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Burning Man at 25 years

Burning Man at 25 years | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
The 25th Burning Man festival, with a theme of "Rites of Passage," took place Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2011, 120 miles outside Reno, Nev., in the Black Rock Desert, its home since 1990.

 

Counter-cultural festivals, alternative spiritualities and monuments to impermanance.  Why do festivals like this attract so many?  What does it culturally say about the participants and the society they leave behind?

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Donald Dane's comment, December 10, 2013 10:21 AM
A CRAZY HIPPY EVENT HELD IN THE DESERT OF NEVADA. ill be going next year though looked out of this world. this land has a very unique shape and can be seen from google earth as this perfect circle formation.
Cultural Geography
Historical, Cultural and Social Issues of place and space
Curated by Seth Dixon
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What was Rumi talking about?

What was Rumi talking about? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

"Sufi poetry has been largely misunderstood by modern pop culture. The misuse of Sufi poetry is symptomatic of modern culture's combination of materialism with self-spirituality. The theme that runs through the New Age movement is about experiencing the 'Self' because it is the way to experience the 'God' or 'Goddess' within. As noted by Peter Pels in his 1998 article 'Religion, Consumerism and the Modernity of the New Age', the New Age emphasis on self-spirituality is rooted in late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century occultism."

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10 All-American Foods That Foreigners Can't Stand

10 All-American Foods That Foreigners Can't Stand | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
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
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Joy Kinley's curator insight, April 3, 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, 7:55 PM
But I oh so love everything on this list ... pfff :-)
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Russian Wooden Churches

Russian Wooden Churches | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

"For those readers interested in architecture or those interested in Russian Orthodox cultural heritage, the website by architect Richard Davies is a wonder.  Davies stumbled across of set of postcards from 1911 that featured some old photos and drawings of wooden churches in Russia.  Inspired by the postcards, Davies traveled to Russia in 2002 to see which churches had survived the century of repression and neglect. This website, subsequent book and exhibit documents his successive trips and the churches which remain.  Through this work, he hopes to raise public awareness to attract funding for restoration, which the churches deserve."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a delightful set of images...this is a classic cultural landscape studies topic that would be perfect for a geography class to analyze and interpret. 

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Tracey M Benson's curator insight, March 31, 4:43 PM

Article about a beautiful website by architect Richard Davies that focuses on wooden churches in Russia.

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The ethics of photographing locals

The ethics of photographing locals | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

Too often I see tourists rush in to villages, and even homes, reaching for their cameras without attempting to make any connection with the people they are so anxious to photograph. Often this is without the permission of those they are photographing, or when those people are clearly uncomfortable.

I find this strange, and question the intent of tourists in these circumstances. What value is a photo of someone whose name you don’t know, a stranger with whom you haven’t had a conversation? Their culture, clothing and home may look different to yours. But what does that mean if you haven’t built any rapport with that person? When you look at their photo years from now, what will you remember about them and the interaction you had?

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In Pictures: Nomads of the sea

In Pictures: Nomads of the sea | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
The Bajau people live on their boats in the coral-rich ocean between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.


"From my grandfather to my grandchildren, we all live on the boat. We don't have gods, so my grandfather is like a god to me. He said I cannot stay on land. It's like a curse from him," says Bungsali, an older man who does not know his exact age. 

Bungsali is one of the Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies - an indigenous ethnic group who have a seaborne lifestyle. They originally come from the Philippines' Sulu Archipelago, coastal areas of Mindanao and northern Borneo. But they roam freely throughout the so-called "Coral Triangle" between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, living on their boats. The ocean is their home, their main source of food and income and, for the children, their playground.

In Malaysia's eastern Sabah state, the Bajau are believed to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown. 

But fewer and fewer Bajau Laut still practise a boat-based lifestyle. Many have moved to live in small stilt houses built on coral reefs or on small islands. One hundred years ago, the waters off Malaysia's Semporna district were full of gypsy boats. But now, only a few remain. In the near future, there might not be any Bajau Laut left living on the boats, only legends and stories will be all that remain.

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What is a foreign language worth?

What is a foreign language worth? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

"The cost of assuming that foreign customers will learn your language, and never bothering to learn theirs, is certainly a lot greater than zero.  The world isn’t learning English as fast as some people think. One optimistic estimate is that half the world’s people might speak English by 2050. That leaves billions who will not, and billions of others who remain happier (and more willing to spend money) in their own language."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Learn another language...it will expand your mental capacities and (according to this article in the Economist) fatten your wallet. 

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The Crew's curator insight, March 19, 10:16 AM

As highlighted by this article, I strongly believe that learning a second language such as Arabic or Mandarin would be extremely beneficial to an adolescent. These languages are profitable to learn due to the fact that we are having increasing business dealings with China and the fact that there is a high demand for people who speak these languages and a short supply.- Hannah

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Two L.A. gang members are apparently fighting for Syria’s Assad

Two L.A. gang members are apparently fighting for Syria’s Assad | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
They identify themselves as Wino and Creeper in videos posted online but offer little indication of why they're in Syria.


Two Los Angeles gang members appear to have joined the flow of foreigners flocking to fight in Syria – in this instance, on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. In a video posted online, the two men boast that they are on the front lines and fire their guns in the direction of what they call "the enemigos."

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After American Dominance: The New Pope's Foreign Policy

After American Dominance: The New Pope's Foreign Policy | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
What it means for the Middle East. By Massimo Franco


The stalemate in Syria has veiled a major change that occurred in last six months with regard to realigning global players engaged in the Middle East.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article explores the geopolitical dimensions of the Pope's policies and alliances.  

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Racist Episodes Continue to Stir Ole Miss Campus

Racist Episodes Continue to Stir Ole Miss Campus | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

On the campus of the University of Mississippi, a few hundred yards from a monument honoring Confederate soldiers, a statue of the university’s first black student, who enrolled in 1962 amid rioting that left two people dead, stands as what administrators call a powerful symbol of progress.


But when two unidentified men placed a noose around the bronze neck of James Meredith this week and left behind a flag with the Confederate battle emblem, it set into motion a new round of soul-searching in a place where past and present still restlessly coexist.


The administration’s careful pace has allowed the reputation of Ole Miss as a racial backwater to continue more than a half-century after Mr. Meredith enrolled.  “If you bill yourself as Ole Miss and you call yourself the Rebels and the first thing a visitor to the campus sees is a Confederate monument, whether intentionally or not, it conveys an image,” said Charles W. Eagles, a history professor. “And that image is an image tied to the past, not a 21st-century image.”

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How did G.I. Joe become the world’s most successful toy for boys?

How did G.I. Joe become the world’s most successful toy for boys? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

Since being launched in 1964, hundreds of millions of GI Joes have been manufactured and sold by Rhode Island-based Hasbro. And over those 50 years, hundreds of millions of adventures have been dreamt up by kids like Mr Allgood across the US and the globe. 


After the runaway success of Barbie, launched by Mattel in 1959, executives at rival toy firm Hasbro were scratching their heads, looking for something that might appeal to boys. Just don't call them dolls.


"The sales force was forbidden to use the term 'doll' - if anyone referred to it as a doll they were fined," says Kirk Bozigian, a former product manager at Hasbro.  Dubbed "men of action" or action figures, Hasbro chief executive Merrill Hassenfeld decided GI Joe would be the future of the firm, and planned one of the most ambitious launches in toy history.

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Salafists rally against Valentine's Day in Gaza

Salafists rally against Valentine's Day in Gaza | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Salafists in the Gaza Strip have tried to halt Valentine's Day celebrations, condemning them as a forbidden Christian holiday.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Not everyone is a big a fan of Valentine's Day, but there are cultural and geographic patterns to the celebration and the opposition to the day.  Here is one example. 

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Valentine’s Day as Youth Rebellion in India

Valentine’s Day as Youth Rebellion in India | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

In contemporary India this day holds a special significance especially for youngsters. More than the average date-night with an exchange of chocolates, gifts, and flowers, Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity for young practitioners to authenticate and reify their practice of dating and pursuing “true love.”

While arranged marriages are considered  the moral norm, pursuing individual love fantasies are potentially frowned upon and discouraged in a lot of modern Indian homes. Hindutva followers (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) also recommend boycotting the day labeling it western, anti-Hindu, a moral corruption of Indian youth.

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Why is young couple's romance causing a political firestorm?

Why is young couple's romance causing a political firestorm? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Why the affair between Yair Netanyahu and Sandra Leikanger is probably the most scandalous love story since Prince Edward and Wallis brought shame upon the British crown.
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Mrs. B's curator insight, February 9, 10:19 AM

#Netanyahu drama

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The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock

The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

"People choose to live in some pretty baffling places, like those towns sitting at the base of volcanos or the precariously placed monasteries in the Himalayan mountains. Here’s one that looks like it might have been hit by a meteor and residents just decided to carry on as usual…Welcome to the town of Setenil de las Bodegas in Spain, where around 3,000 inhabitants are living quite literally, under a rock."

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dilaycock's curator insight, April 8, 6:38 PM

An extreme example of the built environment working with the natural one. I don't think, however, that I'd be able to sleep well with this very visible weight hanging over my head! 

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 16, 5:56 PM

these places are so beautiful! We forget how beautiful the natural environment really is.

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Japan banned from Antarctic whaling

Japan banned from Antarctic whaling | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
The UN's International Court of Justice rules that Japan must temporarily halt its whaling programme in the Antarctic.


It agreed with Australia, which brought the case in May 2010, that the  programme was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo. Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it "regrets and is deeply  disappointed by the decision". Australia argued that the programme was commercial whaling in disguise. The court's decision is considered legally binding. Japan had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan.

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U.S. Ambassador Speaks Pidgin English; Nigerians Love It

U.S. Ambassador Speaks Pidgin English; Nigerians Love It | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Pidgin English is a second language for tens of millions of Nigerians, but it's not every day that you hear a diplomat speaking it. The U.S. ambassador recently gave it a shot in a radio interview.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a great example of cross-cultural interactions.  Pidgin is assumed to be a language of the lower classes and not of the diplomats.  Sometimes the best way to reach be is to meet them where they are at and validate their cultural expressions. 

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Two soccer teams, one blurring border | Al Jazeera America

Two soccer teams, one blurring border | Al Jazeera America | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Battle for players and fans between L.A. and Tijuana reflects cultural reality where the US and Mexico meet


At some point this month, Hispanics are set to become the largest racial or ethnic group in California for the first time, according to a report from the state’s Department of Finance. The same report also said that by 2060 Hispanics will be by far the largest group represented in the U.S. workforce, redrawing the map of American labor.

But California soccer fans could have told bureaucrats that the maps started being redrawn some time ago. As the global game has steadily infiltrated North America it has brought about demographic changes of its own. And in Southern California, in particular, the stage is set for a protracted battle for fans and players and, long term, perhaps the heart of American sports.

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Which Place Is More Sexist, The Middle East Or Latin America?

Which Place Is More Sexist, The Middle East Or Latin America? | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has lived and worked in both regions and says there's plenty of sexism to go around, though it comes in different forms.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm not trying to impose my view of gender norms, but just want to highlight that the question of what is sexist is itself a cultural construct and varies for place to place. 

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Ms. Harrington's curator insight, March 31, 7:32 PM

An interesting question - Cultural norms and sexism

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, April 14, 9:47 PM

Diversidade cultural! 

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Why I can’t stand white belly dancers

Why I can’t stand white belly dancers | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriation
Seth Dixon's insight:

I definitely don't have the cultural background to make a critique on the specifics in this article, but what I would like to highlight is the insider/outsider, home/exotic distinctions made here.  The author is accusing white women that belly dance of cultural appropriation by creating this 'brownface Orientalist façade.' Carried to one extreme, no one would ever be allowed to engage in other cultural traditions except from the culture in which they were raised if this argument were fully embraced.  On the other hand, engaging in any cross-cultural activity is inherently going to rub some people the wrong way.  Is there a single 'right' answer in this issue? 

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In Pictures: Palestinian parkour

In Pictures: Palestinian parkour | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Flying high over Jerusalem, young men engaged in the daredevil sport are winning over tourists.


Walking down the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, silhouettes of young men fly over market stalls in the souk. These daredevils are Palestinians practicing parkour, the death-defying sport combining gymnastics, acrobatics, running and jumping.

Developed in northern France in the 1990s, parkour participants perform in all types of urban environments, using only their bodies to leap, flip, and overcome obstacles. The sport also borrows elements from martial arts, rock climbing and other athletic fields.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a fine example of how a sport/performance can merge with place to create and enhance the cultural meanings in the actions. 

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'Captain Phillips' misplaced story line

'Captain Phillips' misplaced story line | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
On Oscar night, focus will be on issue of piracy instead of anarchy in Somalia.
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The rise of the 'cholitas'

The rise of the 'cholitas' | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it

Bolivia's "cholitas" are riding the crest of a resurgence that has seen them transform from being "maids of the middle classes" who were routinely stereotyped and discriminated against, to having real clout in the economic, political and fashion worlds.

With their high bowler hats, puffed skirts and coquettish demeanour, they may look like they have stepped out of an early 20th century television costume drama, but cholas - or as they are affectionately known, cholitas - are very much a driving force in modern Bolivia.

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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 21, 1:53 PM

The election of an indigenous president, Evo Morales, has allowed indigenous, and formerly repressed, peoples the ability to embrace their cultures and history and gain more opportunities, especially the cholitas.  Cholitas, historically, were rural peasants who migrated to the cities.  By no longer excluding this group of people, the economy has had the chance to grow.   Glamorized, elitist politicians and their agendas which are characteristic of many Latin American countries, are beginning to loose their grip on Bolivia's society, and this is especially benefiting the rural, indigenous, and/or marginalized people.  The cholitas acceptance in their own country and in global markets will change how this society, and other societies, view women and oppressed peoples.

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Why tensions are soaring in Mother (in-law) India

Why tensions are soaring in Mother (in-law) India | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
Despite opportunities gained by women in urban, middle-class India, social progress has not extended to relationship between women and mothers-in-law.


Economic liberalization policies over the last generation have created opportunities for women that their mothers never imagined: in 1991, 4 per cent of women were going to university but by 2011, 20 per cent of Indian women were taking up post-secondary education, according to UN figures.


Women are marrying later [and] are also having fewer children.  But as far as Venugopal is concerned, social progress has not extended to the relationship between women and their mothers-in-law, often called mummyji. The dynamic remains stuck in the Mughal era.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The gender gap is one issue but gendered norms are also different among generational cohorts.

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The Empowerment Elite Claims Feminism

The Empowerment Elite Claims Feminism | Cultural Geography | Scoop.it
As the movement enjoys a star moment, “controversial” issues risk being left behind.


At first, I wasn’t sure why TEDWOMEN—the feminist-minded spin-off of TED Talks that launched in 2010—troubled me. The San Francisco conference held this past December featured incredible speakers and performers. Swimmer Diana Nyad inspired. Poet Sarah Kay received a standing ovation. And Jane Chen—co-founder of a company that invented an affordable, portable infant-warming system for communities in India without incubators—brought this mom of a preemie to tears. But the impressive participants weren’t enough to quell my uneasiness.

It might have been the homogeneity of the audience—mostly white women with coiffed hair—or the gift bag so voluminous that it required a “gift bag guide.” Maybe it was the ticket price: nearly $1,000. (Though TED’s general conference costs more than seven times that much. Maybe this was TEDWomen’s gender-wage-gap bargain?)

It wasn’t that the conference—filled with what one attendee called “the empowerment elite”—serves as a sort of Feminism 101 for the wealthy.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Race and class issues are important to any discussions that focus on gendered differences in cultural institutions. 

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Outdated Sports Mascots

Watch the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air. Get involved by contacting the Washington Professional Football Team, the NFL and the Washington Post:...
Seth Dixon's insight:

The National Congress of American Indians did not have the funds to run this ad during the Super Bowl to promote their campaign to get the Washington Redskins to change their mascot.  Some argue that it is not offensive but this simple video powerful shows how many Native Americans feel insulted by this anachronistic moniker.  

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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 3, 10:52 AM

The superbowl game as well as the commercials that air during it is very telling about the United State's culture.  So much so, that someone who is totally unfamiliar with the culture could learn a whole lot about how our country spend its time, what we eat, what we value, our politics, and how people from other areas interact with eachother.  This is very important when thinking about what we do not see during these games, like this commercial which did not have the funding to air.  Has the idea of race become so much of our cultural mindset that people turn a blind eye to a NFL team called the "redskins" and deem it unoffensive?  This video is powerful because it shows that a diverse, expansive group of people could not possibly be given an umbrella term.