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Teaching about Syrian Refugees

Teaching about Syrian Refugees | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Syrian Civil War that stemmed out of the Arab Spring in 2012 morphed into a conflict unlike any of the other Arab Spring protests. In the years before the Arab Spring, Syria experienced an extended drought led to declining agricultural production and social discontent even before the spark of revolutionary change swept the region. The rise of ISIS in the power struggle has led to horrifying atrocities that leave ordinary citizens seeking the most basic of human needs: safety, shelter, food and water.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This problem is not going away and I decided to gather some of my favorite resources on how to teach this very difficult, but incredibly important issue into the linked article. 


TagsSyriaMiddleEast, migration, political, refugees, regions.

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Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, September 17, 2015 9:40 AM
 Syrian Refugees
Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:40 PM

Its amazing how a civil war sparked a total of 11 million refugees or displacement up to date. Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, are a major help in providing space for these refugees.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:08 PM

The conflict in Syria that stemmed from the Arab Spring led to many refugees fleeing to escape the horrible political condition. These people are different from migrants because they have no choice but to leave. According to UN laws they are provided necessary aid and a place to stay until their country is safe again. However, the Syrian War is escalating quickly rather than showing any sign of stopping. It may be possible these refugees will not have a home and will be an ethnic minority in host countries. 

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World's largest hotel coming to Mecca

World's largest hotel coming to Mecca | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Abraj Kudai, a complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is set to become the world's largest hotel by room count when it opens in 2017.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Las Vegas currently has the four of the five largest hotels in the world; people flock to the Nevada desert in droves for the gambling and nightlife.  Mecca has a very distinct draw that pulls tourists in from all over the world.  As a sacred pilgrimage site, the tourism industry thrives and needs an immense infrastructure to handle the high volume of visitors that come for the Hajj.

   

Tagstourism, Islam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Ambre Cooper's curator insight, June 26, 2015 12:25 PM

beautiful architecture in Saudi Arabia

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 7:37 AM

The location of the hotel makes a lot of sense. Mecca is an obvious tourist destination. Muslims from all over the world, make the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city. Those same people, are in need of accommodations once they arrive in the city. The economic potential of such a hotel is outstanding. It was also interesting to learn that Las Vegas currently has four of the five largest hotels in the world. Even with the building of this hotel, I do not see Las Vegas being displaced as the worlds premier tourist destination.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:14 PM

this is hardly surprising, with how many people go to Mecca in a year. Mecca is probably the largest single destination for religious tourism in the world, and it is the only city on earth where there are religious obligations to enter the city .

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Sunnis and Shiites

Sunnis and Shiites | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Clarissa Ward breaks down the history of differences between opposing sects of Islam
Seth Dixon's insight:

The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This 5 minute video (as well as this NPR podcast) examine 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.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Caterin Victor's curator insight, April 14, 2015 10:51 AM

Since Obama turmoil with his absurd Arab Spring, Sunni Shite are killing one the other like crazy Islamist

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:07 PM

There is a very complicated history between two major religions in the Middle East. History shows how this religion was divided by Mohamed’s death. It turned into a totally new religion and now rivals in the Middle East. I have to mention that one of my co-workers is from Syria and his definition about Sunnis and Shiites are not open minded. The history behind the Muslims religions demonstrate that the more power they have the more places they will dominate. Furthermore, human rights are violated regardless of religious denomination. For some people, Sunnis are considered as terrorist and compared to extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. These people who do not want to implement any kind of technology in their countries are holding on to the past with their religion. However, the Shiites experience more freedom even though they still follow strict religious rules. Even the US is confused about these Middle Eastern religions as countries that used to be governed by Sunnis now are run by Shiites. The US needs to remain neutral regarding these religious changes.

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Teach Mideast

Teach Mideast | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"TeachMideast is an educational outreach initiative developed by the Middle East Policy Council. TeachMideast is a resource designed primarily to give high school and community college teachers the foundation they need to teach about critical , complex, and intriguing subjects."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After writing an article about cultural empathy and stereotypes for National Geographic Education, I was delighted to hear from the educational outreach coordinator at Teach Mideast.  The amount of resources they have for teachers is impressive--check it out!


Tagsreligion, culturehistorical, political, Middle East.

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Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam

Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Most of the world's major religions are made up of multiple sects or denominations, and Islam is no different. Islam's two major sects are the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the division and interplay between the two is a major factor in the geopolitics of the Middle East. How well do you understand Sunni and Shiite Islam? Take our quiz and find out!
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.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 10:19 PM

After taking this class about Political Islam I thought I knew about Sunni and Shiite Islam.  Taking this quiz I definitely mixed up a lot of the information.  It seems like it would be simple to understand the differences and the similarities, but they are so parallel its easy to get the information mixed up.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 3:09 PM

"Muslim Extremists!" "Death to militant Islam!" "Muslims are terrorists!" These cries are often heard from conservative factions of the United States, who are a lot more eager to blindly hate than they are to learn about the lives of the same people they want dead. Islam encompasses some 1.3 billion believers, and there are significant deviations in both the faith and its application among such a wide population of believers. Before this exam, I knew about the Sunni majority and the Shia minority currently in conflict in the Middle East, but my understanding of the distinction between the two faiths was vague at best. I also did not recognize that each of the two main branches are then further split into different denominations, much in the same way that Christianity is today within our own country. As different and "other" we try and make the Middle East out to be, they are not that different in their religious practices (and their fanatics ruining the name of the religion for everyone else) than many conservatives would like them to be. I definitely enjoyed taking this exam, particularly within the context of everything I have been learning about with what is happening in Syria. I had no idea Assad was not just a regular Shia, but instead a member of a much smaller, stricter denomination. Learning about this region has definitely been an eye-opening experience for me, in the sense that I know a lot less about the world than I thought I knew.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:53 PM

I am not very educated on the religion but I do know from my notes in class that religion is what stops Iraq from unifying. That country is made up of three religions Muslims , Sunnis and Shiites.

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Saudi Arabia's Leadership

Seth Dixon's insight:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passed away on Jan 23rd and has been replaced by King Salman.  What does that mean for Saudi Arabia?  What will it mean for the region?  The Plaid Avenger has the answers (here are the links for part 2 and part 3).

 

TagsSaudi Arabiaculturegeopoliticspolitical, Middle East.

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Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem

Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A site in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There has been turmoil and violence in Jerusalem this month; at it's core, much of the fighting has been around the political control of sacred spaces that are seen as critical to both groups' cultural and religious identity.  This particular sacred place is intertwined with both Judaism as well as Islam, and understanding the current round of violence demands that we understand some of the historical geography of religion in Jerusalem.  To explore more about sacred sites in general as a spatial concept, visit this link


Tagsreligion, culture, Islam, Israel, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 3:29 PM

Landmarks can have powerful meanings to different groups of people.  The Dome of the Rock is a sacred site to Muslims across the world.  The Mosque has stood on the location for centuries, and it is said to be built on the site where Mohamed ascended to Heaven.  To Jews, however, this site represents where Solomon's Temple was located.  It was destroyed two times, once by the Babylonians and another time, after being rebuilt by the Roman Empire.  Today, all that remains of this sacred site is the Western Wall.  The Wall is a sacred location to many Jews as it represents their heritage and their nation.  Yet, as the article notes, many Muslims are threatened by the new Jewish interests in the site and they fear that it will be taken by the Israeli government and the Temple will be rebuilt a third time on the Temple Mount.  This shows how much emotion can exist over a piece of land.  The Jewish need to rebuild their temple right on the very spot it once stood, it cannot be built elsewhere, meanwhile some Muslims deny that the Temple ever stood there and there are others who believe that the site should be renamed to "Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary".  This is one of the great arguments that I believe will never be solved, should the Temple be rebuilt at the expense of the Dome of the Rock?  

 

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:03 PM

Sacred sites in Jerusalem are having difficulties due to the differences in culture from the surrounding countries. 

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, March 22, 2015 12:19 AM

Summary: This article is simply over the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how it has evolved since its beginning. This mostly talks about how Palestine believes that if Israel gains control of Jerusalem, they will get rid of Dome of the Rock, an important place of worship for the Islams. 

 

Insight: I think this article accurately represents concepts of political power and territoriality well due to the fact that these two territories are having a very long dispute about this one piece of land. I think there is definitely a solution that should be relatively simple, but with the amount of meaning this location has to both places, and with the continues terrorism occurring, I don't know if a simple solution would work. 

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What Westerners can learn from the Hajj

What Westerners can learn from the Hajj | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Though it may come as a surprise to outsiders, the journey to Mecca is a manifestation of globally moderate Islam."


The Mecca region of Saudi Arabia has recently been in the midst of Hajj season. The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is strongly encouraged of all Muslims who have the means to undertake it. Importantly, by bringing together 2 million to 3 million people from across the globe, the Hajj pilgrimage is a manifestation of the diversity and moderate nature of global Islam. This image of the Muslim world as cosmopolitan and reasonable stands in stark contrast to the militant Islamist fundamentalism we more regularly hear about in media coverage — with the Islamic State and Boko Haram being the most recent manifestation of this.


TagsIslam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:22 PM

Shows the impact of the Hajj on the Muslim people as Muslims around the world travel if they are able to see this holy place. 

Molly McComb's curator insight, May 27, 2015 11:03 AM

Showing how Muslims are affected by the Hajj as they eperience the holy travel. This time of year, people from all around the world travel to see the city and take place in religious customs that have been around for centuries. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:00 PM

this is very important for people to understand, muslims are not the problem, they are not evil they are not extreme they are not terrorists. islamic groups are those things. but the fact of the matter is that the extrmeists are a problem and a ruining the perception for all muslims. the only way to fix this is for other muslims to be the ones to stop these groups, until they do so they will always be associated this way, no matter how many articles come out to the contrary and no matter how much they try to distance themselves from these groups

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For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture

For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Some are contemplating migration, severing ties to their holy land. Others want to stay and protect their shrines.
Seth Dixon's insight:

When we discuss the geography of religion, frequently we are discussing the distribution of particular religions.  However, some religions are deeply embedded in particular places and their spiritual rites, customs and traditions are intrinsically linked with sacred spaces and particular geographies.  The Yazidi are are religious group that is deeply connected to the mountains of northern Iraq--areas that are now being evacuated because of ISIS.  Some are contemplating migrating to safety, but severing their ties to their holy land. Others want to stay and protect their sacred spaces.


Tagsplace, culture religion, Middle East.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 12:07 PM

"I cannot leave Lalish, or live without it," Pir Said said. "People, whoever they might be, are most present in their own land. When they leave it, they disappear—they melt into other communities. We're present here as a community in Lalish. If we leave, we think we will be weakened."


Many religions are incredibly tied to place. The Yazidis in Irag are a religious minority that blends ancient Mesopotamian beliefs and Zoroastrianism with Christian, Jewish, and Sufi influences. They are incredibly tied to the land, and fear that being chased out will ultimately end in the weakening of their religious community. Yazidis are no strangers to this, and in the recent past they have lost entire villages to Hussein's Arabization project. For the Yazidis, their religion is much more a way of life than just a spiritual belief. Like many different peoples, they fear that being forced to move will cause their religious community to be taken over by the beliefs and lifestyles of where they have to live.  

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 3:59 PM

The Yazidis are loosing their spiritual identity due to their exile from Iraq. They are being forced out of the country and it is slowly diluting the diversity in their religion as they are becoming more spread out and great cultural artifacts are lost. 

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 16, 2015 5:11 PM

I interesting story. It reminds me of all the unique small cultural groups mentioned in Strabo's Geography. Unfortunately as is the case o most small groups historically is they were either eradicated or assimilated. This group seems to have only a choice between those two and may not be able to preserve themselves. ISIS eradication or Western assimilation. It is unfortunate this is the historical cycle or that so soon after Saddam's fall they once again had to flee. Their culture/religion I do find odd though given it is a mixture of everything that has been in that region for over 2000 years and seems to only have identity because it has been rejected by every other group. To me it lacks identity in and of itself but that is a discussion for another time. Also geographically being a hill people they are disadvantaged because they have historically lower numbers (due to poor agriculture) in addition to the fact that most people who lived in the plains saw hill peoples as savages and uncivilized because they took longer to create settlements and often raided lowland peoples as well (history likes to rhyme sometimes). Overall the best solution for this situation geographically perhaps would be to give them an enclave in a mountainous portion of another country so they could retain their identity and be safe for the time being.

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Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State

Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a geography to insurgency.   This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power.  On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.  


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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 30, 2014 10:00 PM

This is interesting, ISIS is not only using brute force as a scare tactic, but are also taking hold of natural resources as well.  In taking over the dam ISIS has control of not only a majority of Iraq's water supply but their power supply as well.  They are also threatening employees with loss of pay to do what they want.  Closing off some parts of the dam is preventing water to get to people who are in need.  If the dam was to get backed up too much it could have immediate failure creating a devastating flood wiping out areas of agriculture having the potential for mass civilian casualties.  ISIS is not just taking over everything that they can, but have a method to what they are doing.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 27, 2015 8:14 PM

As the director of the Brookings Institution's Doha Centre in Qatar said, "There's a method in their madness. By gaining control of the area ISIS can flood and destroy homes within the region. Furthermore, they can disrupt the flow of electricity and how the land is irrigated. All of this could cause a great deal of damage to the society. In this light the dam is a pretty important part of Iraq. The fact that ISIS Manipulated he land to their benefit it highly intelligent.  


However, if the dam was in the hand of the United States, the area still isn't completely safe. people would perceive it to be because ISIS would no longer be threatening to use it as an immediate weapon. However, the author noticed that the dam needs constant maintenance and is built on unstable soil. Both of which can cause flooding. In fact, the "worst case scenario" would cause far more damage than ISIS has with the dam. 


Clearly, purposefully using the resources of an area to damage a population is more chilling the a poorly made structure because malice involved. However even in the hands of the United States, the dam shows just how dangerous manipulating nature can be on a local population. 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 5:21 PM

This will have an enormous impact on drought for drinking, agriculture purposes or even the opposite.  This strategy could be used to flood the lands ruining agriculture.

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Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There are major hurdles in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestine.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in Washington in July for the first time in three years. While the talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, they are already beginning to take on a last-ditch quality. Explore some of the contentious issues that negotiators have faced in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars.  These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all  show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace.  The discipline of geography doesn't simple study the peace process--it is a part of it.  The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues.  Geography can be both the problem and the solution. 


Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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Mr. David Burton's curator insight, July 17, 2014 10:49 PM

Thoughts from my friend Seth...

 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars.  These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all  show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace.  The discipline of geography doesn't simple study the peace process--it is a part of it.  The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues.  Geography can be both the problem and the solution.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:00 PM

APHG-U4

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:37 PM

This video explains why defined borders are an important part of any potential solution for the conflict, and why it is such a complex issue. While agreeing on a border that benefits both seems like it should be an easy task, the realities on the ground and actions from both sides make it anything but easy. 

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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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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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Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

Why the Saudis Are Going Solar | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia produces much of its electricity by burning oil, a practice that most countries abandoned long ago, reasoning that they could use coal and natural gas instead and save oil for transportation, an application for which there is no mainstream alternative. Most of Saudi Arabia’s power plants are colossally inefficient, as are its air conditioners, which consumed 70 percent of the kingdom’s electricity in 2013. Although the kingdom has just 30 million people, it is the world’s sixth-largest consumer of oil.Now, Saudi rulers say, things must change. Their motivation isn’t concern about global warming; the last thing they want is an end to the fossil-fuel era. Quite the contrary: they see investing in solar energy as a way to remain a global oil power. The Saudis burn about a quarter of the oil they produce—and their domestic consumption has been rising at an alarming 7 percent a year, nearly three times the rate of population growth.


TagsSaudi Arabiaenergy, resourcesconsumption, Middle East, sustainability.

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Dustin Fowler's curator insight, July 14, 2015 12:13 PM

A great article discussing energy reform in Saudi Arabia.  Another good source of information about some of the reforms being implemented in the kingdom can be found at this link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVgWtOeWNgg

 

Interesting to see how this change in energy consumption will effect Saudi politics and the economy. 

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 23, 2015 11:15 AM

Good for Saudi Arabia

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 2:29 PM

The irony here is palpable- if the Saudis overtake the US in terms of solar power, I think I'd lose hope for our future. The most infamous oil-state on the planet has recognized that its costly domestic consumption of its vast oil supplies is hurting its profits, and it would rather seek an alternative energy supply to fuel its own nation so that it can sell more oil to foreign investors. The logic here is actually very sound- Saudi Arabia knows that there is money to be made by cutting down their own oil consumption, and even if the world sees how successful they are in their own adoption of solar power as their main source of electricity, most of the West won't be willing to make the same transition when there's so much Saudi oil to buy. Everyone wins- except American consumers, of course. Oh, and the planet- the burning of fossil fuels is a serious problem our generation must tackle if we are to minimize the damages created by man-made global warming. In the short-term, nothing is set in stone, as we have no idea how successful the Saudis will be in their attempt to harvest solar power on such a large scale. However, the implications of this move is huge- I can only imagine what an influx of Saudi oil on the market would do for US gas prices. 

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Using Humor to Break Stereotypes

"A founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, standup comic Maz Jobrani riffs on the challenges and conflicts of being Iranian-American -- 'like, part of me thinks I should have a nuclear program; the other part thinks I can't be trusted ...'"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This comedian doesn't just get laughs; he uses stand-up as a platform for discussing important social issues and to foster greater cultural understanding.  His big goal is to break stereotypical perspectives of Muslims and Middle Easterners by showing that "there are good people everywhere."  Here is another of his entertaining and educational TED talks.  


Tags: Middle East, TEDglobalization, culture, Islam.

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Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:49 PM

The video is an example as how anything can be used to help break stereotypes all you have to do is try.

Sharrock's curator insight, June 22, 2015 1:13 PM

A way to explore stereotypes and being American. Teachers can explore these issues to attack immigration, ethnicity, perspective, and more. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 7:49 AM

At its best, humor can break down old stereotypes and foster a greater degree of cultural understanding. That is exactly what Maz Jobrani is trying to accomplish with his humor. There are obvious stereotypes about Muslims that are often far too pervasive in our culture. The most common stereotype  is the lumping of all Muslims into one monolithic group.  All Muslims are not the same. Like Christianity, not all Muslims interpret their holy book in the same exact way. The large majority of Muslims are good people who respect American ideals. Hopefully, Jobranis humor can reach some people who may not understand those facts.

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Syrian Journey: Choose your own route

Syrian Journey: Choose your own route | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Put yourself in the shoes of a Syrian migrant and see whether you could make the right choices on the journey to Europe.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This BBC interactive tries to get the user to empathize with the plight and the geographic circumstances of Syrian refugees that are fleeing a land a strife.  The choices are not easy and there is no certain path.  This is an interesting interactive that is designed to build geographic empathy.


Tags: refugees, Syria, migration, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.

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Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 5, 2015 8:01 PM

Citizens of Syria have experienced difficult times since their country entered into a period of continual war in the past few decades. People migrate to Europe in demand of better life for their families. All begin with a plan and a &helper,&  called trafficker or coyote in Mexico, and money to cross few borders and be able to live life free from war. Although, with countries such as Egypt, Lybia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece, with a massive migrations, tough economies, lack of jobs, nothing and no one is safe. However, Europe is very attractive in terms of quality life and safety to raise families. Furthermore, to be able to survive during this migration transition, many risks are involved and even in some cases, killings. Immigrants migrate by boat, truck, train, and sometimes even walking. Day or night immigrants keep moving and pay  high prices to be transported to the next point. It takes them weeks, months, and even years to reach thier final destinations. This is the same for those immigrants in Mexico and U.S. 

Claire Law's curator insight, April 25, 2015 8:41 PM

UK interactive resource to put students in the shoes of refugees fleeing conflict

zane alan berger's curator insight, May 26, 2015 4:42 PM

this is a virtual stimulator showing the struggle of a Syrian migrant, proving that one risky decision can be detrimental for these people. this can be related to the migration unit

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Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Animated GIF map chronicling the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire." 


Tagsempire, devolutionMiddle East, borders, historical, map.

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 5:47 AM

Many of the problems the Middle East faces today, are a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was aligned with Germany and Austria- Hungary to form the central powers. Following their defeat in the war, the empire collapsed in the ensuing chaos. The victorious allies divided up the ottoman territory amongst themselves. The Borders and nations they created, were poorly designed. They failed to take into account the wide divergences of ethnic groups in the Middle East. The artificial nations they constructed, were ripe for ethnic conflict.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:33 PM

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire can be clearly seen at the beginning and the end. They had a massive territory expansion at 1300 and it bloomed from there. from then to 1900 then only had some minor changes with some changes in territory. At the end, in 1900s was the most significant change with the Empire collapsing with the Republic of Turkey being established in 1923.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 13, 2015 3:39 PM

A fascinating look into the shifting nature of borders through history. Unfortunately it also reflects many atrocities that also occurred in those years. Geographically the Empire wouldn't last given its difficult to defend borders. Additionally its extremely conservative Political and Cultural nature made it nearly impossible for it to adapt to changing times in technology. Which is ironic in a way because it was their innovation that sparked the Empire and the seizure of Constantinople to begin with. Also it should perhaps be mentioned that the current nation of Turkeys borders are an unnatural creation on the part of the Turks when they were aware their Empire would collapse. This unfortunately also means this map hides events such as the Armenian Genocide to try and purify Anatolia so that the Turks could claim it as its sole homeland while abandoning the rest of the Empire (so in effect they consolidated to try and keep as much land as possible).

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A bird's-eye view of war-torn Syria

A bird's-eye view of war-torn Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A school that lays in ruins, hospitals and refugee camps under attack, and a city center with the size of Manhattan destroyed by shelling — these are some of the shocking details of a new United Nations report on the conflict in Syria, four years after in began.


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, remote sensing.

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Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 8:57 AM

Due to the current terror war in Syria, it has caused many people to flee to surrounding countries or countries where there is no terror and discrimination. This has caused them to be refugees or internally displaced persons.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:42 PM

The stupidity of this whole thing is the reparations and its cost. Its the injury and death tolls during the conflicts followed by the high cost to rebuild. One must ask is the war or conflicts worth it.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:20 PM

from the air the war looks like many historical photographs of bombings, and in this age of precision warfare it is somewhat disturbing that warfare can still look like this. this is a destruction of infrastructure on a scale unseen in the middle east since the Iran-Iraq war.

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Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques

Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.  It's a side of Iran the rest of the world doesn't normally get to see -- the kaleidoscopically brilliant interiors of the country's intricately designed mosques.With beautiful mosaics and stained glass framed by powerful architecture, the buildings are astounding."


Tagsreligion, culture, IslamIran, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:25 PM

Showing the sacred spaces of Islam and how they are designed around the world. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:47 PM

This was one of my favorite articles. We usually are very used to seeing negative sides to the Middle East and this gave it a different spin. This shows breathtaking pictures of the Mosques in Iran. This architecture isn't like anything I've seen with all of the symmetry and colors. These photos were taken by a student and were not easily taken. You have to have an eye to capture moments like this and pictures like this are not always appreciated. the detail that went into creating and designing these mosques are really special and I would love to actually see something like this in person. 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:03 PM

Amazing photos of these mosques.  The detail and color in some of these mosques are extraordinary.  This kind of brilliance in color is something that is unexpected in this part of the world where everything seems to be so bland and alike in color or style.  Its surprising that the mosques don't let professional take pictures with certain equipment inside but let tourists take photos.  I would understand if the light from a camera could cause damage to the art, but these are the people who will be able to share these beautiful pictures with the rest of the world and show that there is more to Iran than what the outside may think.

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Kuwaiti cartoonist battles opponents on how to portray Islam to the world

Kuwaiti cartoonist battles opponents on how to portray Islam to the world | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Naif al-Mutawa, creator of comic book series THE 99, spoke with Al-Monitor about the recent death threat by the Islamic State and how US President Barack Obama's enemies became his."


Seven years after the Kuwaiti psychologist and entrepreneur first launched his comic book series based on the 99 attributes of Allah, he's facing a sudden onslaught of death threats, fatwas and lawsuits (his comic books were highlighted in this TED talk on cultural change in the Islamic World). His US distributor, meanwhile, continues to sit on a TV deal, in part because of pressure from conservative bloggers who object to any positive description of Islam.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 2:56 PM

It is very difficult to be trapped between two cultures, as this article shows.  Mutawa tried to create a positive image for Islam by creating a group of comic superheros entitled the "ninety nine".  However, this not only backfired in the Middle East but also in the United States of America.  Radical Muslims, including the IS, are upset by his actions and the Islamic State even called for his head on twitter.  In the US, on the other hand, conservatives believe that his comic, and the subsequent cartoon that was to be developed from it, were going to create a sense of radicalism in children.  The conservatives in the US even went as far to say that it would encourage them to become suicide bombers.  Yet, before all these outbursts started about Mutawa's project, the Saudi's believed it was alright, and Obama praised it.  This just shows how intolerance to an idea can come from more than one direction.  In a sense, this shows that race and culture are very controversial, and it also shows that understandings of the same thing can vary upon the region one lives in.   

 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:23 PM

This could have been a great way for Muslim customs to be taught to a whole new demographic of people all over the world.  People are very uneducated all across the globe when it comes to religions outside of their own.  Anytime you can show a side of your culture to a large audience to change a negative perception it should be taken advantage of.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 2:55 PM

I love this. In a world where there are so many negative stereotypes being portrayed in the media, it's refreshing to see someone leading the fight of presenting the truth in a way that's easily consumable for mass media. I find it disgusting that conservative groups have actively fought against the production of these comics because they do not want their young children "exposed to militant Islam." Seriously? You feel threatened by a religion indoctrinating your children because they are so young, because you don't want it replacing the religion you're indoctrinating your children with at such a young age? I find it sickening that people actively want to perpetuate incorrect stereotypes to fit their own agenda, as they are actively aware of their ignorance and EMBRACING it! It's unbelievable. I can only imagine how frustrated Naif must feel- to Westerners, he's a religious extremist, and to the Middle East he's presented as a Zionist. He's attempting to keep the middle ground in one of the most polarizing issues of the 21st century, and I wish him all the luck in the world. What he's doing is necessary for reconciliation and eventual progress, but he is certainly being punished for it in the short-term. I'll have to give his comic a look, and hopefully his show is still on Netflix as well.

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Media and Culture--Perspective and Bias

"Religious scholar Reza Aslan took some serious issue on CNN Monday night with Bill Maher‘s commentary about Islamic violence and oppression. Maher ended his show last Friday by going after liberals for being silent about the violence and oppression that goes on in Muslim nations. Aslan said on CNN that Maher’s arguments are just very unsophisticated.  He said these 'facile arguments' might sound good, but not all Muslim nations are the same. Aslan explained that female mutilation is an African problem, not a Muslim one, and there are Muslim-majority nations where women are treated better and there are even female leaders."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are far too many oversimplifications when people throw around the terms "Muslim-majority countries" and this video shows that a more nuanced understanding is needed.  That being said, it would be naive to pretend as though Islam today were without some structural problems.  As stated in the linked article, "In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority.  Of the 24 most restrictive countries (according to Pew Research), 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities."


Question to Ponder: How does the media play a role in shaping the conversations we have in society about different cultures and places?  How can 'painting with a broad brush' lead to stereotypes and inaccurate conclusions?  


Tagsplaceregions, culture religion, Middle East, media.

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Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 22, 2015 1:21 PM

Last semester i took a anthropology class on the middle east. The class was one of the biggest eye openers for me, When we started the class the professor asked all the students to right down the words that came to mind when they thought of the middle east. Their words were hurtful and mean, and our professor born and raised and turkey was not surprised. The media in America portrays the "Middle East" as this evil desert full of terrorist, disease, poverty, and oppressed women. It is painted with a very broad brush, and gullible America eats it up. It is also a huge injustice because the Middle East covers many countries and they are very diverse. There is many languages, religions, lifestyles, they range greatly. Not every country is " Bad" in fact none of them are, they are just under bad times. I also feel very sorry for the natives of these lands, the peaceful people that are just trying to survive and live. They are beautiful people and i loved studying about them and i always felt a little guilty for associating them with the groups performing heinous acts against their people. What i realized is that often the most vulnerable people, the ones who need us the most are the ones who get forgotten about and the media is part to blame for that.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 5:58 AM

The media plays a substantial role in enhancing stereotypes about Muslims. In order to simplify an issue, the media often lumps groups of people together and identifies them as sharing one set of beliefs. In a constant twenty four hour news environment ,nuance is often sacrificed for a quick ratings driven story. The media is often appealing to the lowest common denominator. The media should make a better effort to explain the differences between each Muslim nation. The Middle East is a complex area, and it deserves complex coverage.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:33 PM

yes, some Muslim countries have been lead by women. how many woman governors have there been. Texas is the size of Iraq. scale matters, and if all Muslim countries were merged they would never elect a woman as their leader, if one even ran and survived. the us has at least let them run.

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The 9 biggest myths about ISIS

The 9 biggest myths about ISIS | Geography Education | Scoop.it
If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This interactive is a series of related articles, each designed to tackle popular narratives that have been constructed to explain ISIS; there are bits of truths in these myths, but they fail to fully contextualize the reality on the ground.  These nine myths are:

  1. ISIS is crazy and irrational
  2. People support ISIS because they like its radical form of Islam
  3. ISIS is part of al-Qaeda
  4. ISIS is a Syrian rebel group
  5. ISIS is only strong because of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki
  6. ISIS is afraid of female soldiers
  7. The US can destroy ISIS
  8. ISIS will self-destruct on its own
  9. ISIS is invincible

 

Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopolitics.


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David Lizotte's curator insight, March 14, 2015 2:39 PM

This article does a good job helping the reader gain a more rounded perspective of ISIS, that is ISIS' rational. The writer feels it necessary for people to better understand ISIS' reasoning for its being so there are in turn no misjudgments formed about the terrorists. I knew the writer was in no way defending ISIS, rather giving an intellectual input on the matter to try and enhance everyones perspective. However, as contextual as it was, the writer truly needed to get across how crude/violent the movement truly is. Yes, understanding ISIS is important, it helps form a more precise explanation for their actions... but they are terrorists whom are exploiting the misfortune of a people (Sunni misrepresentation in a political setting) in order to form a society... which is ultimately founded on violence and acts that counter the true fundamentals and meaning of Islam. A less experienced reader could perceive this article as defending the reasoning(s)/rational of ISIS.

Personally, I find that there is rational behind every movement/terrorist factions/rebel actions, etc... There is usually a common goal, no matter how well-thought out and actions then occur in order to obtain this goal, no matter how well-thought out. Even Joseph Kony (at his height), rampaging through central Africa has a rational behind his actions-to disrupt villages/communities, gain profit in food and money, as well as abduct and dehumanize young children in order to make them fierce warriors, all these reasons ultimately support his main issue/goal, that being fighting government suppression. Horrible rational which leads to atrocities, yet no piece was written to help the world gain a better understanding of Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. Because in either case they are terrorists...

Yes, understanding the enemy and how/why it functions the way it does is important. Yes, interpreting there rational is important. But this article truly fails to get across how ruthless and disturbed ISIS actually is. The writer states ISIS is basically doing what many rebel groups do when upset with the political setting... they rebel and try to form there own territory. Well, this is true, especially the political reasoning behind ISIS' actions and its existence (something the article does do a good job explaining) but the way ISIS goes about is non-comparable. Look at the Russian-backed separatists in the Eastern Ukraine. Both oppositions engaged in war fare. They aren't playing a game of hide and seek beheading civilians, torturing reporters, etc... all for political gains... ISIS are terrorists-of course they have a rational, of course they are smart, there predecessor "al-Qaeda" were smart too. Joseph Kony can be seen as smart... he hasn't gotten caught, thats smart isn't it? 

The article explains that them being smart and having a strong rational motive makes them dangerous. No kidding they are dangerous.

The article does a good job at educating people about ISIS yet it certainly teeters on the line of defending them. It gives reasoning behind there soulless attacks, scholars know the reasoning, they do not have to be written out in a quasi defense format like I believe this article does. "The end justifies the means" is the perspective of the Islamic State... it shouldn't be so for this writer!

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 18, 2015 9:04 PM

This may be a little off topic but with a President like Obama, how could America even try to stop ISIS alone?  That man has made a fool of our country!  I don't think ISIS would self-destruct on its own; it will continue to grow and become more powerful because people are afraid.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:13 AM

Like much of the Middle East, ISIS is shrouded in myth. To many Americans, they are just a band of savage lunatics who want to chop peoples heads off. In reality they are not that insane. The violence they commit is calculated. "It  is targeted to weaken their enemies and strengthen ISIS' hold on territory, in part by terrorizing the people it wishes to rule over". They are driven by radical ideology, but they do have an ultimate goal in mind. They want to rule territory and form their own radical empire. Violence is a tool to achieve that aim.  The rest of this article describes eight other myths commonly associated with ISIS. This article does an excellent job of breaking down commonly held assumptions of ISIS.

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Titles like the one for this article, 40 maps that explain the Middle East, are becoming increasingly common for internet articles.  They helps us feel that we can explain all of the world's complexities and make sense of highly dynamic situations.  While we can all agree that maps are great analytical tools that can be very persuasive, sometimes we can pretend that they are the end all, be all for any situation.  Maps can also be used to show how something that we thought was simple can be much complex and nuanced than we had previously imagined, as demonstrated by this article, 15 Maps that Don't Explain the Middle East at All.  Both perspectives have their place (and both articles are quite insightful). Not connected to the Middle East, but East Asia, this article entitled Lies, Damned Lies and Maps continues the discussion of maps, truth and perception. 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, borders, colonialism, devolution, historical, mapping.

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David Lizotte's curator insight, March 11, 2015 4:44 PM

This was an excellent portrayal of the middle east. The using of maps accompanied by side paragraphs explains the long history which is necessary to know if one is to understand its current status. When learning about different realms and regions (that existed throughout history) I always find it on a map. In order to truly understand a certain empire, one must know its geographical setting and its significance. It helps me better understand the region. These maps, specifically the ones that are changing through the domains reign, are extremely helpful in better comprehending the misunderstood middle eastern region. This website also creates more thought. If a particular map captivates the reader they can do more research on the topic. However, the "slides" do stand alone portraying much knowledge to a wide variety of specific elements that are still ongoing. The grouping of the slides by region/conflict/country was also an excellent strategy. It shows organization which in turn develops an easier learning process. 

The initial map educates many people of how what is modern day Iraq used to be an Oasis. However, over time, due to over farming and soil erosion the landscape changed to dry/desert territory. 

The maps displaying the rise of Islam and its transitioning into the Ottoman Empire give a great perspective as to the amount of land it covered. The Islamic world thrived and was very advanced in there culture in regards to medicine and arithmetic. The shear size of the empires should increase ones respect of the Islamic theatre. What many people are not aware of is how the Ottoman Empire was knocking on the door of the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century. This was quite an advancement of territory crossing through much of eastern Europe ending as far west as Vienna. A lot of what is Eastern Europe today was part of the Ottoman Empire, including Greece. 

Another excellent map that contributes to the better understanding of western involvement can be seen in the carving up of the Ottoman Empire post WWI. Colonialism was very much present throughout less developed regions so the carving up of the middle east was not an exotic concept to the victorious west. Territories/countries were created and ethnic groups dominated one another. Its certainly true a western presence has contributed to prior and existing issues throughout the middle East.

 

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 5:18 PM

These 40 maps are a very interesting way of showing how people have traveled around and moved about the Earth from the time of the fertile crescent era to the people of today. It shows us the paths that people have taken to move to a new location. How they used the Meditteranean Sea to move from one side to the other. It also shows how the Tigris and Euphrates came together to form a smaller area of the Persian gulf. This led to smalled economic growth because now there is less land for imports and exports.

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Gendered Cultural Narratives

Gendered Cultural Narratives | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"As a Muslim woman who chooses to wear hijab,I'd like to apologize for this poster, to my non-hijab wearing cohorts. http://pic.twitter.com/IoLfDPEGx7

Seth Dixon's insight:

The hijab is an incredibly complex cultural artifact full of social meanings all over the political spectrum.  This poster shows some of the social pressures exerted on women in Iran to wear the hijab.  This poster comes from Iran where the government is using this platform to encourage traditional values and gendered norms using a chocolate bar/candy analogy.  This poster struck a nerve on social media throughout the Middle East in part because blends some modern cultural diffusion elements with some older folk traditions.  Many hijab-wearing women don't want other women to be shamed into conforming, and many women wear it the hijab in public, but privately subvert the cultural norms on social media.  What stereotypes and perspectives are embodied in this poster?  Why do you think this poster was seen as inflammatory or culturally insensitive by many?  This image would be a great discussion starter for cultural  patterns and process as well as the geography of the Middle East. 


TagsIran, gender, MiddleEast, Islamreligion, culture, social media.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:03 PM

This idea that women do not have human rights takes place in Saudi Arabia. What this poster is saying is that women are sweet creatures metaphorically just like candy. As you can see on the right, the candy is wrapped and covered just like the woman covered in a hijab and on the left, the candy is unwrapped and it shows the exposure of the woman and her features. Saudi Arabia has a strict rule about women being covered up and not exposing themselves to the outside world just like the image on the right.

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 25, 2015 8:19 PM

This poster/advertisement raises many questions. Having discussed it in detail during class it left me with a few questions and comments. One is whom created this poster? Two, where was this poster advertised? Three, its an extremely original piece of propaganda which passes judgement on woman and the way they are to live. Four, as discussed in class, the color green is a dominant "true" Islamic color. But what's also interesting is that the preferred character of women is on the east side of the poster while the scandalous-less preferred- woman is on the west side. Western influence in a middle eastern Islamic region is not quite received with open arms... Its almost saying Arab women should stay true to Islam and cover themselves. Women whom are influenced by western culture have lost there way and are damaged goods that no true man of Islam would want to pursue. 

This piece of propaganda has many layers to it. Although I personally am not too keen on the message it is an interesting and creative "piece" to say the least. Its too bad it is used to label and even dehumanize women.  

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:37 PM

Im sure this poster was highly offensive to many people in the middle east, both male and female.  There is a lot of meaning in each picture, but the basic point seems to be that the image on the right is the way that a lady is supposed to dress, the way that is more appropriate.  Conservative with the candy wrapped, it shows that a woman should dress and act a certain way, while the other image has a girl, who appears to be naked with her hair blowing around, who looks like she has no values, or respect for her religion.

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Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?

Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As the likelihood of an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s eastern border grows, Ankara is losing its historical resistance to the idea.


Developments in Iraq have left Turkey facing the prospect of an independent Kurdish state on its eastern border. Such an idea would have been abhorrent for Turkey a mere decade ago for fear that its existence would incite separation among its own restive Kurds. The standard Turkish narrative at the time was that an independent Kurdistan was a Western project aimed at destroying Turkey, an age-old ambition. Even the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was viewed in this context by many. The picture is no longer so black and white.

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MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:44 PM

APHG-U4

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 1:56 PM

The Kurdish people have longed for their own, independent nation for centuries, and it seems like the recent fission of Iraq has opened the door for their dream to become a reality. Although Turkey has long since been opposed to the existence of an ethnic Kurdish state (the result of its own sizable Kurdish minority), the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the subsequent military successes of the Kurds against militant Islamic groups have raised an important question: why don't they deserve their own nation? The Kurds have shown their dedication to the cause in combat, not shying away from the bloodshed that has gripped the region in the name of independence. Although the fracturing of the Iraqi state falls firmly against all official US and Turkey positions on the matter, the reality of the situation is far more complicated, and the supposed benefits of keeping Iraq together are seeming less and less worth the fighting. The Kurds have proven themselves capable of organizing, and they could perhaps add a new dimension of stability to the region.