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The idea of flash mobs has spread quickly, diffusing at a time when online video sharing can immortalize the moment in time and social media can amplify the audience beyond just one place.
I LOVE this particular flashmob (as a bonus, 'read' the cultural landscape to try to identify where this took place). While there are many types of successful flash mobs, all share one characteristic: place matters. The place where a flash mob performs is not simply a stage; place is a crucial part of the meaning of the flash mob. An incredibly prominent place with open spaces and many sight lines is a prime location for a flash mob. Beyond these tangible characteristics, if a site has some importance cultural significance, those qualities can be meshed with the meanings of the flash mob. For more of my musings on flashmobs (and extra clips) you can continue reading here: http://geographyeducation.org/whats-new/articles/place-and-flash-mobs/
Tags: place, space, diffusion, popular culture.
Flash mob in the school by Drama Class?
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"Geographer Reece Jones discusses his recent book Border Walls, examining the history of how and why societies have chosen to literally wall themselves apart. He gives a brief history of political maps, how international lines reshape landscapes, and how the trend towards increased border wall construction contrasts with the view of a “borderless” world under globalization."
This 30-minute audio podcast is a great preview of Reece Jones' book Border Walls; and discusses many concepts important to political geography. The physical construction of barriers is an old practice (Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall), but those borders were the exceptions. The recent proliferatrion of walls to separate countries is dramatically reshaping our borders and impacting economics, politics, migration and other geographic patterns (How recent? Over half of the borders with walls and fences we see today have been constructed since 2000). Although walls are often justified as a means to prevent terrorism, most of the world's walls can best be explained as dividing wealthy and relatively poorer countries to prevent migration (download podcast episode here). You can also read his New York Times article on the same topic.
Tags: book reviews, podcast, borders, political, landscape, states, territoriality, sovereignty.
Looking forward to reading this. Seth Dixon's insight mentions the current practice of building walls that separates the haves from the have nots is telling. Is it possible to include natural resources in the whole wealth question? Is damming water a form of building a border wall?
This broadcast states how advances in cartography over time maps borders of territory that became public in europe since the 180's, before that places to travel to were only by memory. After WWII orders were recognized and redrawn. Maps and borders organizes land around us as fixed territories to control. It allows territories control over their land and authority. Less than 5 borders or fences shortly after WWII existed and now there are at least 50 ,75% which are within the last 70 years. Physical walls being built slows human travel, borders wealthy from poor--US/Mexico has one of the largest gaps where US GDP is greater by 4 to 1 compared to Mexico (US$40,0000
Mexico $10,000 us dollars) India/Bangladesh border also illustrates this. They share the same Bengali languge, with 15 million Bangladeshis living and working in India. This border is 4000 km long with 200,000 border agents employed. The border fence is about 10 ft high doubled barbed with many gates and flood lights (no camerastation in space because of the flood lights). Bangladesh cross into India to visit relatives living there, and work. Bangladesh has poor standards of living and India has increased standards of living. Bangladesh has over 160 million people , 1238 people per sq km (dense population) in the comparable size of US state of Iowa, is a low lying area with floods, (Ganges River empties into Bay of Bengal) and as sea levels rise one meter flooding occurs.
The future of borders between $$wealthy and poor and world trade capital movement ,investments of US in other countries and trade of other countries into the US, and the poor becomes a threat to the territories (states, countries) sine they cannot move around in the world. Morre walls and fence borders are to com. In the last 15 years walls and fences has increased between countries to protect resources and control their area and even used strategically to their own advantage for resource control, political control and military advantages while affecting the environment, economics and peoples way of life.
This is a must read book which has won Geography awards and very insightful.
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows.
This is a very intriguing infographic (download high-resolution image here). How are old colonial patterns a thing of the past? How do old colonial patterns continue to affect the African continent?
Tags: Africa, states, language, infographic, historical, colonialism.
This infographic is a great introduction to the historical genesis of South Sudan and the political uncertainty and difficulties that it now faces as an independent country.
Tags: South Sudan, political, sovereignty, Africa, territoriality, states, unit 4 political.
Since World War II, African nations have gained independence after many, many years of being ruled by other countries. For many of these newly independent countries, there have been struggles over how to set up the government which results in some conflict. South Sudan is in that transitional stage now, and it is an example of how complicated it is to establish a new government.
BONUS: See Mrs. Ramsey for an article about a particular issue that people in South Sudan are experiencing, and an opportunity to write a paragraph for credit toward your class.
WOW! such interesting visuals to help understand the formation of this new political state.
While city lights at night serve as a good proxy for population density, North Korea provides a dark exception.
This image is appears to be a regional inset of the classic Earth at Night composite image however this nighttime remote sensing image was taken from Sept. 2012. The Earth at Night image is typically used in classrooms to discuss what this actually means for human geography (Population density? Development? Consumption? Where? How come?). However, this particular portion of the global image focused on the Korean Peninsula highlights two other specific issues:
Tags: economic, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, territoriality, states, unit 4 political, remote sensing.
This cliché image of "North Korea in the dark" reinforces preconceived ideas about the "totalitarian" state and how terrible life must be without electricity. Well, one aspect of this political geography is the effect of US-backed sanctions against North Korea and the severe ecological and energy crisis under which it has struggled for the last two decades. Just as electricity is not simply a "natural" resource, neither is energe consumption nor shortage.
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.
While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations. 65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system. This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing.
Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain? Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained? With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?
Go undercover with National Geographic correspondent Lisa Ling as she journeys into mysterious and reclusive North Korea.
We know so little about life in North Korea since they have the world’s least free press (that is not hyperbole--Freedom House ranks countries from 0 to 99 with 0 being the most free and 99 being the least free. North Korea has recently "improved" its rating to 97, the worst in the world). Official coverage is highly censored and filled with government propaganda. This 2009 glimpse is incredibly poignant.
Tags: East Asia, development, states, poverty.
What is more likely to happen first: Greece will leave the eurozone, or Scotland will leave the UK?
Although there is currently only about 30% of Scotland that would support independence, this is something that will be gaining importance. The United Kingdom is a complex political entity, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland connected with England. The "divorce referendum" will be help on October 2014 to see if Scotland wishes to dissolve this union and many of the political and economic events throughout Europe will be seen through this prism, especially the Euro Zone crisis in southern European countries (e.g.-Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal). The possibility that this might happen are small, but as the article stated, "not zero."
Tags: devolution, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.
The shape of a state can greatly impact the political cohesion of a country as well as it's economic viability. While this is obviously a fictitious map, it draws our attention to the logistic difficulties that confront Palestine with the Israelis controlling crucial transportation access points and corridors.
Questions to Ponder: How is this a 'persuasive map?' What are some of the geographic impacts of this fragmentation on Palestine? For Israel?
Tags: cartography, MiddleEast, political, states, territoriality, unit 4 political.
The violent protests at U.S. embassies this week seemed to catch the new Middle East governments flat-footed. So are these attacks an aberration on the rocky road of nation building, or a harbinger of a region moving toward greater chaos?
This nicely puts the political instability of North Africa in context to understand the recent attack on U.S. embassies.
Tags: MiddleEast, political, states.
This is the short version of the differences between these interrelated places and terms; the long version is much more complicated than this.
Tags: Europe, political, unit 4 political, states, toponyms.
I found this picture really informative. Previously I was unaware what the actual difference was between Great Brittan and the United Kingdom! Each line on this map represents a story, and in some cases long standing fueds.
I found these cartograms from an article in the Telegraph and was immediately impressed. The cartograms originated here and use data from the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project as to create the int...
This series of cartograms shows some imbalanced populations (such as the pictured Australia) by highlighting countries that have established forward capitals. Question to ponder: Do forward capitals change the demographic regions of a country significantly enough to justify moving the capital?
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.
204 countries are participating in the Olympics? There aren't even 204 countries in the world! This article looks at the political geography of international recognition. One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan. Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me). Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies? There are more classroom resources based on the Olympics from the GA.
architectural conjecture :: urban speculation :: landscape futures...
In the 1960s when the island of Surtsey (literally) erupted onto the scene off the coast of Iceland, it's national sovereignty was not really called into question. The seamount, or near island named Ferdinandea in the Mediterranean is not even an island yet and countries are already positioning themselves to claim it. Only 6 feet below sea level, this seamount is incredibly valuable real estate because is a country can successfully came this territory, they could also lay claim to an Exclusive Economic Zone, extending up to 200 nautical miles beyond the coast.
Questions to ponder: How much do you agree with the author's assertion that geography explains the foreign affairs of the U.S.? Is there any environmental determinism in this argument?
This is a great article that explains how America's location affects American's worldview. As it states in the article, America's neighbors are Canada and Mexico, niether of which are hostile towards us, and fish. Therefore, the US had a lot of room to grow and have its system of compromise. This then translates to our foreign policy where we try to make compromises around the world but the world do not have the same benefit that we do. Even though we have been attacked, we are too far away to be affected in such a way that would tear the country apart. We are safe when compared to the rest of the world because of our location, and that security affects how we react with the rest of the world.
There are so many facets to geography and the United States has certainly benefitted from all of them; from location to abundant natural resources to cultural histories. I think this is a good introduction to the topic.
"As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was 'the best on the planet.' It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope."
Not all migration is voluntary and this woman's personal struggle to flee North Korea alternates between heartwarming and heartbreaking. Her accent is thick, but it is worth it to her her story from her own mouth.
Tags: North Korea, migration, political, East Asia, development, states, poverty.
We've been studying North Korea and the conflict between North and South in our World Geography classes. This is an interesting perspective and story - one that definitely helps to understand the plight of many North Koreans as they struggle to leave and subsequently create new lives elsewhere.
The filmmakers present a 12-step program to establish the world’s newest country: South Sudan.
What does a state need to have to be politically viable? If you were to start your own country, what would you need to do? This isn't just a hypothetical question since South Sudan is currently undergoing this process and having to answer these questions.
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states. South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage. By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them. Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.
Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.
Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Take note Kate and Johnny!!
"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.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?
Lost in the election day enthusiasm throught much of the United Statees was coverage about Puerto Rico. A 'non-binding referendum' was on the ballot to reconsider the 114-relationship with the United States as a territory. 54% voted for a change, while 46% favored the status quo. The second question was asking how to change that relationship: 61% voted for statehood, 33% endorsed a sovereign free association, and 5% for independence. President Obama has gone on record stating that he'll support the will of a clear majority. We'll see what this means, but we are a lot closer to 51 states than we've ever been before. For more information, see Matt Rosenberg's assessment.
Tags: USA, political, states, autonomy.
Tags: Middle East, political, states, perspective, unit 4 political.
Today, a country’s marine economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line (hi-res image). This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).
Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies? Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions?
Tags: economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.
Across Africa, a continent where the average age is about 19, protests have flared against leaders who may have outstayed their welcome.
This interactive mapping feature compares two distinct data sets in an attempt to show that the two are correlated on the continent of Africa. The base layer of this thematic map is demographic, noting how much of the overall population in a given country is under the age of 16. The interactive feature with point data describes the political unrest or instability in that particular country.
Questions to ponder: Does the cartographer 'convince' you that Africa's having a very young (globally speaking) demographic cohort led towards greater political instability? Are there other factors worth considering? What does this map and it's embedded data tell us?
Tags: Africa, political, conflict, unit 4 political, states, governance, population, demographics, unit 2 population.
The the United States, 9/11 is memorialized in our landscapes and is etched in our collective consciousness. This coming Tuesday is the anniversary and Teaching History has put together a host of teaching materials about the importance and impact of the terrorist attacks of Septemper 11th, 2001 on the U.S. and the world.
Tags: Landscape, terrorism, conflict, states, political, place, historical, unit 4 political.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the knottiest border problem of all.
The historical events of 1948 and 1967 loom large in the formation of the borders in the region of Israel/Palestine. This is the most contentious border in the world with competing political/cultural factions with distinct territorial visions for the place. To complicate matters, other countries (most notably the United States and European countries siding with Israel and Arab states with other Muslim-majority countries supporting Palestine) are involved in the region, making this the most contentious border in the world. As Frank Jacobs said, “considering how deep those divisions are, it’s remarkable how relatively new the current set of borders is.” This is an intriguing analysis of an incredibly important set of borders that have larger geographic repercussions despite the short distances and relatively small populations involved.
This is the site for the United Nations at a Glance. Here you will find information and links on history, members, visitis, employement and other details.
While some critize the ineffectiveness of the organization, the United Nations remains a key organization to get understanding modern geopolitics. Through their UN voting patterns, we can assess the geopolitical motivations, interests and alliances of member states. Also, initiatives (whether successful or not) and highlight the important issues of the day that globally aware students should understand.