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Ten Ways on How Not To Think About the Iran/Saudi Conflict

Ten Ways on How Not To Think About the Iran/Saudi Conflict | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Sometimes when a conflict involves Muslims, Islam may not be the best category for understanding it. Omid Safi with a reflection on the current crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and why framing it as religion is not the most helpful framework."

 

In the last few days, virtually every news outlet has featured a series of stories on the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The conflict by now is well-known: Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including Shi‘i cleric Nimr al-Nimr. While both Iran and Saudi Arabia are among the worst global executioners of dissidents, the sheer size of these executions was rare even by their gruesome standards. Iran retaliated through bombastic rhetoric, stating, “God’s hand of retaliation will grip the neck of Saudi politicians.” The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations, a tension that has rippled across the region. 

 

TagsSaudi Arabia, political, conflict, Iran, Middle East.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

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Corine Ramos's curator insight, January 22, 12:05 PM

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

Mr. D's Social Studies Classroom's curator insight, March 2, 5:55 PM

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

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Geopolitics Are Influencing a New Urbanism in Tehran

Geopolitics Are Influencing a New Urbanism in Tehran | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Iranian capital is replacing anti-Western billboards with works of art, and welcoming new architecture by world-class designers.
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Nancy Watson's curator insight, June 19, 2015 10:16 AM

Culture, Politics, Urban Geography, all wrapped up in Iran

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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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Crisis Guide: Iran

Crisis Guide: Iran | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.


Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil).  This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran. 


Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 22, 2013 12:35 AM

This is an amzing resource to use and find out much about this country, both its past and present.  With this you can understand their feeling of hatred toward the US with its support of the Shah.  This is a relationship that the US needs to repair, but both sides need to work on this.  This are is so important to the US and the world given Iran's geographic location right on the Persian Gulf, whcih they can cut off and controll the oil flowing from that area, plus the oil they control, plus bordering several crucial US and NATO allies.  It only seems in everyone's best interest to sit down and talk.  Given the support Iran gives to many terrorists organization and it's longstanding position that Israel does not have the right the right to exist, this idea of sitting down and talking may be a fantasy.  However, with the new elections and the new President of Iran speaking at the UN there may be renewed hope of at least a start. 

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The 10 Stories You Missed in 2012

The 10 Stories You Missed in 2012 | Geography Education | Scoop.it
2012 has had many stories around the globe have grabbed the headlines with their shocking tales.  Some of the most important shifts in the world however are incremental processes that happen slowly...


This article from Foreign Policy shares some great global stories that may end up impacting the coming years as well:  


1) India and Pakistan start trading more

2) Brazil becomes an immigration destination

3) Inuits strike it rich

4) A tropical disease nearly eradicated

5) The copyright wars go 3-D

6) The end of the Indian call center (Philippines)

7) Hong Kong fights back

8) Moscow on the Med (Cyprus)

9) Oil discoveries in Central Africa

10) Island dispute between Iran and UAE

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Kristen McDaniel's curator insight, January 4, 2013 9:57 AM

What was missed in the news?  Take a look at some of the stories from around the world!

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The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet

The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In the dusty triangle where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet, there is more than one war going on.


Geopolitically, there is a fascinating confluence of competing interests at this border.  This is "the scariest little corner of the world." It's a dangerous place that is often beyond the authority of any of state.  It also represents (depending on how you divide the world up) at the intersection of the three major regions in the area: Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.      


Tags: Afghanistan, political, borders, MiddleEast, SouthAsia, Central Asia, unit 4 political.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 15, 2013 9:35 PM

This is a dangerous place with no authority. This area is filled with fighting, bombing and constant war. But this area is also an important intersection for three major regions Central Asia, Middle East, and South Asia. 

Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 2014 11:35 AM

A meeting of different worlds at a border. I can't imagine the things one would see or hear living or growing up on a border of conflict such as this. Refugees are a common site, and no authority can dominate the others, making the area effectively lawless.

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:19 PM

This note talk about the place in the desert where three hostile countries confront each other on the infinite war.

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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, 2014 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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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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Gender Divisions in Iran

Gender Divisions in Iran | Geography Education | Scoop.it

For my non-Farsi speaking readers, this map displays a 'male' province and a 'female' province.  These two provinces are separated by barbed wire, 20-meter trench and the Great Wall of China with ground-to-air missiles.  

 

While not a "cartographically accurate" map of the divisions within Iran, it does symbolically highlight the enormous gulf between men and women.  Men and women are not in separate provinces, but what might the symbolic spatial gender division on this map represent for Iranian society? 

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 2:01 PM

I think this picture shows how Iranian society thinks and operates. There is an entirely different set of rules, ideals, and codes men and women follow in their society. Women are typically held inside, wear head coverings, are not allowed to be in the public sector unless accompanied by a man or her husband. This map isn't real, but it does show that if they were in separate provinces, there would be a gender division that could spring a revolution for women to be educated and empowered, and it could also hurt the economy because ultimately a society needs women to have children to ensure there is a workforce.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:15 PM

An extreme exaggeration that still addresses a real issue in Iran. Although there is no barb wire and missiles that divide genders in Iran there are cultural as well as structural barriers that keep men in the public sphere while women are kept in the private sphere. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:16 PM

This map here shows the gender division of men and women sides of the country. Running down the middle would be a a barbed wire with ground to air missles. One issue of this would be the fact that birth rates would drastically drop with the separation of the men and women. However the women would be allowed to go out the house and not have a man with them and be able to be out without fear of being hurt or killed. This would be a sure way to demolish a country.

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The Drying of Lake Urmia

The Drying of Lake Urmia | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran was once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Middle East, but it has diminished dramatically. Diversion of water from local rivers for agricultural use is one likely cause. Since 1996, drought has further contributed to the decline. The lake now covers about 10 percent of the area it covered in the 1970s. In the 2014 image, the entire southern portion of the salty lakebed is exposed. Also see this set of images."


Tags: Iran, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciplesland use, foodfood production, environment.

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Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques

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

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


Tagsreligion, culture, IslamIran, Middle East.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric

Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran's annual al-Quds - or Jerusalem - Day, denouncing Israel, is as much an expression of policy as ritual, writes BBC Persian's Siavash Ardalan.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Iranian government officially holds a 'Jerusalem Day' every year to spout anti-Israeli rhetoric.  I want that to be the dropback for this TED talk where Israelis and Iranians share pictures of tolerance, respect and love for each other on social media.   


Questions to Ponder: How can your country of origin shape your cultural perspective on other societies and reaffirm a national identity?  In what ways can individuals resist and subvert the official state-sanctioned narrative?  How is social media changing grass roots geopolitics?


Tags: Iran, Israelsocial media, political, Middle East.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 2014 8:39 PM

The people of Iran gather to celebrate Jerusalem Day. Each year millions of people come together to express their hatred towards Israel and support towards Palestinians. They rally and some people including politicians give speeches. Speeches by President Ahmadinejad even included the denial of the holocaust.  

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:19 PM

This day is pro-Palestinian and is a must-go-to event for politicians. Any politician that wants to be heard or even listened to in the future must make their way to this parade of protests and Iranian rituals.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 8:07 PM

considering that this is an annual holiday, and considering that there are the television shows that depict the Jews as bent on world domination and as using the blood of christian children to cook bread during Passover, i don't think we should potentially giving them nukes.

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A Layman's Geography Guide to the Most Confusing Region Of the World: Iran

A Layman's Geography Guide to the Most Confusing Region Of the World: Iran | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran's geography plays heavily in the foreign affairs issues it is a part of, and the policies it makes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

"Iran sits smack in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions on Earth. Much of its western flank is bordered by either Iraq or the Persian Gulf, and it has considerable control over one of the world’s most important waterways for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz." 


Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should know beyond the three main facts that that most Americans are aware of (Iran has an Islamic-based government, an emerging nuclear program and a ton of oil).  This article is a good starting point. 


Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.

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Human Conflict Seen From Space

Human Conflict Seen From Space | Geography Education | Scoop.it

I'll let Douglas Keeney's own words and this image speak for themselves: "The geography of human conflict as seen from space at night. The Strait of Hormuz as seen at night from the space station is a beautiful lesson in the geography of conflict. How much we learn by simply tracing the fingers of human populations as seen superimposed over the geography of Earth. Enjoy." 

-From Lights of Mankind: Earth at Night From Space


What would a picture look like from a drone's perspective?  Where are these places that are being targeted?  This Instagram account is incredibly thought-provoking and informative.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, January 29, 2015 12:02 AM

Most likely, these lights represent urban areas which contains a higher population. As we can see in this photo, one territory stands out more not because of it's lights, but because we know that it is a higher population. Also we see urban areas that "never sleeps." What I mean by "never sleeps" is that the city functions late at night and still has people explore it 24/7.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:56 AM

The view from space is always life changing. The image underscores the conflict taking place in the region. Only from the sky, can use see the vastness of the conflict taking place. Television and film cameras can only capture so much of a war. Looking down from the sky gives us a better view of the overall devastation taking place. The Middle East is truly on fire.

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2600 years of history in one object

TED Talks A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism.

 

At first glance this TED Talk appears to be more about ancient history, archaeology and biblical studies that anything modern.  Yet as Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum continues his discussion of the Cyrus Cylinder (A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script), it becomes clear that this historical artifact is vital in understanding how modern states conceive of their heritage, cultural legacy and role within the Middle East today (such as Israel, Iraq, Iran and even the U.K.).  As such the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism and plays a role in shaping Middle Eastern cultural and political institutions. 

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Don Brown Jr's comment, October 1, 2012 9:18 PM
Objects, ideas and land can have multi overlapping meanings that are constantly being reinterpreted by each succeeding generation creating new symbolic understandings that overlap into many societies and cultures.
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, November 8, 2013 9:16 AM

Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, explains Middle Eastern history using the Cyrus Cylinder.  His first point in this TED talk is especially interesting because he explains that people age and perish and objects do the same, but objects such as this cylinder survive and are able to tell important stories of history for a much longer time than people normally can.

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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, 2014 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"

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 17, 2015 5:00 PM

This is an interesting phenomenon.  I believe we even have a little bit of the "that's not American"-swagger here in the U.S., but thankfully diversity is still celebrated more in our country than anywhere else.  This article points out many of the reasons why there has been and always probably will be much tension within the Middle East.  Like in Iran, most Arabic countries have several different tribes and ethnic groups residing within its borders.  The problem occurs when the countries try to make one culture, one language, or one ethnicity dominant over the others.  

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How Iran persecutes its oldest religion

How Iran persecutes its oldest religion | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Zoroastrians are often portrayed as quaint, but they are not insulated from Iran's tribulations, Jamsheed K. Choksy says.


Religious diversity and freedom of expression are not universally available.  Often we begin discussing the Middle East with the rise of Islam; this is a modern way to remember that pre-Islamic past.  

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