Cultural Geography
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10 All-American Foods That Foreigners Can't Stand

10 All-American Foods That Foreigners Can't Stand | Cultural Geography |
Red velvet cake does not sit well with many foreigners. They dislike it because it is packed with chemicals and food coloring. Many think that is tastes bland and that the only flavor coming through is the artificial coloring taste. They would much prefer a true chocolate or vanilla cake.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I hate to break this to you Americans (and yes I am one), but not everyone likes your food.  This list highlights the fact that what we enjoy is socially crafted within our own cultural groups with distinct sensibilities.  The short list:

  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Grocery Bread
  • Biscuits and Gravy
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Grits
  • Chocolate
  • Bacon and Eggs
  • Spray Cheese
  • Casseroles
  • Cereal
Joy Kinley's curator insight, April 3, 2014 10:19 AM

Culture determines what food that you eat.  American foods are a blend of different cultures as well as convenience products.  The convenience foods are full of different chemicals and perservatives that alter the flavor of foods. 

Even for foods that we think would taste the same like chocolate there is a large difference in taste.  I agree that some of the things like grits or biscuits and gravy would seem odd if you hadn't grown up with them.  Red Velvet Cake (the only part I like about it is the Cream Cheese Icing) has a chemcial taste as does the cheese products, such as cheese in a can.

However just as foreigners don't like some American foods some foreign foods taste equally strange to Americans, even things that seem that they would taste the same such as soft drinks in other countries. 

However Peanut Butter and Jelly is wonderful (it is difficult to find peanut butter in many countries) but I agree that European chocolate is much tastier.

Mr. David Burton's comment, April 5, 2014 7:55 PM
But I oh so love everything on this list ... pfff :-)
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 28, 2014 10:45 AM

unit 3 & Unit 5

Cultural Geography
Historical, Cultural and Social Issues of place and space
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Why Pixar Remade Certain Scenes for Foreign Viewers in Inside Out

Why Pixar Remade Certain Scenes for Foreign Viewers in Inside Out | Cultural Geography |
If there’s one thing that Inside Out’s main character Riley hates, it’s broccoli. Or is it? Last week Pixar tech artist David Lally pointed out on Twitter that Japanese children watching Inside Out will see Riley balk at a different green veggie: peppers. But that’s not the only change made to help the film translate better....
Gregory Stewart's curator insight, Today, 9:51 AM

You will get an interesting perspective on the making and the marketing of this movie.

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Is Racism Alive And Well In South Africa's Schools?

A viral video in South Africa apparently shows pupils of Johannesburg's Curro Roodeplaat school being separated into groups by skin color after they get off a bus. The school released a statement saying it drives pupils who take English, most of whom are black, and those who take Afrikaans, most of whom are white, in separate buses. This is not the first time it's happened, and the government is relaunching investigations.
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I Have Been Sitting on Manspreaders For the Last Month and I Have Never Felt More Free

I Have Been Sitting on Manspreaders For the Last Month and I Have Never Felt More Free | Cultural Geography |
How I snapped and started taking up as much space as I deserve.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Public space has historically been masculinized and women often are marginalized in spaces, but also in terms of how much space they culturally feel they are are allowed to occupy.  Here is a humorous account one woman who is demanding her space.  

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Catacombs make a comeback as Jerusalem seeks room for the dead

Catacombs make a comeback as Jerusalem seeks room for the dead | Cultural Geography |
In a city rapidly running out of cemetery space, Jews are looking to a 2,000-year-old solution.

For Jews seeking eternal rest, the most coveted real estate on Earth lies in the soil of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the city is rapidly running out of room to bury the dead. And so it has come to pass that an Israeli burial organization has teamed with a cutting-edge construction firm to bore deep under a mountain here to create a vast underground necropolis — with ­elevators. The first phase of the new subterranean city of the dead will include 22,000 crypts, arranged floor to ceiling in three tiers, in a network of intersecting tunnels now being dug through the rocky clay soil beneath Jerusalem’s largest cemetery.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 21, 9:40 AM

unit 3

Seth Forman's curator insight, May 26, 6:36 PM

Summary: As Jerusalem runs out of space along the outskirts of the city, they must find more places to bury there dead as it is a religious tradition for Christians and Jews to be buried, so urban planning must be adjusted for catacombs in order to bury the dead.


Insight: This article is relevant to units 3 and 7 because it shows how religious traits can effect a city plan or model.

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 9:32 AM

Religion- bury dead

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From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation

From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation | Cultural Geography |

In Baltimore in 1910, a black Yale law school graduate purchased a home in a previously all-white neighborhood. The Baltimore city government reacted by adopting a residential segregation ordinance, restricting African Americans to designated blocks. Explaining the policy, Baltimore’s mayor proclaimed, “Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidence of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.”

Thus began a century of federal, state, and local policies to quarantine Baltimore’s black population in isolated slums—policies that continue to the present day, as federal housing subsidy policies still disproportionately direct low-income black families to segregated neighborhoods and away from middle class suburbs.

Whenever young black men riot in response to police brutality or murder, as they have done in Baltimore this week, we’re tempted to think we can address the problem by improving police quality—training officers not to use excessive force, implementing community policing, encouraging police to be more sensitive, prohibiting racial profiling, and so on. These are all good, necessary, and important things to do. But such proposals ignore the obvious reality that the protests are not really (or primarily) about policing.

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The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice

The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice | Cultural Geography |
Fried yellow chilis. Baja-style fish. Not the typical Chinese restaurant fare, unless you're near the U.S.-Mexico border. The reasons go back to an 1882 law enacted to keep Chinese out of the U.S.
Gareth Jukes's curator insight, May 27, 9:50 AM

Popular and Folk Culture-

This article explains how folk culture can spread into pop culture, such as Chinese cuisine near the U.S Mexican Border.

This article creates a sense of folk culture and popular culture because it shows how a Chinese cuisine was diffused into America, becoming popular cultural food, and blending with other closer cultures.

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What I learned by befriending Iranians on Facebook

Iran looks a certain way to Westerners. But a look into the day to day lives of normal Iranians can change that perception.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Because the government of Iran is not the people of Iran.  I daresay that seems painfully obvious, but we can forget that simple truth.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, April 11, 12:34 PM

Because the government of Iran is not the people of Iran.  Just like the people hear in the US, we people are not like our government . The people of Iran love the people here I  the US. Most Iranians are simple people living simple lives

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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 |
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.

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 |
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.

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).

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India's Dying Well of Death

India's Dying Well of Death | Cultural Geography |
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 |
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. 

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 10:06 PM

This clear example of barriers to culture and other things, shows that not all problems are because of the police, but the lack of engagement in certain communities. 

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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 |
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.
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 |
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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East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu

East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu | Cultural Geography |

The artist and visual designer Yang Liu was born in China and lives in Germany since she was 14. By growing up in two very different places with very different traditions she was able to experience the differences between the two cultures first-hand.

Drawing from her own experience Yang Liu created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are. The blue side represents Germany (or western culture) and the red side China (or eastern culture): the image above represents the boss's influence over other workers.

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How to make sense of Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official accused of passing for black

Her story is mind-bending, but so is the concept of race itself.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Her individual story might not warrant the attention it is getting, but it is challenging many people's very notion of race--and that is worth discussing.  Race as a concept is part biological, but primarily a social construct that is can break down and be incredibly 'slippery.'

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Shaving Dogs Into Cubes Is A New Japanese Craze And We Can't Stop Staring

Shaving Dogs Into Cubes Is A New Japanese Craze And We Can't Stop Staring | Cultural Geography |
Dog lovers in Japan have taken grooming to a whole new level of strange by styling their dogs into perfectly trimmed and symmetrical cubes.

Japan, a country known for their love of turning everyday items and things into block form (see the 'square watermelon' for proof), are so taken by the craze that it’s proved a big hit at this Tokyo dog show.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Because culture. 

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6 Words: 'My Name Is Jamaal ... I'm White'

6 Words: 'My Name Is Jamaal ... I'm White' | Cultural Geography |
Jamaal Allan is a high school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. People make assumptions based on his name alone, and that's taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters.
Joy Kinley's curator insight, May 7, 11:33 AM

It is interesting the assumptions we make purely based on a name.  

Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, May 25, 11:25 PM

Many people judge others just based on their name and don't even get to know them before they make assumptions about them. Allan has been treated completely differently because of his name and people are always rather surprised when they meet him because of how ethnic his name sounds. Our culture today expects certain things just based on names or how your voice sounds or what you wear.


This article is related to cultural patterns and processes by the effect of language and culture on our names, which cause others to judge us, sometimes wrongly or rather unfairly.

Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 10:00 PM

This is a really interesting point at how we automatically stereotype people into certain ethnicities based off their names. It shows how people put up boundaries in their mind that if something is this, then something else must be true as well.

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The Skin I’m In: I've been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I'm black

The Skin I’m In: I've been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I'm black | Cultural Geography |
Desmond Cole on what it's like to live under constant suspicion
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a long read, but VERY much worth it.  Don't think for a minute that the justice system is color-blind...wishing that it were so doesn't change what is.    

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Turkey's Erdogan condemns Pope over Armenia 'genocide'

Turkey's Erdogan condemns Pope over Armenia 'genocide' | Cultural Geography |
Turkish President Erdogan sharply criticises Pope Francis for using the term "genocide" for the killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule in WW1.
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Why it's not easy being Jeremy Lin

Why it's not easy being Jeremy Lin | Cultural Geography |
It isn't Kobe's taunts or humiliating viral videos that have made this the toughest year of Jeremy Lin's life. It's the feeling that, as hard as he tries, he just doesn't fit in.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There is some good cultural geography in this sports profile of Jeremy Lin. 

Ellen Van Daele's curator insight, May 25, 4:51 PM

This article explains Jeremy Lin's rise and fall to success. He started as a young basketball player with huge ambitions. He is half Chinese and Taiwanese, and a minority in the basketball world. His career hit off and he became the star player, signing contracts to play in major basketball teams.


His success and fame was soon over with hate spreading on social media and his performance on the field decreasing. This shows how popular culture, like social media and the internet can have a huge impact on the successful and famous people of today. 

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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 |

"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.  

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 |
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.
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 |
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. 

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


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.

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 |
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.
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