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The tragedy of the Arabs

The tragedy of the Arabs | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A THOUSAND years ago, the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various Arab caliphates were dynamic superpowers—beacons of learning, tolerance and trade. Yet today the Arabs are in a wretched state. Even as Asia, Latin America and Africa advance, the Middle East is held back by despotism and convulsed by war.  

Pluralism, education, open markets: these were once Arab values and they could be so again. Today, as Sunnis and Shias tear out each others’ throats in Iraq and Syria and a former general settles onto his new throne in Egypt, they are tragically distant prospects. But for a people for whom so much has gone so wrong, such values still make up a vision of a better future."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While the title of the article is more inflammatory than I would prefer, the analysis in this article from the Economist does a good job linking the cultural, economic and political struggles in the Middle East.


Tags: political, culture, economic, Islam, MiddleEast.

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:46 AM

For Arabs to advance, need people to work together. However, unfortunately, there are a  lot of different ideals with religions, politics, and different points of views. They need to stop the war, but that is not simple. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:47 PM

The introduction of the article does bring up an interesting historical concept, at one point in time the Arab world absolutely eclipsed the Western World.  While the west lingered after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arab world had universities, great thinkers, was pioneering medicine, and had a tolerant culture.  What happened is the Middle East stagnated (in my opinion after the various Crusades the Westerners fought).  Today, the Middle East is one of the most dangerous places on the planet to live.  One may ask what happened?  The answer is plain, various military dictators, as referenced to in the article angered the people who began to hate them.  Sadly, many of the dictators were backed by the Western Powers, mainly the United States and its allies.  The Middle East will not be fixed over night, and the region may not be able to have democracy like we Americans have.  Not every region in the world practices American Federal Democracy, and for good reason, it cannot fit every country's need.  Eventually, the Middle East, I am hoping will rebound but hearts and minds need to be won.  Perhaps, one day the Middle East will rebound like Vietnam did after decades of war.  I am hopeful that one day the Middle East will begin competing with the west and have a system of freedom that works for the area.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 6:34 PM

This article about the Arabs is very knowledgeable and forthcoming. The author details what was once the greatness of the Arab world, how they have lost their way, and what they can do to get it back. When Arabs ruled the world through trade they were accommodating to all religions and women had freedoms they do not currently enjoy. Now Shia's and Sunni's have a genuine dislike for each other and this sectarian violence shows no signs of abating. Religious freedom is not only a thing of the past, but is usually met by penalties up to and including death if you don't practice the correct form. What company wants to come the region to build their business? A culture that keeps its women in a constant state of repression is indeed troubled.

So much has to happen for the Arabs to be prosperous; how about allowing religious freedom, how about treating women equally? Until these two things happen the Arabs will be forever tagged with the word potential....

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Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy

Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Is limiting the use of the Arabic word for God a sign of growing intolerance towards minorities?
Seth Dixon's insight:

In Arabic, the word Allah means God.  Christian Arabs refer to God as Allah and Arabic versions of the Bible reference Allah.  As Arabic and Islam have diffused in interwoven patterns, the linguistic root and the theological meanings have became intertwined to some.  BBC World and Al-Jazeera have reported on this issue as the Malaysian government has attempted to ban the use of the word Allah to any non-Muslim religious group.  Language and religion just got very political.  


Tags: languagereligion, political, Malaysia, SouthEastAsia, culture, Islam.

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Caterin Victor's curator insight, June 25, 2014 4:25 PM

 Yes !!  The religion of love and peace, is not a religion, and sure that  not a pacific love,  just a bunch of hatred and criminals wich endanger  the  world, in the name  of a pedophile crazy, Muhamad, and  and  inexisting  allah, a  Devil, not a  God !!  The  Obama`s   "Holly  Curan ", a  dirty   instruction book  for killing !! 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 27, 2015 8:28 AM

Religion and politics are often effect each other in ways people can never imagine. Even in Western nations, were religion is separated from the state, religion still plays a major role in many political debates. This law banning the use of the word Allah by non- Muslim people in Malaysia is an extension of the political movement within Islam. Politics has been the major reason for the rise of the radical sect of Islam. It developed as reaction to the perceived westernizing of Muslim nations that was occurring in the 20th century. The Iranian revolution was a response to the westernizing polices of the Shah. It replaced a secular government with a theocratic one. ISIS main goal is to establish a caliphate i.e. a ruling empire. Throughout history, religion has been used as an excuse to build dynasties and gain more power. Politics in the true motivation behind much of this radicalization.

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'Neo-Andean' architecture sprouts in Bolivia

'Neo-Andean' architecture sprouts in Bolivia | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Brash, baroque and steeped in native Andean symbols, the mini-mansions are a striking sight on the caked-dirt streets of El Alto, the inexorably expanding sister city of Bolivia's capital."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The pre-Columbian symbols of the condor, serpent and Tree of Life adorn the architecture of these brightly colored ballrooms that also have European-imported chandeliers, arches and other baroque elements.  The spread of globalization is often assumed to be a homogenizing cultural force, but local cultures typically take elements of the global, and make it their own.  The global becomes local and deeply rooted in place and reshapes place.


Tags globalizationarchitecture, South America, folk cultures, culture, Bolivia.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 12, 2015 2:48 PM

Indigenous peoples across the world are beginning to take pride in their heritage once again, after being told by the forces of the imperialism in their countries, that it was not as good as European culture.  This article shows how in Bolivia, the Aymara people, a native group of the country, are rising to political, economic, and social prominence in the country.  Even the country's leader is from this group.  The architecture of this new rich class reflects native heritage but has elements of globalization.  The "castle" mentioned in the article has indoor soccer pitches (originally a European Sport) but it has so much popularity in South America, that the region is known for it today (look no further than Argentina's Lionel Messi or Brazil's Neymar).  The ballrooms also have European chandeliers, but so strong is the native influenced expressed in the houses, that they take these global factors and make them their own.  I believe this is a beneficial fact, the indigenous people across the world should be proud of their heritage and diverse backgrounds.

 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 22, 2015 11:05 AM

I should not have seen the squatters video first. I know this is a different location but its just amazing economically how you have people, mind you humans who live like the squatters just trying to survive and not because of things they did wrong after all in the other video the gentleman trying to support his family had a job in a state bank but just because they can't catch a break or the way the system is set up. In this video everything is rich and people have no worries about a roof over their head or food in their stomach. I know this happens across the world but just imagine everyone enjoying the same rich benefits and having no economic classes.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 12:43 PM

this is a magnificent example of a new style of architecture sprouting up almost overnight, and a style which is inspired by new ideas. its fantastic to see none traditional architecture becoming big.

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Retronyms: Linguistic Shifts

Retronyms: Linguistic Shifts | Geography Education | Scoop.it

A 'retronym' is a term specifying the original meaning of word after a newer meaning has overtaken it.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Technological change demands linguistic change.  The technological world in which our societies are immersed changes our lived experiences and aspects of culture such as language. For example, vinyl disks were simply called records until compact discs, audio tapes and digital files flooded the music market.  An artist may still cut a record today, but the record probably won't be available in vinyl.   Vinyl, then, is a 'retronym' to now describe what was once called a record, which now has other meanings and connotations. This list has 14 other examples of retronyms, which exemplifies the cultural patterns and processes that create pop culture.  


Tags: language, culture, popular culture, technology.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 3, 2014 9:06 AM

unit 3

God Is.'s curator insight, May 3, 2014 1:15 PM

Some of you might appreciate this article.. Darn I feel old! LOL

A.K.Andrew's curator insight, May 6, 2014 8:32 PM

Fantastic images for our modern day terms.

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Soviet Bus Stops

Soviet Bus Stops | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Photographer Christopher Herwig has covered more than 30,000 km by car, bike, bus and taxi in 13 countries discovering and documenting these unexpected treasures of modern art. From the shores of the Black Sea to the endless Kazakh steppe, the bus stops show the range of public art from the Soviet era and give a rare glimpse into the creative minds of the time."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a delightful glimpse into a time gone by, and what makes it even more surprising is that few would expect such creative architecture to dot the cultural landscape of the old Soviet Union.  I was recently looking at a photo gallery of old Russian Orthodox churches and just like these Soviet bus stops, they are perfect subjects for classic cultural landscape studies.  Geography students can analyze and interpret the cultural, political and economic material landscape as this photographer has.  What do these elements of the landscape mean?  How does it make us re-evaluate the society that created them?   


Tags: Russia, culture, landscape.
 

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Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 2015 6:04 PM

A new way to observe and appreciate architecture and creativity from a different culture.  I love the idea of the book to show how something so ordinary and overlooked in everyday society like a bus stop can be turned into works of art.  It would be cool to see this inspire other artists to turn other modern day things into cool works of art.  How awesome would this have been 20 years ago if they did things like this to phone booths?

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 21, 2015 1:18 PM

This article is a collage of soviet bustops, which happen to be extravagant. Some of them are ancient looking made out of cement. Some have highly decorated sculptures of the sickle and hammer soviet sign. Others are large sheltered areas to protect citizens. By looking at the high scale of bustops, and large amount, it shows that the population must use a lot of bus transport. Some of these bustop are very nice looking, elegant, unique, or a distinct representation of Russian History. It is unique to see a different spin on a Bustop, something that seems so repetitive at Kennedy Plaza here in Providence.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:55 PM

for as monstrous as the soviet union was, they did care about appearances and the safety of their people. these bus stops show some of the wonderful aspects of soviet architecture. in addition, you can see bus stops in the middle of nowhere. this is the same mindset that made the soviets build nuclear shelters for the majority of their populace.

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European word translator

European word translator | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Translate any word from English to more than 30 other European languages, on a map
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an incredible resource to visualize the linguistic similarities between European languages all on one interactive map.  Just type in a word or phrase as it will translate it for you and place the results on the map.  I just found this, but I think it still belongs on my list of favorite resources.   


Questions to Ponder: Do you see any regions forming?  How does language impact the diffusion of people, ideas and goods?  Hoe do you think these languages diffused?   


Tags: language, culture, English diffusion.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 8:19 PM

unit 3

Claire Law's curator insight, April 26, 2015 2:30 AM

Lots of fun to visualise linguistic similarities and variability across a region.

Sally Spoon's curator insight, May 31, 2015 7:33 PM

Amazing how many use hamburger as hamburger.

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Countries Divided on Future of Ancient Buddhas

Countries Divided on Future of Ancient Buddhas | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Thirteen years after the Bamian Buddhas were blasted into rubble, opinion is split on whether to leave them as is, rebuild them, or make copies of them.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video and article work together to show a 'behind-the-scenes' glimpse of this heritage site, or the remnants of the old memorial which is an iconic part of the cultural landscape in their own right but for very different reasons.  This is a great example of sequent occupance and some of the difficulties in preserving heritage.  Some argue that by restoring the Buddha it will undo some of the damage done by the Taliban and create a tourist destination; others think that the damaged Buddha is a poignant reminder of problems with 'topocide' and religious intolerance. 


Questions to Ponder: What do you think should become of this place?  How come?    


Tags: Afghanistan, politicalculture, Central Asialandscape, perspective.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 12:46 PM

Most people often forget that the Silk Road passed into Central Asia and the Middle East from East Asia.  This means that along the road, travelers often put things that reminded them of home.  The Buddha statues that once existed in Afghanistan are an example of this.  They were in fact labeled a world heritage site.  Sadly, the Buddhas had been ravaged throughout history by radical arabs.  This is because their religion frowns upon (actually forbids) idols, which they considered the statues to be.  Although they had been tempered with for many years, the Taliban finally decided to blow them up in 2001.  Now, there are differing opinions across various countries as to whether they should be rebuild or not.  Afghanistan believes that they should be rebuilt so the government can claim a symbolic victory over the Taliban.  Unesco wants a restoration done right, so for now it won't allow rebuilding to occur.  Germans tried to rebuild them, but Unesco blocked it from happening.  South Korea, Italy and Japan are all willing to donate money, but have no mention of the statues.  I believe that the statues should be rebuilt, as the article points out monuments were rebuilt in France after Protestants burnt down many old Gothic Cathedrals.  I also believe it is necessary because we cannot let the culture of hate that the Taliban believes in to win.  Average Muslims realize that the statues have historical significance and that they do not need to worship Buddha to respect that this site was 1,500 years old.  I also think it would send a strong message from the Afghan government if the statues were rebuilt because it would show they, like the article states, are not going to let the Taliban rule their country.

 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 7, 2015 9:42 PM

I find it interesting that other countries are divided.  Why are they deciding the future for this country?  They can't seem to get out of their ways to come up with a real solution.  Its unfortunate.  

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:40 AM

this is a reminder of what extremism can do to ancient works of art that they view as heretical. these ancient, massive statues were carved out of living rock by ancient Buddhists, and had withstood the test of time until Afghan terrorists blew them up.

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World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world's population, making Islam the second-largest religion.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Did you think that most of the world's Muslim population lived in the Middle East and North Africa?  If so you are not alone, but the Middle East and North Africa account for only 19.8% of the global Muslim population.  In fact there are more Muslims in India and Pakistan than the Middle East and North Africa.   


Tags: Islam, perspective, religion, culture, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 3:55 PM

Showing the distribution of Islam around the world. Outside of the middle east, Indonesia has the most Muslims. This religion is one of the fastest growing in the world. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 4:46 PM

This article was good to look at because the majority of people assume Muslims are only in the Middle East. There are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. Two-thirds of the Muslim population live in the Asia-Pacific region than in the middle east. More Muslims actually live in India and Pakistan. Muslims make up the majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. Islam has become the world's second largest religious tradition after Christianity. I would love to know some reasons behind why certain Muslims live in other areas. 

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:33 PM

This interesting map/infographic shows where Muslims are concentrated around the world. What I found most interesting and a little bit counterintuitive was that the highest number of Muslims is found in the Asia- Pacific region rather than in Northern Africa or the Middle East. When you consider how large Indonesia's population is, however, and the fact that more than three-quarters of it identify as Muslim, it makes a bit more sense. What is really staggering is the fact that there are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making nearly a quarter of the global population Muslim. 

 

What this map shows is the ability of religion to transcend political, economic, and cultural borders. Though Islam is a religion with its origins in the Middle East, it has grown and spread across the world to now have adherents on every continent. Of course, Islam is not the only major religion to have accomplished this feat, but it is particularly important to keep in mind considering the fear and criticism with which Islam has been met in recent years. People tend to think of Muslims as uniformly extremist advocates of violence who wage holy wars no matter the cost. This is, of course, untrue and characterizes the kind of dangerous stereotyping that occurs in regards to many different religions. While this map seeks to show numbers and percentages, it also shows that there are many, many more Muslims in the world than the extremists highlighted in the news and that Islam is not defined by these radicals. 

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Shanghai Warms Up To A New Cuisine: Chinese Food, American-Style

Shanghai Warms Up To A New Cuisine: Chinese Food, American-Style | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At a new restaurant, expats find a taste of home and locals try foreign treats like fortune cookies.


Imagine living in China and missing Chinese food. It happens. American expatriates who grew up with popular takeout dishes like General Tso's chicken can't find it in China because it essentially doesn't exist here. Much of the Chinese food we grew up with isn't really Chinese. It's an American version of Chinese food. Chinese immigrants created it over time, adapting recipes with U.S. ingredients to appeal to American palates.  Now, Americans living in Shanghai can get a fix of their beloved Chinatown cuisine at a new restaurant.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This restaurant (Fortune Cookie) is just one more delicious example of how globalization impacts cultural products.  Globalization flows in many unexpected directions.  For more, see this TED talk on the search for the origins of General Tso's chicken.    


Tags: foodglobalization, culture, China, East Asia, podcast.

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, April 13, 2015 11:50 AM

This is a cool article because many times we assume Chinese food is actually Chinese when it isn't. All of the food we eat that we think is Chinese is just our own American versions of it. If you go to that part of the world, that type of food isn't even found there. Now Americans living in Shanghai can go to a restaurant and experience what they would if they were living in America. American-Chinese food is very popular and to see it reach Shanghai is incredible because of how influential it has become. They faced many problems and not many people even believed that they'd stay open but their success has brought joy to the people living in that area. 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, April 22, 2015 7:10 PM

Genius idea for these two guys to capitalize on a market that would seem to be non-existent.  I have always thought that Chinese food in America was the way it was in China.  Knowing that it is not and knowing how many Americans are in China, not to mention how much American culture has an effect in China, especially food, this is a great way to bring American culture to the East.  Like the one lady said, she felt like she was at home when she ate the meal.  The power of food is amazing.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 8:10 PM

This is the opposite of American franchises going into a foreign country. The franchises have to cater to the culture foods or go out of business. McDonalds as we see it in America serve hamburgers but in some Asian countries they serve oriental soups and must cater to their culture foods or go out of business. Here in this article its the culture of America's way of making Chinese food and bringing it into china.

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Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na'vi real languages?

View full lesson on TED-ED: What do Game of Thrones' Dothraki, Avatar's Na'vi, Star Trek's Klingon and LOTR's Elvish have in common? They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs. Conlangs have all the delicious complexities of real languages: a high volume of words, grammar rules, and room for messiness and evolution. John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED ED video lesson brings up some important questions to ponder for cultural geography (and uses some popular fantasy/science fiction examples to do it).   For languages that are spoken by actual populations, they often 'borrow' vocabulary from other languages, making some ask the question, can loan words damage language integrity? 

 

Tags: language, culture.

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Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth?

Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount." 


What happens when various religious groups claim the same territory as their own?

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Mrs. B's curator insight, February 10, 2014 9:08 AM

#Jerusalem

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 14, 2014 11:35 AM

This article and picture points out just how hard it is to “solve” the problems in Israel.  The constant overlapping of buildings on holy sites complicates the issues more than anything political ever could.  Belief is one of the biggest driving forces for conflict in the world and this illustration reminds us of that.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:54 PM

In some of the oldest civilizations on earth, religion is the most important aspect of life. There will always be extreme conflicts in these ancient areas all over religion.

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Geography of Quinoa

Geography of Quinoa | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The popularity of Quinoa has grown exponentially among the health-conscious food consumers in the developed economies of the world.  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is rich in protein and is a better grain for those seeking to lose weight.  Quinoa has historically be rather limited but this diffusion is restructuring the geographic patterns of many places." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This map from a Geography in the News article shows that Quinoa has historically been grown almost exclusively in the highlands of the Andes Mountains.  This was a localized food source for generations but this new global demand has increased the economic possibilities for Quinoa growers.  At the same time, local consumers that have traditionally depended on cheap Quinoa to supplement their diet are now effectively priced out, as stated in this Al-Jazeera article


Questions to Ponder: What modern and traditional agricultural patterns can we see in the production of Quinoa?  How have global and local forces reshaped the system?


Tags: agriculture, food production, foodglobalization, South America, folk cultures, culture, Bolivia.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 9, 2015 10:10 PM

Quinoa appears to be originated as grain crop for edible seeds in parts of Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and along to Andes Mountain. However, they increase the crop value as it spreads to other areas of the world such as Europe and United States. One thing that I wonder is that if the production is going to be popular in any region other than South America but manufacturing regions started on eastern United States and they spread overseas to Europe. I wonder if production of Quinoa will spread to other continents. Believe it or not, it has partially spread to small parts of southwestern Europe.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:20 PM

Quinoa will be a staple for generations to come and the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina would do well to provide all the assistance to the farming community in their respective countries. This product is like New Age rice, it provides multiple benefits to health conscious consumers such as protein, fiber, and a "full" feeling when consumed. Any recipe that calls for a rice base can incorporate Quinoa just as easily and it tastes great. being a bit of a health freak, I use Quinoa in my diet and it works.

While the success of the grain has made it less accessible price-wise to those who grow it, it should provide for a greater economic benefit for years to come, lifting a population from near poverty levels to hopefully one of a strong and vibrant middle class.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 2, 2015 3:43 PM

Quinoa has been grown in the high mountains of the Andes for decades and has been a localized food for the population. As their health benefits became known in to the global community, the demands for them increases. This made it difficult for the locals to find cheap Quinoa, which is normally eaten in their diet. I feel that it is unfair for the locals to have seek new source of food alternatives now that their healthy Quinoa will become more expensive as the demand for it goes up.

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Portland: A Tale of Two Cities

Portland: A Tale of Two Cities | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture.  This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story.  Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city.  When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well. 


Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, racepovertyplace, socioeconomic.

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Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 1:21 PM

Recently I came across a craigslist post from a gentleman who was trying to rally individuals to Portland with him for a journey on the "Michigan Trail" to Detroit. He made promise that the intention was to perform rejuvinating work in  Detroit alongside it's current residents and that there would be "no gentrification." 

Not that I found these statements or intentions to be profound or useful in anyway, but this podcast really put a nail in the coffin for me. The effects of gentrification are well known for both their positive and negative aspects. But the bottom line is this, regardless of intention the poor and diverse populations will be displaced unless it is from them that this renaissance takes place. Not Portlandia hipsters looking for some sort of "promise land."  

Portland apparentely has it's own issues with gentrification and a class of social and cultural norms that make it difficult to make the case for cities on the rise to take the same path.  

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 6:12 PM

I don't think that Earth offers everything for everyone.  Given the situation of predetermination about birthplace and essentially upbringing, social class, and outcomes, in an infinite universe (infinite until proven otherwise), a single small planet cannot possibly offer us everything we are destined to need in the universe, let alone the towns that we are limited to.  I do not believe in choice, I believe in destiny... I do not blame people for racism or crimes, as HORRIBLE as they may be. I think that people are made into what they are by the world around them, in existential and defining ways.  Yeah, there is plenty of room for improvement and change in Oregon, but realistically, there is also more room for improvement in other areas too.  I don't really see humans as the sort of people that will ever get better without some sort of divine intervention.  I am taking the perspective of separation of paradise and purgatory that was mentioned in this article, and applying it to a different scale, but I do believe that mankind is to be condemned by the universe, due to its faults and inability to play well with others.  The world freaks out when kidnapping victims are found after a decade of abuse and captivity, but this same world breeds animals for slaughter and consumption... Earthlings clearly have been taught to not care about those that are different, whether in looks or species... I think the kidnapping situation is vile and appalling, but I also think that breeding species for slaughter (which affects more living beings) is democratically more of an issue.

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Beijing's Facelift

"A government-initiated redevelopment plan will transform one of the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing into a polished tourist attraction."

Seth Dixon's insight:
This 2010 video (and related article) showcases one of China's urban transformation projects.  Urban revitalization plans are not without critics, especially those who see the cultural transformation of a neighborhood they deem worthy of historical preservation.  This process is occurring all over the world (we've recently seen this in Brazil as they were preparing for the World Cup).  This is one of the videos that I've put into my interactive map with over 65 geography videos to share in the classroom.
 
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Kendra King's curator insight, April 3, 2015 7:39 PM

Normally I am annoyed at projects that end up destroying history, but in this instance I think the area needs to be remodeled. Part of the reason I am not fazed by the history being lost is because a fair amount of the area was already so poorly kept that many of the structures were either ruble or dilapidated. At the rate the area was going, it was already going to lose its history anyways. While it would be nice of the government to keep a small portion of the good standing landscape, I think the museum being built in the area is a nod at maintaining there history. So since you can’t have it all, I would rather side with the government trying to raise the standard of living for people who have been in continuous abject poverty since about the 13th century. As you said before, invest something in an area and you typically get something in return. Plus it seems that most of the people angered by this move are those outside of the area being remodeled (i.e. historians). I personally think those people are farther removed from the actual decision then those living there. So once again, I am happy to side with the people being most affected by the poverty stricken land. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:27 AM

As a man who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History,  it goes without saying that this causes me sadness.  But even taking the history component out of the picture, this reformation project is also destroying much of that area's culture and identity.  They are risking the few details that remain of their culture's past in order to move the area onto a more global scale.  Another negative is the fact that they are picking up the poverty-stricken residents of this community and shipping them to another part of town like they are pieces of livestock.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 27, 2016 12:32 PM
unit 7
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The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split

The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The division between Islam's Shiite minority and the Sunni majority is deepening across the Middle East. The split occurred soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The ghosts of religious wars past are rattling in Iraq; The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This NPR podcast examines the  historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis. 


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culturepodcast.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:11 PM

The Islam-Sunni favors the father-in-law of Muhammad Abu Bakr and is strictly orthodox. The Islam-Shi'ite favors Muhammad's son-in-law Ali and it mostly practiced in Iran, southern Iraq and southern Lebanon. Sunni on the other hand is practiced throughout the northern part of Africa and throughout the whole middle east. In the middle east, 85% of the muslim population between Sunni and Shi'ite is Sunni and 15% practices Shia. Between Sunni and Shi'ite, Sunni appears to be the more popular and dominant Islamic religion.

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 31, 2015 5:04 PM

The middle east is a topic of discussion for people throughout America. I say the Middle East in a broad sense because there are a numerous amount of topics one could discuss in regards to the middle east. Politics, violence, terrorism, the faith of Islam in general, the list goes on. But it seems not many people go into the Sunni Shiite conflict in depth. In order to understand much of what goes on in the Middle East one needs to understand the two divisions between Islam, why they exist and what has been the history/significance of the relationship. I wonder sometimes if the people reporting the news realize what they are saying, whom the people/groups of people involved are, and what the significance of there being is. The video shown in class involving the two news reporters discussing/asking questions  about the Middle East with a scholar on the show definitely proved people are ignorant to the Middle East. They painted it with a "broad brush." If they can't even realize the vast size of Islam and the fact that they are generalizing when reporting terrorism thus linking the faith of Islam in general to it then I can only imagine what it would do to their heads to find out that there are two main divisions of Islam. It's bad when the people reporting the news don't understand the significance of what they are saying. It raises questions as to how the American people, whom are not well versed in the Middle East, interpret Islam and its people. Reading articles and listening to discussions would certainly help educate people and honestly this "scoop" was very clear in stating the origin, meaning, and significance of the two different divisions.  

I find the oil situation in the Middle East interesting to say the least. The Shiite's are the clear minority in Islam yet they control 80% of the Middle East's oil. It is crazy to think how the Safavid Dynasty set up shop in what is now Iran... In time Iran would prove to be rich in oil. Other parts of the middle east that are extremely rich in oil like southern Iraq, the eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula and Lebanon are also Shiite. So in this case the minority has access to and controls an extreme amount of wealth. I'm sure there are people whom discuss the Middle East and oil yet don't know the religious aspects of the territory. Just through taking five minutes to read an article such as this an individual may form a different perception of Islam or specifically, in regards to this paragraph, oil in the Middle East. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:57 PM

having been to this part of the world and encountered obviously countless muslims and talking to several. i learned and witnessed first hand the hate that these people have for eachother, they are on such opposite sides of this religion and it is perplexing because it is the same religion and the debate is over such minor details of it (but judeism christianity and islam are all pretty much the same with minor differences arnt they?)

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What is halal meat?

What is halal meat? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"There have been calls for clearer labelling of halal products in shops, restaurants and takeaways. But what is halal food? And why are campaigners so concerned?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

I know just enough Arabic to read the word Halal (حلال) and know that it means permissible, the opposite of Haram (حَرَام‎) which means forbidden or illegal.  In the context of meat, it means meat that has been prepared in accordance with Islamic traditions and is therefore permissible for an observant Muslim to eat (very similar to Kosher for Jewish people).  Today, Halal is becoming an important issue within the European Union for two main reasons: 1) more Muslims are migrating to Europe and 2) Europeans are searching for less artificial food products.  Some Europeans, however, feel that the Halal labeling and marketing is a change to the cultural landscape that they are not comfortable with, and don't want to see it become more mainstream.  Other meat companies try to present their products as Halal, but don't adhere to all of the customs according to some more strict Muslims.  Halal, then is a lightning rod, in either direction right now in Europe.  If you want to see the inner workings of a Halal slaughterhouse in New York, this video will show you what it is like.   

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Ms. Harrington's curator insight, May 17, 2014 7:14 AM

Halal means permissible, the opposite of Haram  which means forbidden or illegal. 


Halal meat means that has been prepared in accordance with Islamic traditions and is therefore permissible for an observant Muslim to eat (very similar to Kosher for Jewish people). 


Within the European Union more Muslims are migrating to Europe.  Some Europeans, however, feel that the Halal labeling and marketing is a change to the cultural landscape that they are not comfortable with, and don't want to see it become more mainstream.  Other meat companies try to present their products as Halal, but don't adhere to all of the customs according to some more strict Muslims.  Halal, then is a lightning rod, in either direction right now in Europe. - From Seth Dixon

Kendra King's curator insight, February 27, 2015 12:07 AM

 

I am not surprised some European governments aren’t taking a stronger stance, but I think the market might sort itself out in this instance. This issue is another battle of a minority group trying to keep their culture in a different country. Muslims, who are typically discriminated against in Europe, would like there to be more clear labeling, along with Jews (another minority). As mentioned in the article, most countries (excluding Denmark) allow suppliers to kill without stunning for religious purposes, but  buyers are having trouble identifying the meat they can eat provided by these suppliers since most Europeans don't need to know this information. The author pointed out that the economic trend is showing that Muslims have enough of a "spending power" that the slaughterhouses will want to respond to their needs in order to profit. It would be nice for the government to step in, but I really doubt that will happen given how this group is typically marginalized. So in this instance, the Muslims are lucky that money motivates.  

 

Overall, I sympathize with the Muslim's desire to want more labeling even though I don't agree with it. The reason I am against eating meat rests largely with how the animals are treated from their time on the farm being raised to the time they are slaughtered. I myself wish their was more information in regards to this so I could eat meat in good conscious. Killing without stunning isn’t the most humane, but that is what  these people's conscience need due to their religion. So denying or harshly judging this desire would just be plain hypocritical of me. Therefore, I hope the economy can actually take care of itself.  

 

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New York City's Disappearing Mom-and-Pop Storefronts

New York City's Disappearing Mom-and-Pop Storefronts | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Two photographers set out to see what happened to small family businesses in New York City in a decade
Seth Dixon's insight:

The cultural landscapes of neighborhoods can change quickly as larger global economic forces restructure the places.  This is a great gallery of photos from the Smithsonian to document these changes in New York City.  Many mourn the passing of what once was as the landscape continues to be made and remade but subsequent generations. 


Tags: culture, landscape, NYCeconomic, urban, place, neighborhood.

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Ms. Harrington's curator insight, April 12, 2014 7:28 AM

What a decade can do to a cultural landscape.

L.Long's curator insight, April 15, 2014 6:55 PM

Changing nature of world cities

Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:49 PM

To be honest I am surprised that "Mom and Pop" storefronts lasted this long in New York City. It just seems to me that as a city grows and rent prices go up the smaller store fronts would naturally be pushed out by larger conglomerates who would be more suited to handle the rent prices. Of course it is an old addeage of capitalism that as long as you offer a good product that consumers would be inclined to consume you can stay above water in even the most competitive locations. Although to me that would appear to have its limits. Perhaps the economic tides of the present in New York are that limit.

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A tour of the British Isles in accents

Got the audio here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01slnp5 The person doing the voice is Andrew Jack who is a dialect coach.


Tags: language, culture, English, UK.

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Sascha Humphrey's curator insight, April 6, 2014 4:33 AM

He's really quite good, and the seamless change of dialect is quite impressive!

Michael MacNeil's curator insight, April 6, 2014 11:32 AM

The diversity of the English language is amazing.  Even in the "motherland" it changes from location to location...aye bay goom.

Melissa Marshall's curator insight, April 9, 2014 10:19 PM

This is a really interesting video for understanding regional dialect differences!

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Gastrodiplomacy: Cooking Up A Tasty Lesson On War And Peace

Gastrodiplomacy: Cooking Up A Tasty Lesson On War And Peace | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An international relations scholar is using her students' love of food to teach them about global conflicts. It's a form of winning hearts and minds that's gaining traction among world governments.
Seth Dixon's insight:

International relations and global politics are what people often think are critical for foreign policy and diplomacy.  A geographic and historically nuanced understanding of various cultures can be invaluable--and what more enjoyable way to learn that than over an amazing meal?   


Tags: foodpolitical, culture.

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Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, March 25, 2014 3:37 PM

The way to world peace may be through our stomachs. Great idea!

Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, March 25, 2014 3:38 PM

The way to world peace may be through our hearts and stomachs. Great idea!

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, March 30, 2014 7:58 PM

Vínculos Poderosos! Pilares da Geografia Vivida.

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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While this is not a perfect map, it is still a powerful one to convey several points.  One, the impact of colonialism is still felt in the the cultural, economic and political institutions of Africa.  Two, given that most of African countries have many indigenous languages spoken by the population, the old colonial language remains as a de facto Lingua Franca in most places, especially among the elite.


Tags: language, Africa, colonialism.

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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:46 PM

This map is a simple but powerful one. Africa is the continent that contains the most nations (53), yet it uses only six languages for business. Not surprisingly, all of the languages (with the exception of Arabic) are European in origin. Clearly, the effects of colonialism are still felt around the world in former colonies. The languages that were forced upon various African countries by their colonizers have endured and become the main languages of business in their respective countries. What is just as unfortunate as the roots of colonialism holding fast, if not more so, is the absence of any indigenous languages being used as the language of business in any of the countries of Africa. While using a business language that is spoken by much of the world is surely a matter of practicality and logistics, it is still robbing African countries of their heritage and culture to some degree.

 

This brings up the issue of globalization and how it is constantly at odds with the preservation of culture and tradition. In order for Africa (or any continent or region or country) to function in the modern world, it must be capable of conducting business in a language that is spoken by its business partners. The ability to do business with virtually any person, company, or country in the world is an obviously invaluable one. At the same time, however, it allows for the subtle and gradual erasure of unique culture and traditions. So while it would be ideal for cultural preservation for countries to conduct business in their indigenous languages, it seems to be a necessary evil for smaller and less influential countries to adopt the languages of their more powerful and influential business partners if they wish to survive in today's world. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 29, 2015 4:24 PM

The lingering effects of colonialism, so strongly relevant in every aspect of African ways of life, are perhaps most evident in the "lingua franca" of African nations today. With a multitude of different ethnicities and languages in use in every African nation today, the result of the arbitrarily drawn national borders made by European colonizers, necessitates the use of the one language that's commonly spoken across every independent nation- a European tongue. This system, while a necessity in today's world, is a solution that no one is quite happy with. It reminds Africans of all ages of the power still held by their colonizers over their everyday lives, a stark reminder of the horrors of the previous century at every business meeting and every exchange of goods. This harms the national psyche of each nation, as well as undermining the importance and pride Africans deservedly maintain in their own native languages. European-made borders, however, make it difficult to find another, native language that every ethnic group can agree upon. As a result, the European languages are still in use in Africa, and will most likely still be in use for some time to come. It's a system that no one likes but, for the time being, everyone must accept as reality.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:26 AM

This map is a great resource in showing the diversity of language in Africa. Of course, this map discounts the many native African languages. It instead focuses on the language of business in the continent. That language, has been influence by the European colonization of Africa. The chosen language of business is often tied to the colonizer of the region. The diversity of language in Africa is staggering to say the least.  

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Gambia president rejects English language

Gambia president rejects English language | Geography Education | Scoop.it
President's decision to shift official language from English to local language comes months after its decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Gambia has been showing signs that they want to remove neo-colonial influences.  Last year the President withdrew the Gambia from the Commonwealth (a collection of 54 countries, mainly former British colonies), tired of being 'lectured' about human rights.  Now they have rejected English as the official language.  Mandingo (38%), Fula (21%) and Wolof (18%) are the three most widely spoken languages but it is currently unclear if one of these will become the new official language or if several will receive that status. 


Questions to Ponder: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the old colonial language as the official language in multilingual African countries?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a local language/languages as the official language?    


Tags: languagegovernance, Africa, colonialism.

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:25 PM

Gambia does not want the English language to be the official language that is spoken anymore.  Noting that it reflects the UK and they don't believe that they and the UK have much in common especially on the platform of human rights.  Cutting the English language as the official language continues to cut ties with the UK.  One of the problems with this is if there are multiple local languages spoken in Gambia which one are they going to choose as the official language.  With this more problems are presented, those that do not know the local language that is chosen to be official will have to learn the new language quickly if they want to have any idea as to what is going on in their own country.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 15, 2015 6:32 PM

The president’s reaction is more than understandable. His country is in the midst of trying to heal after de-colonization. His actions show he is trying to cut out the west altogether. It is an extreme move, but if done correctly it could give the country a chance to start over to develop their own culture again. I think having a more local language could have the potential to unite the country. However, given the many dialects spoken in a typical African country, I do wonder what language will actually be chosen. If anything, there might have to be a few official languages so as to keep the peace among the population. Furthermore, English will still need to be learned. As much as Gambia may resent the United States or the UK those countries are too dominant. As such, the nation will have to do business with them or one of the many other countries that speak English. When this happens, English will be the expected language and not an African dialect because Africa doesn’t have the power to really negotiate its terms. Therefore, I think all this will end up being is a symbolic stand as the world is far to interconnected for Gambia to truly cut off ties with the western world permanently.  

 

I can also see where the president is coming from in regards to the human right’s issues as well. I am in no way condoning the countries handling of domestic affairs. I think a firing squad is outdated to say the least. However, being talked down to by a country who egregiously violated the population without ever really making amends is insulting. Furthermore, being reliant on their money is probably insufferable. I would say the country might need the money, but given how aid is improperly implemented in most foreign countries I don’t even think cutting them off matters much. Still, one might think that after experiencing such social injustice the leader would be a little more compassionate to its people. 

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 2016 8:46 PM
unit 3
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Does English still borrow words from other languages?

Does English still borrow words from other languages? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"English language has 'borrowed' words for centuries. But is it now lending more than it's taking, asks Philip Durkin, deputy chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. "


Knowledge of what is being borrowed, and from where, provides an invaluable insight into the international relations of the English language.  Today English borrows words from other languages with a truly global reach.

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Amanda Morgan's comment, September 13, 2014 6:08 PM
Words of the English language were borrowed from other numerous languages. Foreign words will continue to be introduced to the language with the growth of globalization
Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 18, 2014 10:51 AM

Words of the English language were borrowed from other numerous languages. Foreign words will continue to be introduced to the language with the growth of globalization

Chris Plummer's curator insight, January 12, 2015 11:44 PM

Summary- This article explains how the English language is using many words from other languages. Leg, sky, take , they are all examples of these words borrowed.  In this example these languages are from the Scandinavian language. While we may not realize it, we use words from languages every single day. English is like a melting pot of mixed languages.

 

Insight- In Unit 3 one thing we study is where languages come from. Languages come from many places and ofter are similar to some, and very different from others. Many languages such as ours, "borrow" words from other languages to be in out own. This shows that the diffusion of many languages mix or overlap a little.

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Cultural Syncretism

Cultural Syncretism | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I found this image on social media from a great geography teacher (link to his site--looking for APHG group activities?  Try this).  This picture taken at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Memphis, TN shows an intrguing linguistic combination that I had never imagined before.  This is referred to as cultural syncretism, where two or more cultures or cultural traits combine together to make something new.  Globalization and migration are making more cultural combinations than we've ever seen before in this human mosaic we call home.


Tags: language, culture, the South, APHG, religion, landscape.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, December 11, 2013 12:01 AM

Interesting 


Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 2014 11:02 PM

This was taken in Memphis, TN. I liked how it mixes the religion with the surrounding culture and dialect, really interesting and shows that people can have the same religion and different backgrounds. 

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All-American singer wows Arabs Got Talent with Umm Kulthum cover

All-American singer wows Arabs Got Talent with Umm Kulthum cover | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Boston-born Jennifer Grout has amazed Middle Eastern viewers, reaching the Arabs Got Talent final despite speaking little Arabic


Born and raised in Boston, Grout's Arabic accent has inspired debates about whether she is merely pretending to be a westerner. Her fellow contestants are from different parts of the Middle East, and include Mayam Mahmoud, 18, billed as Egypt's first hijab-wearing rapper.

Seth Dixon's insight:

TV shows have regionalized networks, but sometimes the audience wants something beyond their local borders and that pushes the limits of what many think that audience might want or even redefine the audience itself.  Hijab-wearing rappers and blond-haired, blue-eyed girls from Boston singing in Arabic (watch here) certainly blur the distinction between what we think is Middle Eastern and what think of as American.  Globalization is increasing erasing those cultural lines.

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Tony Aguilar's curator insight, December 1, 2013 3:43 AM

televised events like this can help us see how integrated certain regions have become. One would never think to see a New England girl on an Arabs Got Talent show, but now ethnic diversity is become more prevalent opening up our minds to what we should be expecting worldwide in terms of cultural representation, and ethnic representation. Also the idea of female rappers in Muslim areas demonstrates how women are stepping up defying cultural norms and playing roles that have been traditionally expected for men.

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How Far Is It To The 'Boondocks'? Try The Philippines

How Far Is It To The 'Boondocks'? Try The Philippines | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Few know "boondocks" is a relic of U.S. military occupation in the Philippines.


Seth Dixon's insight:

I imaged that the term 'the boondocks' was of Asian origin, but I was surprised to learn how this U.S. military lingo was able to become a mainstream term.  The Tagalog word bundok means mountain and given the guerrilla warfare tactics, U.S. soldiers thought of their enemies as hiding 'in the boondocks.' This term spread throughout the military to mean an isolated region, but today the term has morphed from its military-based meaning of mountainous jungles to one that can also describe a sparsely populated rural America.  This is a fascinating article from NPR's Code Switch team that focuses on issues of culture, identity and race. 


Tags: language, toponyms, historical, conflict, culturediffusion.

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Tony Aguilar's curator insight, October 13, 2013 3:06 AM

We have all heard the phrase living in the "Boonies" The boondocks was a word that was taken from a philipino word called Bundok, that meant the guerilla warfare they were experiencing from phillipino insurgents during the Spanish American War with the America. In this war which Teddy Roosevelt helped lead we gained US Puerto Rico and Guam as new Territories from the Treaty of Paris. The war was fought against Emilio Aguinaldo who was a master at guerilla tactics against American soldiers. This was a desperate war involving coloniazation or exerting our power as a country against other countries that ammassed a huge death toll. Now that we know the word boondok, is not an all American word that was popularized in the 1950's but it was actually taken from the Phillipino language during a time of fighting in the Jungle or the Sticks. But boondocks also refers to a people living around mouintainous regions. Just some food for thought.