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Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
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The Strategic Importance of the Caspian Sea

"Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Eugene Chausovsky examines the Caspian Sea's large energy reserves and its conflicting maritime boundaries."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world's largest lake went from having just two countries on its shores to five. Dividing the maritime borders has been especially difficult since the Caspian Sea has rich energy reserves and this lake will remain a place of strategic interest for many regional powers.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom.    

Tags: borders, political, geopolitics, Central Asia, energy, resources, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russiaeconomic, water.

Dean Haakenson's curator insight, November 2, 10:02 AM

Again, thanks, Seth!


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Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Gordian Knot

Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Gordian Knot | Geography Education |
Is this an opportune moment for Eurasian powers to tackle the festering Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Recently Crimea has has been a hot topic and in years past Chechyna was another much discussed topic.  Both of these ‘hot spots’ have some important geographic reasons as to why they are hot spots.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent re-emergence of the Russian Federation have created geopolitical ripples that reverberate throughout the region.  Transnistria, Abkhazia and Novorussiya are places that few have ever heard about, but are now becoming critical locations for international relations because of they have an uncertain status that might shift soon.  One place to add to that list is Nagorno Karabakh, a region that is ethnically Armenian but nestled within Azerbaijan.  This article argues that now is an opportune moment to settle this issue that has been festering since the 90s, even if many feel that the international community is indifferent on the issue.    

Tags: political, sovereignty, territoriality, statesAzerbaijan, Armenia.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, May 19, 12:26 PM

You can find this on

Jason Wilhelm's curator insight, May 27, 12:44 PM

The Crimea region has been hotly debated and fought over for quite a while now. The collapse of the USSR created a power vacuum in Eastern Europe which led to the contest for power in many of the former Soviet Satellite countries, including Ukraine. The Crimean peninsula, while mostly occupied by Russians, is legally a part of Ukraine, but maybe not for long. The Russian government is seemingly working to annex the peninsula while the Ukrainian government is working to keep it. The region will continue to be under lots of tugging and pulling for a while until a single government wins in to their nation. 

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Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous.

Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous. | Geography Education |
Oil-rich, velvet-rope-poor Azerbaijan, a country about the size of South Carolina on the Caspian Sea, would very much like to be the world’s next party capital.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Azerbaijan has limited cultural prestige and international recognition, but it has great quantities of oil, and they are parlaying that wealth into an important geopolitical position in Central Asia.  It appears that Baku has ambitions to become the next Dubai.

Tags: Azerbaijan, political, development, Central Asia, unit 4 political.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 1:43 PM

Much like Dubai they are using their oil wealth to build a city on the ocean.  Also they share a border with Iran, which makes the US even more interested in the area.  They also as of late have supported the US against Russia in the Syria conflict.  This small, but oil rich and strategically located country is getting involved in geo-politics and want to make sure people know its on the map.  Long a part of the USSR it is establishing itself as a country in the world and on its way to make its own idenity.  They are also looking to lay a gas pipeline that will just increase their standing in the economy of the area and the world.  They still have thier issues, Russia could flex its muscle in the area and there is the the ongoing conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.  Going to be an interesting time in this part of the world.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 19, 8:09 PM

Azerbaijian's plans on becoming the next Dubai are interesting.  They are playing on their oil resources to help them become wealthier and more independent.  It will be cool to see the blueprints come to life and if they were accomplish they goals.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 21, 6:43 PM

It is nice to see countries prospering after the fall of the soviet union however I do not feel this is an original idea. Oil rich individuals creating  man-made islands founded on wealth and consumption. I believe this is more of the same. There is even talk that the Caspian Sea is not this color (pictured above) more of a brown from all the oil drilling that has provided the wealth to these individuals.

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Welcome to Baku, the Fiercely Modern, Millennia-Old, Capitalist-Socialist, Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan

Welcome to Baku, the Fiercely Modern, Millennia-Old, Capitalist-Socialist, Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan | Geography Education |

"Since 2006, when the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline prompted a surge in crude oil exports -- up to a million barrels a day travel through neighboring Georgia and on to Turkey and the West -- there’s been no shortage of cash in Baku. Now, the city is eager for the prestige that goes with it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Baku is described in this article as an East-West, socialist-capitalist, Muslim-secular, ancient-modern mishmash due to the numerous cultural and political interactions that it has had.  This makes for a fascinating cultural landscape emerging in a city that has been dubbed "the Dubai of the Caucasus" but still has a rich Silk Road history.  Caspian Sea oil lies at the heart of Azerbaijan's geopolitical importance and cultural aspirations. 

Tags: Azerbaijan, political, Central Asia.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 7, 11:05 AM

A very interesting article by Christopher Bagley

James Hobson's curator insight, October 26, 10:03 PM

(SW Asia topic 7)

Dubai isn't the only over-the-top oil-rich city in Asia. Azerbaijan's city of Baku has become a booming economic center, as well as the center of national pride. The recent success of Baku can be attributed to exports from oil pipelines. Despite this growth, the city lacks the tourism component (though this may change soon in the future). It seems as if Baku is taking time to plan ahead and get ready for the title of an international destination by already having planned out hundreds of thousands of occupancies and building world-class stadiums and hotels. This may be in response to the infrastructure strain which is facing Dubai. If this problem continues to haunt Dubai, Baku may gain the upper hand in the end, showing that patience may very well pay off.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 27, 7:08 PM

With Baku the capitol of Azerbaijan very quickly growing and expanding with the amount of money coming in from oil revenue it can be good an bad.  With the pressure on people talking to the press and all the negativity that could potentially come with it people choose to talk about the benefits.  People see this as another way to get an income, using the tourism aspect of the growth to bring people from around the world in and show them that they aren't some poor war torn middle eastern country.  In the post Soviet era people generally seem happier even with the city around them drastically changing.  People see the change as good as some of the places they were in are becoming points of historical interest.

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Technology and Tradition Collide: From Gender Bias to Sex Selection

Technology and Tradition Collide:  From Gender Bias to Sex Selection | Geography Education |

"Every year, as a result of prenatal sex selection, 1.5 million girls around the world are missing at birth.  How do we know these girls are missing if they were never born? Under normal circumstances, about 102 to 107 male babies are born for every 100 female babies born. This is called the sex ratio at birth, or SRB."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How do local cultures create these demographic statistics?  How do these demographic statistics impact local cultures? 

Tags: gender, technologyfolk culture, statistics, China, population.

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