The photos we viewed in class have inspired me to add this to the list of places to visit over the course of my lifetime. The accomplishment of building up such a small piece of land on this scale is somewhat rare and often reserved for megacities on the larger continents.
A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youth in Cambodia.
This video is a great example of cross-cultural interactions in the era of globalization. Urban youth culture of the United States is spread to Cambodia through a former refugee (with a personally complex political geography). What geographic themes are evident in this video? How is geography being reshaped and by what forces?
This is a sweet and inspirational video out of Cambodia that portrays an ex gang member using his break dancing skills to reach out to youth in the area. KK instructs them on their break dancing skills but also teaches them the value of an education and to stay away from drugs and violence. He alerts them to be cautious to avoid contracting HIV and helps them to pursue bigger goals than most people in that area achieve.
This video portrays globalization because KK brought the very American break dancing to Cambodia and he has mixed it with some traditional Camobodian moves and music. He's teaching the kids about an American custom and helping them aspire to maybe even go to America in the future. He has taken his two culture, the one he grew up in and the one he came from and brought them together for a great cause.
Shanghai could arguably be the best example of globalization in the world today. In the span of 20 years, it has gone from a sparse city with some commerce on the river to a major urban center with the skyscrapers and neon lights. The transformation between the two images is staggering and it's easy to see the resemblance between current day Shanghai and it's partner globalized cities like New York and Seoul.
Watching this in class, I could feel my heart start racing a little as the river spilled over with such magnificent force when only a few minutes before, it had been completely calm. This tsunami devasted Japan back in 2011 and this video was taken miles inland from the area of initial impact. The force of the wave swept boats up onto the shore and poured muddy water into the park and building in this video with no mercy.
The most shocking feature in the video is the sharp contrast in Dhaka between the upscale side of the river where the richer reside and the other side of the river that is dark slums bleeding into the polluted water. The government is so fractured that it does nothing at all to help all of the illegal citizens who suffer in the slums and don't have access to any safe water or homes. I have never understood peoples' ability to turn a blind eye to such intense poverty that in places like Dhaka, makes up more than half of the population.
The damage that nature can do is absolutely appalling. I can't imagine living through such a terrifying storm that turns the ocean and winds into something equivalent to a nuclear bomb that flattened an entire city.
In a country this battered, fractured, dysfunctional – how much can she really hope to achieve?
The issue of female education in Pakistan has exploded after Malala Yousafzai was attacked by the Taliban for publicly advocating for girls to receive more schooling. This attack has lead several media outlets to take a more serious look at the gendered cultural and economic opportunities (or lack thereof) for girls within Pakistan. This NPR podcast also speaks of the real options in front of so many girls like Malala and the cultural and political contexts within which they navigate their lives.
Tags: gender, South Asia, podcast, culture, Islam, development, unit 3 culture, education.
I really love this article because the young girl being interviewed is angry and has had enough of the sexism in Pakistan. Malala Yousafzai has definitely become a role model for girls in her homeland and she has advanced girl's education by a large margin during her fight. The school systems in Pakistan are lacking because of the environments and the materials teachers focus on and Pakistani boys get a very different education in their religious schools but the girls have begun to work harder to equal up to them and make it to universities. There are still many restrictions on the jobs women can take but girls are beginning to fight that too. Pakistan has now had female political officials which has shown the generations of schoolgirls that they can truly do anything they set their minds too and Malala has helped prove that the movement can't be stopped by surviving her assassination attempt and continuing to campaign.
This video is so sad because HIV/AIDS in the DRC and other African countries is definitely preventable and treatable but due to the immense amounts of poverty and the lack of information about contraceptives and protection, millions are infected every year.
The man featured in this video mentions that the government does nothing to help fund medical centers or any other assistance and it is truly shameful.
KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.
This needs to be included for many reasons. 1) The geopolitical problem of child soldiers and endemic warfare in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to be analyzed from a spatial and geographic perspective. 2) The social media aspects of this campaign highlight many of the traits of globalization and is a major online movement right now. 3) This would be a perfect opportunity to have a political activist moment in your class (seriously, who isn't opposed to mass murder?). 4) We can teach our classes that geographers are not just going to learn about all the crap that is wrong with our Earth...we are going to fix it and use our resources to improve the human condition.
For a cultural analysis of the this video, see this NPR article. Yes the video is filled with oversimplifications and a poor cultural lens, but it has started a conversation and a conversation with students that I feel is worth having.
For my cultural musings on the video, see the comments section.
Maegan Connor's insight:
I was really glad to find this video on Professor Dixon's scoop it page because even after all that happened concerning the facts behind the video, it was still a very important part of 2012. This video was not truthful as many later discovered and the man who led the movement was later arrested for indecency, bashing some of his credibility, but this video still drew uncountable amounts of attention to the poor people of Africa and the genocide and suffering of child soldiers.
It is important for people to be aware of the problems in other parts of the world, especially senseless violence that has taken place in several African countries so this video did the world a service by alerting teens and adults to the horrors that take place on a continent that looks hopeless to the foreign eye.
In a bid to reconcile strict gender-segregation laws with a desire to increase employment opportunities for women, Saudi Arabia is planning to construct a new industrial "city" exclusively for female workers, Russian news agency RT reports.
The idea is mind-blowing to say the least. More women would be able to be a part of the workforce and move freely about women-only cities in Saudi Arabia than they could in 'regular' cities.
Question to ponder: would the implementation of this idea represent a cultural step forward for Saudi Arabia towards gender equality or would it be a step that further isolated women and is repressive? What do you think of the idea given the ingrained gender norms of Saudi Arabia?
We discussed this briefly in class and I stand by my statement that if done right, a women only city could be a magnificent idea. However, there are many other cultural variables to take into consideration in this particular situation. I believe that if Saudi Arabia built a women only city, it would be a much safer place for the women of the country, many of whom suffer at the hands of controlling men. However, they would become even further isolated from the outside world because women in Saudi Arabian cities are not allowed to leave the home and therefore, these women would not be allowed to venture outside of their city.
It would be a safe place for women to build lives and advance in education and the workforce, but they would be just as trapped, with a little more space to move. A women only city sounds like a terrific idea, but it would need to be executed correctly in the correct place and I do not believe Saudi Arabia is that place.
These photos are beautiful in their own way because they show the simplicity of life in Afghanistan for the common people who were not Taliban extremists, but rather peaceful Muslims living day to day. The landscape and housing on hills is similar to the favelas in Brazil as most of the Afghan population lives below the poverty line but this photo essay exemplifies the lives of the average people.
There is a photograph of a woman during a protest for violence against women which is still a very common problem in this region but the photo also exhibits that people are fighting it and it is no longer being covered up and quietly accepted.
Afghanistan is not just desert with U.S. soldiers riding through it heavily armed, it is home to people who want nothing more than live in peace.
This was a very enlightening video on what is going on in a part of the world that is neglected by many on this side of the globe. The boundaries of Russia, the former Soviet Union, have always been somewhat hazy to me because of the complicated areas like Chechnya. The areas in the North Caucases do not have independence although that is what the Chechens in this video are fighting for, yet they act as separate nations and have leaders and armies that run the area; they are just not sanctioned by the Russian government.
It is unfortunate that this region full of terrorism and violence is only now receiving attention because the attacks reached American soil because the area has obviously needed either help or guidance or at least needed people to be more aware for a long time.
This video was insightful because it can be really challenging to classify a region in certain parts of the world. Having a simple eastern and western Europe made a tiny amount of sense at the time of WWII but it hasn't made any sense since then. The boundaries in the southeastern part of Europe have changed on more than one occasion over the past 70 years and there are still border disputes between religious and ethnic groups that could result in new countries any day. I found the narrator's ideas funny but still better than the traditional region that already exist.
I personally group regions by the types of people that live in them and share very similar characteristics. Grouping parts of Europe is very hard because of the major cultural differences all over and because I am not highly educated on all of them. I find it hard to consider Greece a part of Europe at times but it is also hard to consider it a part of anywhere else. The countries that border Russia all seem similar to me because I don't have extensive knowledge of their cultures, although it is unfair that they are assumed to be completely impoverished countries.
With the constantly shifting boundaries and movement of people, Europe is very hard to group into regions and that is okay because regions do not have huge effects on the way the world is run, they only make it easier to break down into pieces.
I find the island biogeography to be really awesome because it's as if the small South Pacific islands are a completely separate world in terms of the creatures that live in the isolated environments. Growing up, the idea of the Komodo Dragon was terrifying and amazing because lizards are just supposed to be little, ugly reptiles and the existence of one large enough to eat us and named after the beasts in fairytales was fascinating. In Rhode Island, there isn't much in terms of exotic wildlife but even the species throughtout the rest of the U.S. don't completely compare to the rare creatures on the islands that have adapted to the conditions of living on small pieces of land.
The land bridge is something I don't recall ever hearing of before and the way that it influences the animals' evolution and expansion is fascinating. I think of it in terms of humans because when immigrants cross seas to go to different countries, they are forced to adapt and they're families evolve differently than they would have in their homeland. The land bridge provided similar challenges for the marsupials and reptiles that are/were located on the secluded islands.
Once again, I also find myself extremely annoyed with man's habit of killing off rare species for the selfish reasons of owning land and not being hunted by the animals whose land they've encroached upon.
While this is a kind of comical fascade for tourists, it draws attention to the insane amounts of pollution present in Hong Kong. The ships that dock in one of the world's largest ports are a great contributor to the thick smog that hovers over the city in addition to the normal urban pollutants like traffic, smoking and industry. Pollution is a major problem in all urban cities and government regulation needs to crack down on the subject because the dense smog that citizens are inhaling all day is slowly killing them.
Pollution leads to various cancers and other health problems which in China may help decrease the population but it will cause many more problems than it will solve. Hong Kong is an urban megacity center where thousands of corporations have their headquarters and important offices and pollution may get bad enough to drive certain companies out. Pollution can also destroy the value of any raw goods that come from the areas or perhaps even poison certain factory made products. With smog this thick, the pollutants are everywhere and can do serious damage to the environement and those who inhabit it.
This is incredible. All the religions of the world have branched off from the few stems and to think of all the turmoil religious wars have caused throughout the world's history is amazing when looking at this tree. They all came from the same ideas and ideals and yet the different branches and twigs that have been twisted and flipped around over time have torn families and countries apart. All of these religions are worshipped in different places across the world and it's just mindblowing to see where they all came from and what they have morphed into.
In North East India just north of Bangladesh is the province of Meghalaya.
This is an astounding video that shows a (literally) natural way that local people have adapted to an incredibly flood-prone environment. The organic building materials prevent erosion and keep people in contact during times of flood. The living bridges are truly a sight to behold.
This is so, so awesome. These people have suffered at the hands of nature for generations and now they have figured out how to use nature to solve the problem. They have constructed bridges with trees that takes hundreds of years to fully form so they pass it through their family generations to make life easier. India endures a harrowing monsoon season with many floods and landslides every year and these bridges will help the people to carry on with their lives above the river's reach. These people indigeous to the region deserve so much credit for the innovative ways they have discovered to deal with nature in it's angriest forms.
As funny as these quotes are, it's also slightly infuriating how ignorant some people can be when visiting a foreign place. Personally, I'm envious of their general experience of leaving their homes to experience a more exotic place and it's a shame that travelling is so commercialized and the concept of the "Ugly American" is just laughed off. The point of travelling is to experience something new, not the same normal thing just with different scenery.
In this video, it is inspiring to see the South African children have big dreams regardless of the situation in their country. Even though they are impoverished and the public school system remains segragated and insufficient, they have hope. Apartheid left deep scars on the country of South Africa and the kids in this video quite obviously still have hard times but they strive for education that is now available to them, continuing to work in the absence of teachers and struggling home lives.
If I was to create my own country, the first thing I'd do is make sure not to shoot down any U.N. helicopters. This video does show the very hard process of creating a country from scratch. I particularly enjoy the piece in which a government official attempts to explain taxes to folks at the marketplace because I probably had the same expression when taxes were first explained to me. "Why should I pay the government my hard earned money? They didn't do anything to earn it from me."
This video is a really helpful, simplified explanation of the fighting in Israel that is fiercely complicated and has gone on for decades now with one repressed group repressing another. If I ever need to explain the struggle to students, this video would be an excellent introduction.
The destruction that man can cause is sickening and will be our ultimate downfall as all the major resources of the world are used up for industry. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has had harsh consequences on the region making it much harder to sustain the populations in the area because agriculture and fishing industries have been ruined. Health problems and drought are now rampant in the area and it is all because of humankind.
The Afghanistan War has become one of the longest in U.S. history. United States military forces entered Afghanistan in late 2001, a few months after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Associated with this video clip is a set of seven lesson plans in a unit about the United States War in Afghanistan. Find the lesson plans with supplemental materials (graphic organizers, maps, photos, etc.) for a unit on The Afghanistan War at the Choices Program webpage.
I think the most interesting question asked was whether or not America will continue to care about wartorn, impoverished Afghanistan now that Bin Laden is dead. The answer is conflicted. Obama brought home large numbers of troops after being voted in for his second term but now that America is well aware of the country and its problems, there are still people who care about what is happening to it.
I always advocate for taking care of the U.S. before going out to fight someone else's war and the U.S. certainly needs plenty of help right now. But humanitarian assistance is also needed in Afghanistan and considering it was America that contributed to the problems, we should probably also contribute to the solution (although we should back out before forcing too much of our own flawed system onto their government.)
When Russia and China vote together on UN Resolutions (such as their recent veto of the UN Resolution on Syria), I always think to myself that in the two countries’ collective unconscious they realize that they are going to have...
Demographic facts: 1) China has more men than women. 2) Russian has more women than men. While these two facts are rather straightforward, their impact on society, gender roles, politics, economics and culture are quite complicated. This article chronicles how this 'shortage' of men in Russia has led to an imbalance of power in heterosexual relationships, altering cultural gender norms.
This article is digusting and shocking. The feminist in me flew at my screen when I read that domestic violence is "not only rampant...but accepted." I feel indescribable pity for women who live in a country where they are required to live under the rule of a man, even when there are not enough to go around, so they are forced to settle for brutes who know how much power they wield over the women. If it were acceptable for a woman to live as a single, independent individual, things would be much different but these girls who are held to lesser standards by their own culture have to suffer domestic violence and infidelity due to a shortage of men.
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