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The Real Irish-American Story Not Taught in Schools

The Real Irish-American Story Not Taught in Schools | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The crop failure in Ireland affected only the potato—during the worst famine years, other food production was robust. Michael Pollan notes in The Botany of Desire, 'Ireland’s was surely the biggest experiment in monoculture ever attempted and surely the most convincing proof of its folly.' But if only this one variety of potato, the Lumper, failed, and other crops thrived, why did people starve?  Thomas Gallagher points out in Paddy’s Lament, that during the first winter of famine, 1846-47, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry—food that could have prevented those deaths. Throughout the famine, as Gallagher notes, there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I teach my students that famines reflect a lack of power (political and economic) more so than they are indicative of an absence of food in that region.  The Irish potato famine exemplifies the three main causes of food insecurity: 

1. Redirection of food

2. Destruction of capacity to grow food

3. neglect of the starving

 

Images 13 and 14 in this blogpost powerfully highlight that the famine was not an accident, but the result of a deliberate British policy. 

 

TagsIreland, foodeconomiccolonialism, poverty.

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Brien Shanahan's curator insight, March 24, 10:04 AM

I teach my students that famines reflect a lack of power (political and economic) more so than they are indicative of an absence of food in that region.  The Irish potato famine exemplifies the three main causes of food insecurity: 

1. Redirection of food

2. Destruction of capacity to grow food

3. neglect of the starving

 

Images 13 and 14 in this blogpost powerfully highlight that the famine was not an accident, but the result of a deliberate British policy. 

 

Tags: Ireland, food, economic, colonialism, poverty.

ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 27, 7:32 AM

I teach my students that famines reflect a lack of power (political and economic) more so than they are indicative of an absence of food in that region.  The Irish potato famine exemplifies the three main causes of food insecurity: 

1. Redirection of food

2. Destruction of capacity to grow food

3. neglect of the starving

 

Images 13 and 14 in this blogpost powerfully highlight that the famine was not an accident, but the result of a deliberate British policy. 

 

Tags: Ireland, food, economic, colonialism, poverty.

Bob Zavitz's curator insight, March 28, 7:05 PM

I teach my students that famines reflect a lack of power (political and economic) more so than they are indicative of an absence of food in that region.  The Irish potato famine exemplifies the three main causes of food insecurity: 

1. Redirection of food

2. Destruction of capacity to grow food

3. neglect of the starving

 

Images 13 and 14 in this blogpost powerfully highlight that the famine was not an accident, but the result of a deliberate British policy. 

 

Tags: Ireland, food, economic, colonialism, poverty.

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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 | Geography Education | 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:

On St. Patrick's Day and afterward, many people shared happy pictures of Ireland, and that's lovely but I wanted this story.  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.  They were 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 were the 'axes of identity' that mattered most to the those in St. Patrick's Battalion?   

 

Tags ethnicitywar, Mexico, Irish, racismreligion.

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Connor Hendricks's curator insight, March 23, 2015 4:40 PM

This is a good way to show how countries can work togeter and respect each other. A group of irishmen fought to defend mexico during the Mexican-American war

 

Jacob McCullough's curator insight, March 23, 2015 6:44 PM

This is definitely interesting this breakers down cultural barricades and sets inside differences 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 22, 2015 8:15 AM

The story of the San Patricio Battalion was completely unknown to me. The Mexican War is a largely glossed over event in United States History. Our national narrative seems to jump right from the Jackson years  to the crisis years before the Civil War. When the Mexican War is brought up, it is usually in reference to how it influenced the debate over slavery's expansion into the west. Even more glossed over in our national  narrative is the widespread discrimination aimed at German and Irish immigrants in the mid ninetieth century. The discrimination aimed at the Irish explains this battalions decision  to fight for Mexico. The Irish had more ties to Mexico than the United States. The Irish were often persecuted for their Catholic faith in the United States at that time. Their decision is quite understandable  when viewed in the proper context.   

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St Patrick's Day celebrated around the world – in pictures

St Patrick's Day celebrated around the world – in pictures | Geography Education | Scoop.it
From Moscow to New York via Vilnius and the pyramids of Egypt, St Patrick's Day is celebrated with parades and a lot of green face paint
Seth Dixon's insight:

Being in Chicago on Saint Patrick's Day one year was the highlight of my trip.  Seeing the river green was truly an impressive sight and the pictures don't quite do it justice.  Today, 34.5 million US residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2011, more than 7 times population of Ireland.

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Pedro Arocha Silva's comment, March 18, 2013 10:55 PM
Nice Chicago pic :D
Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 10:35 AM

St Patrick's day has become a truly worldwide holiday. It seems that everyone wants to be Irish. In the United States the nations Irish community has made this celebration a key day on the calendar in the United States. St Patrick's day celebrations have become an integral part of American life and culture. I often wonder, what people in Ireland actually think of our American St Patrick's day. Do they commercialize the holiday to the same degree that we do? At any rate, the holiday continues to grow in popularity.  I see that as a positive for the entire Irish community.

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A Barrier to Peace

A Barrier to Peace | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.


These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles."  Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation.  Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction.  Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape.  For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.

 

Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall?  Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?       


Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 30, 2013 12:14 PM

The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:13 AM

This article is about large walls which were constructed fifty years ago to separate a part Belfast, Northern Ireland to protect citizens from conflicts between loyalists and separatists. Q wall separating people could temporarily protect people from violent conflict, but it would undoubtedly ensure continued conflict and intensify the feeling of "Us vs. Them." Though the people interviewed from both sides of the wall in the article like the wall since it gives them a feeling of security, the wall is likely damaging to a peace process in Northern Ireland.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 2:56 PM

We have seen walls in our class on pictures and videos but it usually is dividing tourists from natives, rich and the poor, even racial reasons. One of the comments made in this article was it felt safe with a prison atmosphere which statistics show that a lot of inmates who are released end up as repeated offenders because they had no other life except prison life. They are accustomed to it and know the rules and know how to live. I guess that is how these people feel. Culturally though they will not expand and experience only what their culture has to offer what will happen when they get old and the birthrate does not keep up with the death rate? I couldn't live like this.

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Skellig Michael: An Island Far, Far Away

Skellig Michael: An Island Far, Far Away | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Star Wars Epiosde VII was filmed on Skellig Michael island in Ireland. What better place to depict an ancient, mystical, martial asceticism in a galaxy far, far away than an actual ancient eremitic settlement, dripping with stone-cold monastic austerity, located at what was for centuries the very ends of the earth, seven miles off the very tip of a western Irish peninsula?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This island is dripping with geologic, biogeographical, and religious intrigue that makes this world heritage site a place that is shrouded in mystery.  This article from JSTOR Daily is a great introduction to the island for the incurably curious.  The already vibrant tourism industry is bound to increase after Star Wars used this incredible location in the recent film (much like New Zealand experienced a huge spike in tourism after the Lord the Rings films).  Filmmakers understand the power of place to deepen the narrative; they frequently situate their stories in a geographic context that will heighten the emotional impact of the story.  For more on the dramatic locations of Star Wars filming sites, see this article by National Geographic

 

Tags: geologybiogeography, religionChristianityplaceIreland, tourism.

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J. Mark Schwanz's curator insight, January 4, 10:33 AM

Skellig Michael is sure to become a more common geographical interest since the success of Star Wars. 

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Tourism in Belfast, Ireland

"Belfast has been coming into its own in the last few years, developing a vibrant restaurant scene, award-winning architecture and a new cosmopolitanism."


TagsIreland, culture, architecture, tourism, Europe.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Have you ever wondered why Northern Ireland a part of the U.K.?  Read this article from the Economist

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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 11:39 AM

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.