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Cultural commodities and the idea of beauty

"In Venezuela, women are confronted with a culture of increasingly enhanced physiques fueled by beauty pageants and plastic surgery."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Unrealistic mannequins are nothing new...but this happens for some important cultural and economic reasons.  Society produces mannequins and the mannequins are a part of the cultural landscape that has some normative ideals of beauty and gender.  How does the media and society's images of the 'ideal body' influence and shape cultural values and aspirations?  How has this changed over time and space?  

This New York Times article shows some of the connections between cultural norms, mannequin production and plastic surgery in Venezuela, while this NPR podcast tackles similar cultural issues in Brazil.  On the opposite side of the spectrum watch this video about the production of mannequins modeled on people with disabilities.  The tag line for the project was "because who is perfect anyway?"


Tags: Venezuela, South America, gender, popular culture, media, culture.

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Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:36 AM

In Venezuela, women are confronted with a culture of increasingly enhanced physiques fueled by beauty pageants and plastic surgery. The man at the beginning says that inner beauty does not exist and that's something that women who are not pretty invented just to justify themselves. This man happens to be the leader of the Miss Venezuela pageant. Another interesting thing he tells us is that in the rules of this contest, the girls don't have to be completely natural. They just have to be beautiful, but where that beauty comes from doesn't matter. For many people in Venezuela, beauty means perfection. Even though Venezuela's economic struggles mount, the search for an idealized and often inflated figure continues. Mannequins are being pumped up to match their outsized human counterparts. One of the workers at the clothing store says that when they had less developed mannequins, they sold less. So not only were mannequins being portrayed as busty because it was the ideal image, but because it also made them more money.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 8, 2015 4:27 PM

Venezuela added a whole new level to the unrealistic beauty standards that mess with some females minds. Putting these mannequins in numerous stores is just sickening. At least in the United States when we go to the mall, we don’t have a model staring us down (unless you’re in Victoria Secret). Yet, what is even worse is that the sales actually went up in one of the stores that introduced these mannequins according to the cashier. The only heartening bit of this clip was the cashier who actually went against societal norms by holding inner beauty above outer beauty.

 

A large part of me can’t grasp why more people don’t believe in inner beauty. As the 28 year old who looked like she was about to have surgery aptly stated, it is all due to “social pressure.” Yet, the last women interviewed about her body image caused by “social pressure” said she will never be “fully satisfied.” In fact, she already wants to get another boob job. If one realizes she will never be happy trying to chase the ridiculous standards of beauty, then why do it? The pressure will never get any better if you’re unfilled to begin with and going along the same path again is just nonsense. Yet, none of those women seemed to really ponder the norm. It’s why I wasn’t even remotely amazed that when asked “where this standard of beauty came from,” the male hand an answer and the female didn’t. At the same time though my parents raised me to understand there is more to outer beauty. So it is easy for me to pick apart their logic partly due to my social environment.     

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 13, 2015 12:39 AM

I think it is amazing to think how much one person can stand behind the scenes and yet play such a huge role in how a whole country sets its standards for beauty. I feel sorry for the women of Venezuela, they are being sold a lie.

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How Breastfeeding Is Viewed Around the World

How Breastfeeding Is Viewed Around the World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Breastfeeding can be a polarizing topic. Views vary not only from person to person, but also country to country, according to a new survey examining women's opinions on breastfeeding.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is just one example of how our opinions, cultural values and sensibilities are shaped by the cultures and places in which we are immersed.  How do normative attitudes shape how people use public space?  How is the body (especially the female body) regulated in public space?   


Tags: perspective, culture, gender.

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biggamevince's comment, October 3, 2014 6:53 PM
From the data in the article it looks like universally, breastfeeding is seen as a natural occurrence. I think it is more of a human nature behavior rather than a social norm. Therefore it is not as embarrassing in most countries. However in France, about half of the citizens would feel embarrassed if they breastfed in public. The other half feel fine with breastfeeding in public. What this article does not show is how this topic is viewed in Middle Eastern countries.
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, October 6, 2014 5:59 AM

How Breastfeeding Is Viewed Around the World

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 11:04 AM

How women are treated is something that differs from culture to culture. This issue of breastfeeding reflects a few different issues that are present in society. First of all is the treatment of women and their control over their body.Secondly, child rearing norms and third public openness. 

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13 amazing coming of age traditions from around the world

13 amazing coming of age traditions from around the world | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The transition from childhood to adulthood -- the 'coming of age' of boys who become young men and girls who become young women -- is a significant stepping stone in everyone’s life. But the age at which this happens, and how a child celebrates their rite of passage into adolescence, depends entirely on where they live and what culture they grow up in.  Looking back, we'll never forget the majesty that was prom, or the excitement of hitting the dance floor at our friends' co-ed Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties, and why should we? Embarassing or amazing, they were pivotal moments in our lives that deserve remembering. On that note, here are thirteen of it the world’s most diverse coming of age traditions."


Tags: gender, folk culture, culture, indigenous, worldwide.

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Elizabeth Sheppard's comment, October 3, 2014 3:07 AM
Its interesting to see the different cultural traditions that are set at different stages in a persons life as the beginning into adulthood for most. I don't think I would want to be a male in the Brazilian Amazon, or the island of Vanuatu where you literally put your life on the line to prove your ready for adulthood. It shows the differences and what is considered important or the role the person plays in society. I think the mention of the sweet 16 for American girls was a pretty weak presentation. America is a melting pot and represents so much more than that.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 11:59 AM

These traditions reflect the cultural geographies they take place within. In the Brazilian Amazon, the locals use the bullet ants native to the area to use in their Bullet Ant Initation. On North Baffin Island, where Inuits must be able to navigate and hunt in the wilderness of the artic, their coming of age involves a hunting journey that begins with them opening up the lines of communication between men and animals a relationship that the survival of the community hinges on. In the Amish tradition, they send their youth out into the world to witness the perils of modern society as a way to provide them with the choice of Amish Living. In Central and South America, girls have a Quinceanera where they girls solidifies their commitment to her family and faith two very important ideals of that culture. These coming of age traditions reflect the cultural differences between places throughout the world.

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 24, 2015 1:34 AM

I think this article could also fit into the view of culture of gender. The fact that there are separate celebrations in Jewish culture represent the divide between men and women. The Satere-Mawe tradition of wearing bullet ant gloves in order for boys to demonstrate their "manliness" is actually quite sexist. It demonstrates how men must behave in "manly" ways and not cry in order to be viewed as a "true" man. This creates a mentality in boys from a very young age that they must not be "feminine," and that they must be more headstrong than girls to be viewed as a man. The same goes for the Vanuatu tradition. Young boys have to go to the extreme (jump from tall towers with a simply a rope around their legs to keep them from dying) to prove their manhood. Of course these traditions are an important part of their culture, and I have no right to criticize, but I am simply providing an alternative analysis of these traditions.

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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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Comparing the five major world religions

"It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED ED Lesson outlines the basics of five major world religions which in turn have profoundly reshaped the cultural geographies we see today.  While the narration in the video might be a bit dry, the visuals immerse the viewer into the cultural context from which these religions emerged.   


Tags: religion, culture, TEDChristianity, Islam, unit 3 culture.

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Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, September 5, 2014 9:13 AM

Great insight into our 5 major world religions.

Brett Laskowitz's curator insight, January 28, 2015 12:06 PM

This is also a good introductory video for the Religion unit.  It will at least give students a general overview of the major world religions as a baseline of information to reference when diving deeper into the unit content.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 1, 2015 10:10 AM

unit 3

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Charting culture

"This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video has garnered a lot of academic and mainstream attention--while I wouldn't describe in as the Entire History of Human Culture in 5 minutes as the Huffington Post did, it is a stellar visualization that uses big data and was created with some solid academic research.  Hierarchical diffusion patterns are powerfully depicted in this video created by Nature as are other geographic concepts such as urban settlement patterns (e.g.-primate cities and rank-size rule in Europe).


Tags: historical, culturediffusion, mapping, visualization.

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wereldvak's curator insight, August 13, 2014 10:00 AM

Geografische concepten als stedelijke ontwikkeling en diffusie patronen worden zichtbaar. Primate city en rank-size rule.....en demografische veranderingen in gebeiden.

Stran smith's curator insight, August 27, 2014 9:25 PM

Hi it's one of your students try to guess who it is��

Emily Coats's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:27 AM

CULTURAL UNIT

This amazing youtube video is something we watched in class, and is such a great animation. This video charts hundreds of years of cultural diffusion in a mere five minutes. You can see empires rise and crumple, people die and become born, as well as many other significant dates. This applies to the diffusion patterns of culture, because we can see where people and cultures are going throughout the centuries. 

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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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Beijing's Facelift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culturepodcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What is halal meat?

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

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

Seth Dixon's insight:

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

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

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


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


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

What a decade can do to a cultural landscape.

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

Changing nature of world cities

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

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

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A tour of the British Isles in accents

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


Tags: language, culture, English, UK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gastrodiplomacy: Cooking Up A Tasty Lesson On War And Peace

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

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


Tags: foodpolitical, culture.

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

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

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

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

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

Vínculos Poderosos! Pilares da Geografia Vivida.

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The myth of religious violence

The myth of religious violence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But, Karen Armstrong writes, the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple


After a bumpy beginning, secularism has undoubtedly been valuable to the west, but we would be wrong to regard it as a universal law. It emerged as a particular and unique feature of the historical process in Europe; it was an evolutionary adaptation to a very specific set of circumstances. In a different environment, modernity may well take other forms. Many secular thinkers now regard “religion” as inherently belligerent and intolerant, and an irrational, backward and violent “other” to the peaceable and humane liberal state – an attitude with an unfortunate echo of the colonialist view of indigenous peoples as hopelessly “primitive”, mired in their benighted religious beliefs. There are consequences to our failure to understand that our secularism, and its understanding of the role of religion, is exceptional. When secularisation has been applied by force, it has provoked a fundamentalist reaction – and history shows that fundamentalist movements which come under attack invariably grow even more extreme. The fruits of this error are on display across the Middle East: when we look with horror upon the travesty of Isis, we would be wise to acknowledge that its barbaric violence may be, at least in part, the offspring of policies guided by our disdain.


Tags: religion, culture, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 12:13 PM

I would say that Religious Has nothing to do with war but there has been several religious problems in this world, so when it comes to war and religious I don't even know what to think, since God means peace no war. Religious is now separate from political issues, and this is perhaps a good idea but again, I don't know what to think about it.

Evan Margiotta's curator insight, March 19, 2015 5:12 PM

This is a very intelligent article about the problems of secularism in our modern world. "An attitude with an unfortunate echo of the colonialist view of indigenous peoples" has an incredibly sardonic feeling to it. Secularism has been a favorite mindset of Americans in recent years. This is a great mistake in my opinion. Religion is such an easy thing to stereotype and Americans have done just that. Unit 3 Culture

Molly McComb's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:55 AM

This article talks about religious violence, but especially Jihad. ISIS is ripping through Syria and they are quoting the Quran everytime they behead or kill someone. Islam has been a huge influence in warfare since the beginning of time. 

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Cultural Patterns and Food

"Berlin Bureau Chief Michael Slackman looks into the obsession with currywurst, a popular street dish that combines sausage, ketchup and curry powder, and brings different Berliners together."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This short video has been added to the the interactive map, Place-Based Geography VideosThis depiction of street foods in German cities is a rich, tangible example to show cultural patterns and processes.  Currywurst is a unifying force across socioeconomic classes in Germany, but it is also a product of globalization and cultural interactions across regions.  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:  

  • Culture traits
  • Diffusion patterns
  • Acculturation, assimilation and multiculturalism
  • Culture region, vernacular region, cultural hearth
  • Globalization and the effects of technology on culture.


Question to Ponder: How are these 5 major elements of culture seen in this video?


Tags: food, migration, culturediffusion, globalization, consumption, APHG.

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Adriene Mannas's curator insight, September 25, 2014 8:00 PM

Unit 3 Cultural Patterns and Processes

 

This video shows how many different cultures can be combined in one thing. It talks about the currywurst, one of the most popular German street foods, which is a combination of ideas and ingredients from all around the world including German sausage, American ketchup, and curry spices from India. 

 

This relates to the culture unit by showing how different cultures can come together and create something that is loved by a lot of people. With this people from a country can get a lot of different cultures together in this one meal and understand other cultures later that help.  

 

 

 

 

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, October 1, 2014 11:08 PM

Unit 3

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 2:43 PM

As of late, all I seem to hear about from Germany is their anti-Islam protests and their lack of desire to host more immigrants in their country. This video, though three years old, is a welcomed change to that news. 

Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmermen puts it best when he says that food is the best way to learn about a people and that there is no better way to perform a sort of "diplomacy" with a people than by sharing food. A dish that combines elements from Germany, America, and India is just one of those melting pot foods that shows that globalization can combine elements of food to make one dish that becomes quintessentially German. The idea that this is a democratizing dish is also interesting. With some foods being considered exclusively for the rich and likewise some for the poor, currywurst shows that people no matter social class can agree on one thing, which is good food.

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The world as it is: The influence of religion

The world as it is: The influence of religion | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Seldom has it been more important for Americans to form a realistic assessment of the world scene. But our current governing, college-­educated class suffers one glaring blind spot.

Modern American culture produces highly individualistic career and identity paths for upper- and middle-class males and females. Power couples abound, often sporting different last names. But deeply held religious identities and military loyalties are less common. Few educated Americans have any direct experience with large groups of men gathered in intense prayer or battle. Like other citizens of the globalized corporate/consumer culture, educated Americans are often widely traveled but not deeply rooted in obligation to a particular physical place, a faith or a kinship."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a truly intriguing op-ed that argues that many Americans have a 'blind spot' by failing to recognize the power of religion and tribal bonds in global affairs. While many in the west assume that a new world order has emerged, these old communal forces still rule much of the world and they have some profound geopolitical implications (the author explores Russia, Asia and the Middle East in particular). 


Tags: religion, culture, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Brett Laskowitz's curator insight, January 28, 2015 12:17 PM

My APHUG students will read this article before even beginning our study of religion.  My hope is that this may at the very least help them empathize with the religious fervor that still has such a profound impact on the culture of much of the world.  

Evan Margiotta's curator insight, March 18, 2015 12:26 PM

With the rise and fall of human civilizations have come the rise and fall of religions as well. Americans have grown unaware of the  beliefs and teachings of other religions. They do not know the difference between ethnic and universalizing religions. They do not know that Islam is the fastest expanding religion in the world even though Christianity still has the most followers. Unit 3 Culture

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 3:57 PM

This article shows how religion affects the world around us and its importance in governments. Especially in the middle east (Saudi Arabia), countries often import factors of their major religion into their government. 

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Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is

Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In many cities, it's become popular to hate 'gentrifiers,' rich people who move in and drive up housing prices -- pushing everyone else out. But what's going on in these rapidly-changing urban spaces is a lot more complicated than that."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Gentrification can be a very touchy subject.  What appears to be economic revitalization of a down-trodden neighborhood to one, can appear to be systematic removal of minorities to another.  This op-ed isn't a whole-hearted embrace of gentrification, but it might be seen as a critique of the gentrification critics.

  

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

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Topography of Religion

Topography of Religion | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Pew survey sorts people into major groupings--Christians; other religions, including Jewish and Muslim; and 'unaffiliated,' which includes atheist, agnostic and 'nothing in particular.'  Roll your cursor over the map to see how faiths and traditions break down by state."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a particularly useful interactive map with a lot of teaching applications.  It is a nice visual aid to process the religious data in the United States.  


Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you notice?  Are there religious regions that could be drawn based on this data?   What geographic factors have created the differences in the religious geographies of the United States?


Tags: culturereligion, Christianity, USA. regions, diffusion, mapping.

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Ignacio Quintana's curator insight, December 1, 2014 6:56 PM

Even though this is just an info-graphic, this is very interesting. What we can see from this map is the spatial organization of religion specifically in the U.S. It's interesting to see how protestant makes up the majority (but apparently not according to the article above this from Haak's page) and how drastically these views can change from coast to coast, and state to state. What I find particularly interesting is that you can clearly find hearths of many of these religions, for example, Utah has an extremely out-numbering amount of Mormons. For obvious reasons that is, but still very educational to see the centers of many of the big religions in the United States.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:46 PM

Looking at the map, it looks like the Northeast is predominately Catholic while the further South you go along the Eastern coast, you find more Protestants, mostly Evangelical, especially in the from Confederate States. The Mid and Northwest seems to hold a healthy mix of all the Christian denominations while places in the Southwest have a higher Catholic percentage, my guess would be from immigration from Mexico. The one odd ball out in the Southwest is Utah with its 58% of Mormons.

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:04 PM

Different cultural religions and senses of place in America. This graph shows the diversity of religion around the united states as it varies from place to place. 

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Why caste still matters in India

Why caste still matters in India | Geography Education | Scoop.it

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article from the Economist is dated since Mr. Modi is now the prime minister of India, but this analysis of how caste was used as a political asset in the election is a timely reminder that while the caste system has been officially abolished, the cultural ripples are still being felt today in a myriad of ways that impact social interactions (marriage, jobs, etc.). 


Tagsfolk cultures, culture, development, Indiasocioeconomic, economic, poverty, gender.

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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 8, 2015 9:18 PM

I agree that until there are more jobs created for the people of India, the slower the caste will fade out.  Over time it will fade out eventually, but the creation of jobs and more social interaction will help the process move along faster.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 15, 2015 2:51 PM

It was interesting to read about Modi's run for prime minister- I recently read a TIME magazine article about him, his original platform, and his subsequent work in office- and to see so much of Obama's run for office in Modi's struggle. Modi's support among his own caste, traditionally one that has been discriminated against in Indian society, is not at all different from Obama's support among the African American community. It goes to show that, for all our differences, people are a lot more alike then we'd care to think. Beyond that, it was interesting to see how much power the old caste system continues to hold in Indian society, much like the issues with race that Americans continue to struggle with within our own society. Appeals to different castes have been employed successfully by politicians and other forms of media; I once read that the most popular Indian films are often love stories revolving around "forbidden love" between two members of different, opposite castes. In a society that is so rich and complex, with hundreds of different languages and beliefs, it is so easy for lines to be drawn and for differences to be focused upon in a negative light. Happily for India, it has come a long way to address these problems and to move forward. While not perfect, India's future looks bright.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:34 PM

i dont understand how a country like india that is mostly modern and on the world scale can still have such an ancient system of labeling people be such a prominent practice in their society, i hope modi gets elected so he can start to eliminate this

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The tragedy of the Arabs

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

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

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

Seth Dixon's insight:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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'Neo-Andean' architecture sprouts in Bolivia

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

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

Seth Dixon's insight:

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Retronyms: Linguistic Shifts

Retronyms: Linguistic Shifts | Geography Education | Scoop.it

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

Seth Dixon's insight:

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


Tags: language, culture, popular culture, technology.

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

unit 3

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

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

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

Fantastic images for our modern day terms.

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Soviet Bus Stops

Soviet Bus Stops | Geography Education | Scoop.it

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

Seth Dixon's insight:

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


Tags: Russia, culture, landscape.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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European word translator

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

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


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


Tags: language, culture, English diffusion.

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

unit 3

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

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

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

Amazing how many use hamburger as hamburger.