 PM
language and communications - Languages have shifted throughout the years and created many slang words to communicate. English is the Lingua Franca of the world, but has grown up from many other branches of languages. We use many everyday expressions from unusual sources, for example the Yiddish language. This language was the primary language to the Ashkenzazi Jews, and is today, only a primary language spoken by select groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews. For example, we often use the word "glitch" or "glitsh" (literally meaning “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem”), plus many others from all kinds of varying languages.
Ryan Tibari's curator insight, March 24, 9:35 AM

Unit 3:

This article applies language families to all the languages spoken in the world. All languages share similar origins, therefore they share words, phrases, and organization patterns. By reading this list, you may even notice some words you use without knowing anything about the language or the origin of it. 

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How to eat pork, drink booze and be a 'good' Muslim

How to eat pork, drink booze and be a 'good' Muslim | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Less than two weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks — and the subsequent demands that followed for Muslims to denounce violence — it's got to be a tough time to produce a light-hearted podcast called "Good Muslim/Bad Muslim." But that's not what hosts Taz Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh think.
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In a Beirut mansion, a city's culture is reborn

In a Beirut mansion, a city's culture is reborn | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
An architect’s plan to revive a cosmopolitan dream of the Middle East.
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▶ Shereen El Feki: A little-told tale of sex and sensuality

“If you really want to know a people, start by looking inside their bedrooms," says Shereen El Feki, who traveled through the Middle East for five years, talking to people about sex. While those conversations reflected rigid norms and deep repression, El Feki also discovered that sexual conservatism in the Arab world is a relatively new thing. She wonders: could a re-emergence of public dialogue lead to more satisfying, and safer, sex lives?

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a little more for a mature audience than I typically share on my Geography Education page.  Still, it is and incredibly well done TED Talk that discusses sensitive cultural issues in the Arab world.  Shereen El Feki also gave a great TED Talk on how pop culture mixes into the Arab world.  

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Is Courting Controversy An Urban Outfitters Strategy?

Is Courting Controversy An Urban Outfitters Strategy? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Questionable sincerity aside, the recent pileup of apparent missteps by the retailer raises another question: Is the company doing it on purpose?
Seth Dixon's insight:

If you are look for an example of cultural commodification that doubles as cultural appropriation, this is it. 

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Megan Becker's curator insight, March 23, 11:43 PM

Summery: Urban Outfitters repeatedly insults religions and ethnicity, and people are starting to wonder if they are doing it as a marketing ploy. This is shown through their "Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl" T-Shirts, Holocaust recalling star shirt, the Ganesha Tapestry, and many more offensive items for sale.

 

Insight: This article was eye-opening. Before reading, I would have looked at this tapestry and thought it was something cute I could hang o my wall or use as a blanket. But after reading, I think it's incredibly disrespectful to Hinduism followers. While I'm sure "freedom of speech" was called in at some point, it doesn't make it right to disrespect someones beliefs like that. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 23, 11:56 PM

I think Urban Outfitters is being culturally insensitive, and I agree with the critics. I believe the company is commercially exploiting various cultures because the consumers buy into them. Consumers generally want to feel cool, different, and cultured, so they buy many products that are offensive to various cultures. On the other hand, I think this demonstrates just exactly how cultural assimilation works. More and more people not native to a certain culture are adopting traits and customs of a particular culture. In this case, consumers are adopting some traits of Hindu culture simply through the fact that they have an aspect of the culture on a bed cover. I wonder if people a long time ago were mad about different people appropriating their culture as we are today. Or are we as a society today just more sensitive to these issues.

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Immigation in the United States

Immigation in the United States | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

Do you think it's easy to come into the United States "the right way?"  That simply isn't an option that is even remotely available for many would-be migrants. 

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Flaviu Fesnic's comment, December 7, 2014 2:25 PM
It's a tough job entering US ! I legally (of course ) tried ten years ago ! The US emabassy in Bucharest refused to give me a visa ! it's so frustrating ! no reason why ...
Adriene Mannas's curator insight, December 12, 2014 11:09 AM

Unit 2 Population

 

This picture shows the different ways to enter the country as an immigrant and how long it takes. There are many steps required and without some of these qualifications an immigrant can not legally get into the United States.  The picture makes a clear picture of how many people don't often even make it to the country. 

 

This relates to the population of Human Geography because often a large part of a countries population is made up of immigrants. Without them many cultures would not exist in other countries and a lot more people would die due to prejudices in former countries or war.  

Tori Denney's curator insight, March 24, 1:22 AM

Migrating - Whether you are a refugee, an internally displaced person or just seeking a better lifestyle, migrating countries is extremely difficult. This picture shares a little bit of truth about how hard and picky the United States system is about getting a green card or becoming a citizen of the United States is. The system takes into consideration, your family, your working skill, your relationships with others, and no matter what the circumstances, there's a minimum of a 6 year wait.

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Robert Reich: How a Wealthy California Town Makes Sure No Poor Kids Attend Its 'Public' School

Robert Reich: How a Wealthy California Town Makes Sure No Poor Kids Attend Its 'Public' School | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
A California school district hired a private detective to build a case against 7-year-old Latina.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I like the closing point of this article, that this issue begs the question, who are 'we' as as society, community and nation?

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Americans React To Watching "Sábado Gigante" For The First Time

Americans React To Watching "Sábado Gigante" For The First Time | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

"For millions of Spanish speakers worldwide, Saturday nights have belonged to one cultural icon: Don Francisco.  As strange as Sábado Gigante can get, the show’s Spanish-speaking audience just gets it. But to non-speakers, it’s a whole other story."

Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the most jarring cultural oddities I ever discovered when I moved to Latin America America was how everyone seemed to get Sabado Gigante but me, the North American.  I've decided that it is an 'acquired taste,' but one that requires some cultural context to fully understand it.  

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Mrs. B's curator insight, March 24, 8:30 PM

Haha, I remember my first time watching SABADO GIGANTE!!!!!

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How Mexico Learned To Polka

How Mexico Learned To Polka | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Renee Montagne speaks with Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR's Alt.Latino, about the link between Tex-Mex music and Eastern European waltzes and polkas.
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Michael Amberg's curator insight, March 22, 2:15 PM

This article shows how one culture can adopt another, but also change it to better suit their needs or wants.

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Young Afghan artist Kubra Khademi in hiding after sexual harassment protest in streets of Kabul

Young Afghan artist Kubra Khademi in hiding after sexual harassment protest in streets of Kabul | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
A young Afghan artist who walked through the streets of Kabul wearing a suit of armour featuring large breasts and buttocks in protest against sexual
Seth Dixon's insight:

She certainly struck a sensitive nerve which in his case indicates that her protest of the status quo was definitely warranted. 

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Quentin Sylvester's curator insight, March 17, 12:50 AM

Afghani woman wears a suit with exaggerated female anatomy in the streets of Kabul to make a statement against sexual harassment in Afghanistan - and only proves through being groped and having stones thrown at her that Afghanistan has a major problem in their views of women in society.

Ryan Tibari's curator insight, March 24, 9:33 AM

Unit 3 Reflection: This article really highlights the stand that women are making in order to fight for their rights and the view that other people have on them. Especially in a male dominated region such as Afghanistan, women standing up for themselves is a lot less common due to their fears of violent persecution. 

Emily Coats's curator insight, March 24, 12:31 PM

CULTURAL UNIT

Kubra Khademi, 27, is a young Afghan artist living in Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan) roamed the streets of Kabul wearing a suit of armor in order to protest against sexual harassment. A personal experience moved her to stand up in protest, but her actions were not accepted as she thought they might be. Many men were pushing and harassing her, throwing stones as well, causing her to flee her protest. She began to receive death threats for her actions, and is now in hiding. This is UNACCEPTABLE!! Women should be treated equally and fairly, and they have every right in the world to stand up in protest against sexual harassment. This article ties into cultural differences in attitudes towards gender in Afghanistan. 

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Sci-Fi Symbol Rooted in Folk Culture

As part of the Yiddish Book Center Wexler Oral History Project, Leonard Nimoy explains the origin of the Vulcan hand signal used by Spock, his character in the “Star Trek” series.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Leonard Nimoy was born to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Soviet Union in 1931.  His connection to the Jewish people was always very important to him and this is a great example of how folk/religious cultural traits can become part of popular culture. LLAP.

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Tori Denney's curator insight, March 23, 10:35 PM

folk culture vs. popular culture - Often, practices of folk culture can turn into popular culture and lose it's meaning. The example here begins with Nimoy's Star Trek character, Spock's, hand signal for waving hello. When Nimoy was younger he had seen the Vulcan culture do this hand signal for blessing others in a ceremony of something he wasn't sure of, but knew was very powerful and important. So, this is where Spock's hand signal idea originated. Because of this popular movie, over media, this spread worldwide, turning into everyone practicing this alien greeting. But, no one knew where it came from or even cared to find out that the hand gesture had very sentimental meaning to this folk culture. 

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The Brazilian Town Where the American Confederacy Lives On

The Brazilian Town Where the American Confederacy Lives On | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
One day last spring, near an old rural cemetery in southern Brazil, a black man named Marcelo Gomes held up the corners of a Confederate flag to pose for a cell-phone photo. After the picture was taken, Gomes said he saw no problem with a black man paying homage to the history of the Confederate States of America. "American culture is a beautiful culture," he said. Some of his friends had Confederate blood.

Gomes had joined some 2,000 Brazilians at the annual festa of the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, the brotherhood of Confederate descendants in Brazil, on a plot near the town of Americana, which was settled by Southern defectors 150 years ago.
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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, February 9, 8:29 AM

I am a woman of color. If you go to the Museum of the Confederacy you would be surprised to find the geographic regions where these people went ( and failed) It's quite an interesting story.

Padriag John-David Mahoney's curator insight, February 12, 10:26 AM

This is fascinating. Where some people of the United States view the confederacy as an embarrassing group of Americans in our history, other have embraced their history in culture instead of shouting it down and/or pretending they are not connected to it. Similar to the exiled fugitive Nazis in the post War period in Argentina. Men and women who did not want to live in a world where Germany was not master of all, they defected and came to south America where vestiges of that piece of their history can still be seen. This really is pretty cool

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Was Obama right about the Crusades and Islamic extremism?

Was Obama right about the Crusades and Islamic extremism? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
NEW YORK (RNS) No one is suggesting that Christians are just like the Islamic State. But Obama did suggest that Christianity is like Islam; both faiths have the capacity to be exploited by extremists.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a faux-controversy in my mind; of course Christianity as a religion with over a billion followers and thousands of years of history has skeletons in its closet.  Comparing modern-day atrocities of ISIS to horrors of Christian past is fair according to this article in the Religious News Service as well as this one in New Republic.  

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I never knew how differently France and America value religion

I never knew how differently France and America value religion | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
In the United States, we speak easily of different ethnic and religious communities. But the reality is far different in France, where the Charlie Hebdo attacks have brought religion and its place in French society back to the top of the agenda.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If the US embraces freedom *of* religion, France embraces freedom *from* religion.

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Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, January 25, 4:46 PM

I wonder how much America values religion. FRance on the other hand has a different value when speaking of religion.

 

Quentin Sylvester's curator insight, March 17, 12:57 AM

Unlike in the United States, a nation made up of many different communities, France seems to want to achieve the goal of being one nation made of one community. Through this, cultural and religious assimilation are common-and forced-for Muslims and Jews in the country, and religion is expected to be a private matter. This clearly shows the difference in societal views on religion and its place in the lives of the people of a country

Ryan Tibari's curator insight, March 24, 9:50 AM

It's interesting how two western civilizations view religions. America is very religiously based, and acts through their beliefs. In France, religion is not viewed negatively, but isn't quite as important as it is in America. The different views on religion are not necessarily extreme, but still pose as a difference between the two regions. 

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Who Owns Yoga?

Who Owns Yoga? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
India's appointment of a "Minister of Yoga" is just the latest development in an ongoing debate about who the practice "belongs" to, and who can rightfully make money from it.
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Hip-Hop, Cultural Authenticity and Appropriation

Hip-Hop, Cultural Authenticity and Appropriation | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
The whole hip-hop community has finally taken Azalea to task for building her career by stealing black musical sounds and styles and using her whiteness to sell them to the masses. In the process, she has done little to actually give back to the hip-hop community except be flagrantly offensive. And black hip-hop artists aren't standing for it any longer.
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Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 24, 12:17 AM

This is a very interesting article. I do agree with her critics that she is culturally insensitive. She has made numerous racist about not only black people, but Hispanic and Asian people too. This is another of example of cultural appropriation, and this demonstrates cultural conflicts. On one side, the people of hip-hop culture are criticizing her. One the other side, Iggy Azalea is defending herself from the cultural divide that exist between her and the real of the hip-hop community. I think this is also an example of cultural assimilation. Because Azalea grew up primarily listening to hip-hop and moved to areas of the U.S. with very high black populations, she has in a way assimilated to the hip-hop culture, though not completely. 

Ricardo Cabeza de Vaca's curator insight, March 24, 3:45 AM

I believe what Iggy Azalea did was wrong. She took an African American culture and transformed it into something it wasn't. It was a way to escape from the ghetto and she made it something for her own personal gain. I think it was right how she was attacked on Twitter and how she should stop stealing something that she has no right to.

zane alan berger's curator insight, March 25, 7:41 PM

This article is about the success of rapper Iggy Azalea with her shattering records and proceeding to be a nominee for a multitude of awards. On the other hand, however, it notes her large collection of critics against her overwhelming "control" of the hip-hop community.

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A Tweet On Women's Veils, Followed By Raging Debate In Saudi Arabia

A Tweet On Women's Veils, Followed By Raging Debate In Saudi Arabia | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
A prominent ultra-conservative figure says face veils for women are not mandatory. Now everyone is weighing in on the hottest topic in the kingdom.
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Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, January 25, 4:49 PM

Why women in Saudi Arabia have to wear face veils is beyond me.

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Why Eric Garner is the turning point Ferguson never was

Why Eric Garner is the turning point Ferguson never was | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Ferguson, Mo., has captured the nation's attention for the better part of the past four months. But in just a few short days in the national news, Eric Garner has become the political rallying point that Ferguson never has.

A new poll shows considerably more unhappiness with the lack of an indictment in Garner's case than in the one in Ferguson. And, perhaps most important as far as its impact goes, that unhappiness is significantly less connected to a person's race.
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Spot the Africa

Spot the Africa | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Trevor Noah joins The Best F#@king News Team Ever and challenges Jon to a game of Spot the Africa.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This has some very entertaining criticism, noting the problems in how Americans think about the continent of Africa...starting with the fact that we often treat it was one huge monolithic continent. 

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Adriene Mannas's curator insight, December 12, 2014 11:09 AM

Unit 1 Nature and Perspectives of Geography

Stran smith's curator insight, March 22, 7:54 PM

Africa