"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?"
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"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?"
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.
A 'retronym' is a term specifying the original meaning of word after a newer meaning has overtaken it.
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.
Two photographers set out to see what happened to small family businesses in New York City in a decade
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.
"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."
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?
Translate any word from English to more than 30 other European languages, on a map
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world's population, making Islam the second-largest religion.
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.
President's decision to shift official language from English to local language comes months after its decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth
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?
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.
"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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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?
Few know "boondocks" is a relic of U.S. military occupation in the Philippines.
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.
"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."
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.
|Suggested by C. Kevin Turner|
" 549 players from 62 different countries play in MLS in the United States"
In the United States, soccer is not as prevalant as it is in so many other countries around the world (but it is growing in importance in the United States as well). This cultural discrepancy accounts for both of the spatial distribution of where athletes playing in Major League Soccer in the United States come from--answer: all over. Also, American fans of the English Premier League have distinct preferences based on different cultural meanings behind team affiliations.
In Pakistan's tribal areas, alcohol bootleggers, lured by enormous profits, have created clandestine delivery services to evade recent crackdowns by the Taliban and the police.
Michael Slackman, The Times's Berlin Bureau Chief, looks into the city's obsession with a popular street dish that combines sausage, ketchup and curry powder.
This short video on the street foods of German cities is a rich, tangible example to show cultural patterns and processes. Culture is not static and this New York Times video can be used to teach the various concepts of culture; per the updated APHG outline, the initial concepts of culture are:
Question to Ponder: How are these 5 major elements of culture seen in this video?
Conflict Kitchen is the only restaurant in the world that serves cuisine solely from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict.
Questions to Ponder: What do you think the purpose of Conflict Kitchen is for the restaurant owners? Many people choose restaurants for a cultural experience; what type of cultural experiences are these patrons searching for by eating at Conflict Kitchen? What political overtones are there to these cultural encounters?
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
September 11th means different things is different places. While many Americans were remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001, it was Catalonian National Day. In addition to the festivities, they organized a massive public demonstration to support independence and to garner international attention. They created a 'human border' that sretched across the region to apply pressure on the Spanish government to allow a vote that would let Catalonia break away and form their own country. While this energy and enthusiasm swept Barcelona, the Spanish government stopped the protest from spreading into neighboring Valencia (many Valencians speak Catalan).
Questions to Ponder: How do events such as this in public places impact the political process? Is it significant that the link about the Spanish government stopping Valencia comes from a Scottish newspaper? Why? How can social media and technology (such as the hastags
#CatalanWay #ViaCatalana) impact social movements?