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Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
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In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun

In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Young Iranians are tuning out. Of those encountered on a visit, many seemed less interested in religious fanaticism than in sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.

 

Often we fall into the trap of assuming that the political rhetoric of the governmental regime is is culturally representative of the people of that country (such as this picture above.  Listen to this podcast on the  Iranian nuclear program for an example of the religous/political rhetoric: http://www.scoop.it/t/regional-geography/p/2016189455/iran-s-nuclear-fatwa-a-policy-or-a-ploy ).  And yet, people are still people, and kids are just kids, even in a conservative theocratic government.

"One of the most pernicious misunderstandings in the West about Iranians is that they are dour religious fanatics...In the 1970s, disgruntled young Iranians rebelled against a corrupt secular regime by embracing an ascetic form of Islam. Now they’re rebelling against a corrupt religious regime by embracing personal freedom — in some cases, even sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." 

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Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 11:26 AM

The rebellious nature of young adults seems to be a unifying human factor regardless of the country or regime. They may not rebel in the same ways we'd expect, but they rebel regardless. The thing I especially find interesting across all countries is the upcoming of this new generation. The older people of all nations spend a lot of time holding onto their power and beliefs, but time will only tell how drastically the world will change once they naturally die out and this new generation, raised by video games and the unifying power of the internet, takes over.

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Persian or Iranian? Is there a Difference?

Persian or Iranian?  Is there a Difference? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Over the next few months, Ajam Media Collective will host a series that focuses on and describes various elements of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic mosaic that we refer to collectively as Iran...

 

What is in a name?  We know that there are subtle differences between Hispanic, Indigenous, Latino and Mexican that are bound with the history of these words and how they have been used by both insiders and outsiders to construct identity.  Likewise, the distinctions between the terms Persian and Iranian are often used interchangeably.  However there are political, ethnic, linguistic and religious connotations that shape the meanings behind these terms.  While I don't necessarily agree with all of the arguments, this is an interesting look at the historical roots of these distinctions and the ramifications of these terms.   

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Ms. Harrington's comment, July 3, 2012 11:17 PM
This is interesting, I have wondered this myself, when hearing a person describe themselves as Persian. The article goes on to say being Persian is a cultural subset of Iranians, who share a common language and culture. It can be conditered a cultural or political statement to call ones self Persian rather than Iranian.
Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 11:23 AM

This has always been a question between my friends and I, as one of my friends identifies as Persian. In my limited experience in the US it seems that the people who identify themselves as Iranian have immigrated in the last two generations or so. In comparison to families which came over quite a few generations ago who refer to themselves as "Persian"

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 29, 3:58 PM

When speaking about this topic it is important to recognize that Iranian and Persian are not the same. I believe in this classification as well as others placing people into groups of any kind can be dangerous. I enjoyed the comedy routine included in this article by Persian-Iranian-American comic Maz Jobrani. I thought it was very clever how he poked fun at the fact that he prefers to be called Persian at times because in this post 9-11 world it seems "softer". I thought it was hilarious how he mentioned cats and rugs and tried to emphasize the "softer" side of Persia.

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What is the Arab Spring?

The Choices Program asks Brown University's Political Scientist Melani Cammett to briefly explain the Arab Spring.  This is a great primer to teach young students who don't follow international news to understand the beginnings of the Arab Spring.  For more videos by the Choices Program in their "Scholars Online" series, see:

http://www.choices.edu/resources/scholarsonline.php

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 26, 3:40 PM

The Arab Spring can be described as an uprising of Arab protesters that are no longer afraid to stand up against their rulers to improve their own political and economic conditions. Arabs march in the streets and hold signs to get their points across in hopes that things will eventually look up.

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We Just Want To Live Here

We Just Want To Live Here | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This book is a compilation of letters exchanged between two 18-year-old girls who live in Jerusalem: one Israeli and the other Palestinian. Having met through a student exchange program, they openly discuss their frustrations with the political situation of 2002, and over time come to appreciate the others cultural and political viewpoints. This is a great cross-cultural interaction as the girls show their misconceptions of the other group, but through open dialogue come to an appreciation for other perspectives. This would be a good project to have student read the book and synthesize the cultural and political elements within them to reinforce the class content with a real-world example.

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Why Syria should matter to Americans

Why Syria should matter to Americans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In between taking care of their families, working and trying to keep up with everyday life, many Americans have caught at least a couple stories about Syria.

 

Geopolitical strategists have noted 6 reasons why the United States should care about Syria (if the fact that people are dying and suffering because of a repressive regime is not enough for you).  1) it is the physical core of the Middle East 2) Al Qaeda 3)Iran 4)Oil Prices 5) Economics and 6) Global reputation within the region.

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Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 6, 3:14 PM

I particularly like this article because I believe that many Americans of all ages are unaware and not concerned of what is happening in Syria.  At times,I also ask the question, "why does this mater?"  This article breaks it all down in simplest terms for anyone to understand.  The relative location of Syria is crucial, as it borders Iraq. Al Qaeda would benefit from the failed state as a new training ground.  Oil prices would rise, and the economy would be greatly affected in general.  The war in Iraq cost nearly $1 trillion, what would cost be if military is sent to Syria.  More importantly how many American lives would be sacrificed yet again in this part of the world. Lastly, the article mentions global representation.  This is a huge point.  In the past America has made major mistakes with warfare in order to save face and the global reputation (Vietnam).  Is this an issue where we just "mind our business?"  Or are the reasons listed above more important than global representation and we should be preventing a further war/crisis?

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 6, 3:43 PM

Syria seen as the core of the Middle East and if it begins to weaken, so does the entire middle east. The violence that is riddling Syria can make it way into Iraq, where some Americans are still active in. The article goes on to highlight how Syria, while not on our list of immediate concerns, could seriously effect Oil prices due to the violence erupting in that country and how the possibility of United States involvement could have an effect on the US economy, just like the war in Iraq had an effect and cost $1 trillion as a result. The article also shows how the United States is becoming more involved, at least verbally, by saying that it has a “responsibility as a global leader to defend democratic Principles.”

Chandler and Zane's curator insight, November 4, 5:21 PM

Economics: Americans should care about Syrians because 1: they are people like you and me. 2: they who said " since they aren't us we don't care for them and we won't accept outsiders. Nobody that's who. Syria does have issues and problems that need to be worked on but we can't give up on them and what if we decreased in what we have. We would need somebody to take us in and if we help them, they'll help us.

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NYTimes Video: Linking Gaza to the Outside World

NYTimes Video: Linking Gaza to the Outside World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A look inside the controversial underground tunnels that link Egypt and the Gaza Strip, where smugglers funnel fuel, food, and potentially weapons into the isolated territory.

 

This video is a look inside the some of the hundreds of tunnels that are used to smuggle goods into Gaza that have become more intensely used since the blockade on goods that went into effect in 2007 when Hamas came to power.  Also, members of the Israeli military demonstrate the evidence they have that these tunnels are being used to bring weapons. 

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Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay

Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Learn more about the ethnic, religious and political powerplays in and around Iraq during a virtual tour of the region led by NBC’s Richard Engel.

 

This is an incredibly well-put together, video/slideshow about the complex geography of within Iraq that has lead to so many difficulties in the post-Saddam Hussein era.   The ethnic patterns, religious divisions, spatial arrangements of resources as well as the larger regional context all play roles in creating the a contentious political environment. 

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Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 11:35 PM
I have always felt that Iraq is very complex. And it is. However the videos shed some light on clarifying what most of the turmoil is about.
Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 8:33 PM

I enjoyed this video. I never really understood why these groups were fighting. It was an easy video to understand and I learned that the fighting is not just about religious but cultural differences as well. 

Stacey Jackson's curator insight, March 22, 2013 11:03 PM

Although I try to keep up with world events, Iraq has puzzled me. This was spectacularly helpful, although I still don't feel like I have the full picture. For instance, I understand that three ethnic groups were forced in to a new country, Iraq, after World War I and that the country has been in turmoil ever since. However, these ethnic groups were all a part of the Ottoman Empire before there was an Iraq, so why did the trouble start after the formation of Iraq?

 

These ethnic groups had their own provinces within the Ottoman Empire. I'm assuming these groups thought they'd establish their own separate nations after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but were not given the chance to decide for themselves since Iraq was a product of "European powers." If this is accurate, then European nations have a horrible track record when it comes to dictating foreign boundaries that lead to unrest abroad. 

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Bahrain: Shouting in the dark

"The story of the Arab revolution that was abandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West and forgotten by the world."

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Egypt--Reflections on an Unfinished Revolution

Egypt--Reflections on an Unfinished Revolution | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A year the first protests in Tahrir Square, young Egyptians look back at the promise of the Arab Spring as well as the reality many revolutionaries failed to foresee.

 

The young revolutionary voices of Egypt are hardly united in their political aims and social goals.  This video chronicles the disparate voices that are a part of the shaping the revolution, but also voices that are impacted by the unfinished nature of the revolution. 

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Syria's Political Situation in Historical Context

The Syrian government's crackdown on an uprising in 1982 was so brutal that Syrians rarely spoke about it. But now, some Syrians plan to mark the 30th anniversary of the events in Hama as they continue with the current uprising.
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Arab Spring Not Everywhere

Bahrain put down an uprising and said it would introduce changes. But so far, little has changed in a country where Shiite Muslims make up most of the population but have very little power. 
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Egypt's NGO crackdown

Egypt's NGO crackdown | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Tensions rise in Cairo as Egyptian forces raided the offices of human rights and pro-democracy groups.

 

When there is a new political regime, what impact does it have on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating within that country?  While many NGOs attempt to stay out of partisan politicals so as not to compromise the future of their organization or cause, sometimes the cause is in direct conflict with the policies of the regime.  

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 17, 2013 5:25 PM

Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 human rights and pro-democracy groups across the country causing harsh critism and threats toward Egypt from the US that they would freeze aid. 

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A global culture to fight extremism

TED Talks Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold?

 

Globalization cut both ways.  Maajid Nawaz discusses how social movements use ideas, narratives, symbols and leaders through borderless technologies, to create transnational identities.  This has lead to highly sophisticated extremist organizations in Muslim-majority societies (and the speaker was a participant in that for 13 years).  Isolated extremist are now globally connected.  Given the Arab spring, how can these tools strengthen democratic social movements? 

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The Politics of Culture

An NPR team begins a series of reports from North Africa, where last year's revolutions have Tunisia, Libya and Egypt writing new rules for their changing societies.

 

The Arab Spring has reworked the political landscape in Tunisia; this podcast looks at the cultural changes that have also taken place because of the political shifts.  How are culture and politics interconnected?   

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Interactive map of Palestine villages destroyed in Nakba

Interactive map of Palestine villages destroyed in Nakba | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Electronic Intifada has produced this interactive map that allows you to see information about any of the more than 400 Palestinian cities, towns and villages depopulated and destroyed during the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by...

 

Admittedly, this is a source of information has a strong political agenda and the wording of the title might make some bristle.  This is a good way to show how geospatial information can be used by non-state agents to pursuade viewers to their ideological position.  Nabka (the day of catastrophe) is generally commemorated on May 15th, to remember the Palestinian villages that were depopulated or destroyed in 1948 after the creation of the state of Israel.   

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Christians of the Holy Land

Christians of the Holy Land | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.

 

This 14 minute clip looks at the complex political and cultural geography of the Israel and Palestine.  While often reduced to being a struggle between Israeli Jews and Palestinians Muslims, this missed simplification fails to tell the story of Palestinian Christians. 

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NCSS: War and Terrorism

NCSS: War and Terrorism | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The resources tab of the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) webpage is a treasure trove of lesson plan materials for teachers. This particular link focuses on War and Terrorism, and provides resources to help teachers to educate their classes about the emerging geopolitical landscape. This is a set of over 30 lesson plans, articles, maps and resources that focus on the U.S. war in Iraq, terrorism, and other military incursions in the Middle East. Collectively they give geographic perspective on current events so students can understand more about the places in the world that they hear about in the news.

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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 4:24 PM

This must be a great teaching plan so students can be thought about what is going on in the world. It also shows them what is going on in Iraq and in the Middle East and it could probably trigger one of them to fight back and change the Middle East from all the discrimination towards women and probably destroy all these bad groups that just have a motive to destroy and kill.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 10:34 AM

Before 9/11 a lot of Americans didnt know much about the war on terrorism, It wasnt till after the attacks when they were directly affected did they bother to learn more about it to know why it happened and if something like it would happen again. 

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Syrian Refugees

Syrian Refugees | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Syrians by the thousands are fleeing the violence in their home country and seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

 

Demographics and Politics: This photo essay is a varied glimpse into the refugee camps that have emerged from the Syrian uprisings against the Assad regime.  How are politics and migration connected?  Can you think of other examples where we see similar patterns? 

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Despite Restrictions, Gaza Finds A Way To Build

The Palestinian territory is in the midst of a construction boom, more than three years after a major Israeli assault that left much of the territory in ruins.

 

There has been a formal ban on building materials entering Gaza since 2007 (when Hamas took over the territory) since the Israeli government fears they could be weaponized or aid the military efforts.  Still, if the demand is high enough, some of the supply will still enter as we goods entering Gaza through smuggling tunnels from the Egyptian city of Rafah. 

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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 22, 2012 12:22 PM
I understand the Israeli government fears Gaza could be weaponized or aid military efforts, but these people need to rebuild after the major assault that left it in ruins. If there's been a ban for 5 years though, I doubt much will change.
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Religious architecture of Islam

Religious architecture of Islam | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Read Religious architecture of Islam for travel tips, advice, news and articles from all around the world by Lonely Planet...

 

This is an excellent article that can be used in a thematic class for analyzing religion, the human landscape, the urban environment and cultural iconography.  For a regional geography class, this show great images from Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria and Israel/Palestine.  

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Quran Coaching's curator insight, August 21, 2:10 PM

The Quran-Coaching is the best platform for the quran learning by taking online quran classes.
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andrew desrochers's curator insight, October 28, 2:47 PM

These architectural designs in Israel show religious meanings, what other factors inspire architectural creativity? Who uses these different styles of creativity?

Lily and Cami's curator insight, November 5, 5:18 PM

Israel Religion: I scooped this because the picture really stood out to me because the golden dome stands over the rock on Temple Mount. you also can see great images of Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria, and Israel/Palestine. Not only are these sacred buildings but they are also big religious and tourist attractions.

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The Strange Revolution in Bahrain

The Strange Revolution in Bahrain | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The revolt in little Bahrain is easy to ignore. But it’s actually part of a big global story."

 

This is the Arab Spring uprising that the media forgot...it's a small country so the seemingly unsuccessful uprising got shelved for more important news.  At the heart of this uprising in the Shia vs. Sunni schism, with the government being controlled by the minority Sunni (and backed by the Saudi government and military which is also Sunni). 

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Globalizing the Local, Localizing the Global

Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, talks about how art and culture create a country's identity -- and allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world.

 

Oftentimes, we in the more developed world seek to change cultural practices and institutions in the developing world. This talk speaks to the importance of locally based agents for cultural change, specifically within the context of the Middle East. While we might wish to see what many perceive as universal rights spread throughout the world, the local cultural geographies must be taken into consideration into how to carry out any initiative that seeks to change local institutions.

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Katharine Norman's curator insight, September 15, 2013 1:19 AM

Sheikha provides an amazing talk that leaves no one denying that culture is the underlying thread that ties us all together.

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Strait of Hormuz: U.S. Should Be Ready for the Next Oil Crisis

Strait of Hormuz: U.S. Should Be Ready for the Next Oil Crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This article, advocating for both a geopolitical strategy to counter an hostile move by Iran in the Persian Gulf, also analyzes the cultural and economic impact of the United States energy consumption patterns.  This could be an interesting article to share as a 'current events.'

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mderder's comment, January 30, 2012 2:27 PM
The last time that the Iranians attempted to aggressively control the waters of the Persian Gulf all they got for their trouble were sunken ships. The U.S. navy should be able to keep he waters of the Strait open, and the Iranians would be wise to keep their actions limited to verbal threats.
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Bible Geocoding - Bible Maps in Google Earth

Bible Geocoding - Bible Maps in Google Earth | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The location of every identifiable place mentioned in the Bible."

 

I understand that this may have limited applications for you in public classroom settings, however this is such a fantastic example of how to use geospatial technologies to recreate and understand historical geographies, I had to share.  You can preview the data by book and chapter, download the numerous KMZ files to open in Google Earth, or preview them in Google Maps.  Also, various overlays and geotagged photos are available on this impressive website.     

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Jeremy Brousseau's comment, January 30, 2012 2:14 PM
Interesting. Biblical history encompasses such a large number of people the world over, it's great to be able to SEE these events occured.
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Priests brawl at Bethlehem church

Priests brawl at Bethlehem church | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A fight broke out at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem after rival groups of Orthodox and Armenian clerics clashed over the boundaries of their jurisdictions inside the church.

 

This is a great video to show religious geography and how scale plays a key role in a patterns.  Not only does the macro-religious geography of the Levant lead to politically contentious situations, but the micro-religious geography can also be problematic.  This building itself has a curiously devided spatial pattern among Christian branches that demands tolerance, cooperation and searching for ways to share a place that many groups find holy...this could be seen as symbolic way to look at the whole area.   

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Charles Matley's comment, January 30, 2012 2:13 PM
This goes to show the world how tense of a subject religion is. Look at the fuss over the removal of the "School Prayer" in Cranston.
mderder's comment, January 30, 2012 2:21 PM
It is ironic that Orthodox Christians, both Eastern and Oriental, have yet to figure out that the founder of their religion would strictly disapprove of this kind of behavior. Instead of trying to grab space from one another in holy shrines, they should instead be cooperating with one another.