Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"The Muslim world doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to female empowerment. With a lack of of strong, independent female role models, young women in the region have few places to look in popular culture for guidance. Until now.
Meet Burka Avenger, the game-changing Pakistani cartoon that, for the first time, has flipped the status quo on its head with its female superhero protagonist, who fights crime in her magical burka."
Fascinating footage of a traditional ceremony that takes place on the Pakistan India border. From the BBC
This is a fascinating political display that shows a degree of cooperation, but is made into a sports-like event because of the geopolitical tension/passion between these two South Asian neighbors. They have 'toned down' the overtly display of hostility in recent years. Some love this border ceremony and others fear that they are playing with fire, fanning the flames of nationalism that only exacerbates the tension. Just last year, this border checkpoint was the site of a terrorist attack that killed 50. Click here for more information about the border tension in the Pakistan/India/China borderland.
India is a land filled will problems and potential, due its geographic context. This regions is great for a regional geography course, that also includes a good overview of the entire South Asian region before discussing India's political situation in global affairs.
More complex international borders in this follow up to part 1.
In this video I look at even more enclaves and exclaves."
This video (like part 1) shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated. Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video) on these complex borders:
Which statement is true?
A. 60% of all households without toilets in the world are in India.
B. India’s Muslims are less affected by the sanitation problem than Hindus.
C. India’s lack of toilets is worse than China’s.
D. Lack of toilets in India puts women at especially high risk.
This is the ultimate trick question because unfortunately, ALL of these statements are true. India is a country of tremendous economic growth, but also filled with squalor; there are more cellphones than toilets in India. The lack of adequate sanitation and toilets is serious enough that that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made building toilets a national priority. Comics are using their platform to bring this issue of uneven development to light.
Almost 10 years ago, a young Pakistani woman was held down by her mother-in-law while her husband and father-in-law threw acid on her. Some 150 operations later, Bushra Shafi is working as a beautician in a hair salon in Lahore, started by a hairdresser who was moved to help victims of acid attacks when one of them came into her salon and asked simply: "Can you make me beautiful again?"
"The Golden Temple is the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion. It is also home to one of the largest free eateries in the world. Read the related article."
This two-minute video clip is an effective portal to alternative religious traditions on the South Asian subcontinent. While students might not at first relate to the theologies of diverse religious traditions, they connect with the underlying ethics of many world religions. This video is an effective tool to help them gain greater cultural understanding and to demystify unfamiliar cultural practices.
TO OUTSIDERS, the magnitude of Indians' love for cricket is as incomprehensible as its feverish intensity. On February 4th India awarded the Bharat Ratna, its highest civilian honour, to Sachin Tendulkar, a recently retired batsman. Millions in India, a country of 1.3 billion people and only one nationally-popular game, celebrated wildly. When India's national side plays a big game, an estimated 400m watch on television. Yet cricket's take-off in India is a highly improbable development. The game is demanding to play properly, requiring space, a good turf pitch and expensive equipment—which only a relative handful of Indian cricketers have access to. Most will never strap on pads or bowl with a leather ball. So why do they so love the game?
"From the time we’re about 6 years old, everyone loves a good poop joke, right? But is there something more meaningful lurking beneath the bathroom banter? Take a look at some international potty humor and then follow the jokes to a deeper understanding. Every laugh on this page reflects a life and death issue: the very real sanitation problems facing India today."
What is the most impactful way to assist underdeveloped societies? Many will argue for food, clothing or education, but these comedians from India feel that access to sanitation will have more tangible impacts in the lives of the poorest Indians. 54% of people in India do not have regular access to toilets and these comedians are using their platform to not only get some laughs, but to advocate for social change.
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."
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.).
There are only 650 major intersections here—but somehow only 60 traffic lights.
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and (as I often tell my students) it is the biggest city that nobody has ever heard of. The infrastructure is so incredibly limited that traffic jams cost the city an estimated $3.8 billion in delays and air pollution. This is an excellent article to explore some of the problems confronting megacities.
In Bangladesh men desperate for work perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.
What happens to massive cargo vessels after they are outdated? There are tons of scrap metal, but they aren't
designed to be taken apart. The ship-breakers of South Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are 3 of the 4 global leaders in recycling ships) risk much to mine this resource. This is an economic function that is a part of a globalized economy, but one than was never intended. There are major health risks to the workers and pollutants to the local community that are endemic in this industry that manages to survive on the scraps of the global economy.
Extreme weather increases salinity of water in coastal areas while excessive demand in Dhaka leaves dwindling supply
Facing religious discrimination in the Hindu-dominated job market, many are forced to assume fake identities.
This is not that uncommon in India unfortunately. As the articles states, a government commission was appointed in 2005 to investigate the degree to which Muslims were disadvantaged in social, economic and educational terms. The commission concluded the socio-economic condition of most Muslims was as bad as that of the Dalits, who are at the bottom rung of the Hindu-caste hierarchy, also referred to as the "untouchables."
"It’s rare that a video from a brand will spark any real emotion--but a new spot from Google India is so powerful, and so honest to the product, that it’s a testament not only to the deft touch of the ad team that put it together, but to the strength of Google’s current offering."--Forbes
True, this is a commercial--but what a great commercial to show that the history of of a geopolitical conflict has many casualties including friendships across lines. This isn't the only commercial in India that is raising eyebrows. This one from a jewelry company is proudly showing a divorced woman remarrying--something unthinkable for Indian TV one generation ago.
Questions to Ponder: How does the Indian media reflect the values and beliefs of Indian culture? How does the Indian media shape Indian culture?
The partition of 1947, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan, was one of the most volatile events of the twentieth century. Partition coincided with the end of British colonial rule over the subcontinent, and Indian independence was overshadowed by violence, mass displacement, and uncertainty.
The scholars in this video were interviewed for the Choices Program curriculum, "Indian Independence and the Question of Partition". For more information, visit the Choices Program.
The Maldives is a small country in the Indian Ocean composed of 1,200 islands. Virtually every spot in this country is under 8 feet in elevation. Pictured above is the capital of Malé, which has the largest population (explore these islands on a variety of scales).
Questions to Ponder: What physical forces and processes account for the presence of these islands in the Ocean? In a geological time scale, what does the future hold for these islands. What would be the main economic assets of the Maldives? What would be the main economic and environmental concerns of this country?
In Pakistan's tribal areas, alcohol bootleggers, lured by enormous profits, have created clandestine delivery services to evade recent crackdowns by the Taliban and the police.
"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."
I first learned of the Pakistan's new animated TV series the Burka Avenger last week from an NPR podcast and eagerly wanted to know more. Some are hailing the Burka Avenger to be Pakistan's answer to Wonder Woman, fighting for the rights of the oppressed. There has also been a lot of criticism concerning the role of the burka juxtaposed with this heroine. For many, they see the burka solely as a symbol of female oppression and feel that a heroine shouldn't be donning the clothing of the oppressed (my opinion?--C'mon, it's the logical masked outfit for a female superhero trying to be incognito in the tribal villages of Pakistan). I find this pairing of traditional gender norms and clothing coupled with pop culture's superhero motifs to be a fantastic demonstration of how cultures mesh together. Globalization doesn't mean all cultures are the same; we often see highly localized and distinct regional twists on global themes.
This is a fabulous map---but is the statement true?
I present this map (hi-res) without any context to my students and ask the question: is this statement true? How can we ascertain the truthfulness of this claim? What fact would we need to gather? This exercise sharpens their critical thinking skills and harnesses the assorted bits of regional information that they already have, and helps them evaluate the statement.
The answers to these questions can be found here.
Researchers are heading to Dharavi, Mumbai, to study the impact of slum tours on the residents.
The article leaves me with more questions than answers. What do the residents think about the tons of tourists wondering through their winding streets? The very idea of tourism to see poverty in situ in an authentic slum is riddled with power and cultural imbalances. Why would wealthy tourists from the developed world want to more fully explore the slums in the developing world? What do you see as the 'wrong' and the 'right' within this situation? Is slum tourism ethical?
Tea plucking machines are threatening the livelihoods of tea pickers in the Indian state of Assam, reports Mark Tully.
This is yet another example of the uneven impacts of globalization.
|Suggested by C. Kevin Turner|
Read the Transcript: http://to.pbs.org/b6sR86 The capital of the South Asian country Bangladesh, Dhaka, has a population that is booming. However, it stands ...