Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
In a world where money grants you certain access and privilege, this is what happens when many seek to leverage their privilege simultaneously only to realize that they have to get in line like the common folks too.
In the Pixar Movie the Incredibles, Mrs. Incredible exasperately tells her son, "Everyone is special, Dash." Dash grumbles under his breath and replies, "Which is another way of saying no one is."
This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.
"Violence has a geography and for this reason, geography lies at the center of discussions of violence. Within the United States a myriad of taken for granted assumptions about identity, place, power, and memory undergird the nation’s psyche. These normative interpretations intersect with a particular kind of geographic formulation that places persons of color in general, but black men most specifically, at the center of the violent structures of the nation."
This isn't merely commentary about social upheaval or some musing about the social inequities (I think we've all read a ton of those articles). This is a geographic analysis that discusses the interactions, interconnections and implications of a social and spatial conflict between citizens and the institutions of the state. Ferguson, MO is undoubtedly a lightning rod today and some might prefer to avoid discussing it in a classroom setting; I find that as long as we put analysis before ideology, issues such as these show students the relevance and importance of geographic principles to their lives.
"I recently saw this map in a Washington Post article about modern day slavery and was immediately was struck by the spatial extent and amount of slaves in today’s global economy. As stated in that article, “This is not some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery. These 30 million people are living as forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child soldiers, child brides in forced marriages and, in all ways that matter, as pieces of property, chattel in the servitude of absolute ownership.” This map shows some important spatial patterns that seem to correlate to economic and cultural factors."
This Washington Post article got me thinking about the geographies of supply chains. The growing spread of the informal economy (a.k.a.-illicit trade, black market, etc.) has created opportunities for exploitation. Many argue that free trade was created this power differential between the laborers who create these mass-manufactured products and the global consumers. These critics argue that fair-trade, not free trade, with lead to sustainable economic growth and minimize social injustice. Here is a NY Times article about how Mauritania is now confronting it's slavery past and present.
Questions to Ponder: What economic and cultural forces are needed for slavery to thrive? What realistically could be done to lessen the amount of slavery in the world today? How are your spending habits part of the system?
Additionally, this TED video (archived on scoop.it here) is a chilling glimpse into the worst and darkest side of the global labor system.
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.
The odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston.
This interactive map let's you explore the data of a recent study that is being talked about all over the country right now (NY Times, NPR article, Seattle Times, NPR podcast, etc.) because of it implications.
Questions to Ponder: Why does place matter for creating opportunities for social mobility? What geographic obstacles to economic improvement do you see for the poorest America
The origins of the protests were based on hikes in public transit fares, but a movement of general discontent began, with many voices and multiple perspectives. While the World Cup is a rallying point, many argue that it isn't the World Cup they are angry about, but corruption and social inequality. FIFA is starting to think of contingency plans if protests continue and threaten the World Cup. The lack of clear leadership some feel is the reason why the protest have lost some steam in July as stated in this NPR podcast. This photo essay of the protest movement with a gallery of 39 photos is quite intriguing.
"American tragedies occur where middle America frequents every day: airplanes, business offices, marathons. Where there persists a tangible fear that this could happen to any of us. And rightfully so. Deaths and mayhem anywhere are tragic. That should always be the case. The story here is where American tragedies don't occur. American tragedies don't occur on the southside of Chicago or the New Orleans 9th Ward."
This is a controversial Op-Ed article that discusses how place and the major axes of identity (race, class and gender) shape and intersect with the the national memory of violence and the media portrayal of violence. According the David Dennis, "The media seems to forget about New Orleans and any place that the middle class can't easily relate to."
Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actua...
This video does have a political bent that may or may not reflect your views, but it nicely lays out data that graphically represents the economic differences that we see in the United States today. Our perception is as skewed as what is and what we think it should be.
|Suggested by Tara Cohen|
Gender imbalances in China have created a generation of men for whom finding love is no easy task
The problems with the economy are not universally spread throughout society. Certain segments are impacted more than others by the current struggles, especially when with look at axes of identity, such as class, gender and ethnicity. While planning on a blue-collar job in the 1950s could have been a solid career plan for a young man in the United States, not so in the 21st century.
TED Talks For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery.
This is a chilling glimpse into the worst and darkest side of the economic systems of geography and labor in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 25 million people who today live in state that can be described as modern-day slavery. We should not discuss slavery only in the past tense, and yet it conflicts with how most people conceptualize the world today.
Questions to Ponder: How can this even be happening in the 21st century? What geographic and economic forces lead to these situations portrayed in this TED talk? What realistically could be done to lessen the amount of slavery in the world today?
|Rescooped by Seth Dixon from AP Human Geography @ Hermitage High School - Ms. Anthony|
A professor criticizes the "culture of quantification," (in the journal cultural geographies) arguing that we don't do enough with the data we collect. If all we do is count (or attempt to count the homeless), does that help them in any way or change the realities that lead to homelessness? Are we counting them just to give us the numbers to receive credit that may help other programs but not help the homeless? Is data for data's sake of any value?
UPDATE: Another geographer noted some other issues of homelessness on the website facebook page, specifically in regard to this map of homelessness: "A problem associated with this map is that while the numbers get smaller, it raises the question: where did they go? (answer: Hollywood, after an emphasis on policing pushed them out)...this could be tied in to a discussion about map scale."
From technology to equality, five ways the world is getting better all the time...
This article by former President of the United States Bill Clinton, outlines numerous ways that globalization can improve the world, especially in developing regions. He uses examples from around the world and includes numerous geographic themes.
Landesa partners with governments and local NGOs to ensure the world's poorest families have secure land rights, which develops sustainable economic growth and improves education, nutrition, and conservation...
Globally speaking, women are the primary agricultural workers yet rarely own land.
"Residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan area, according to a new analysis of census tract and household income data by the Pew Research Center. The analysis finds that 28% of lower-income households in 2010 were located in a majority lower-income census tract, up from 23% in 1980, and that 18% of upper- income households were located in a majority upper-income census tract, up from 9% in 1980." This interactive map allows the user to explore the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. Read the article associated with this map.
Tourism Concern fights exploitation in the global tourism industry. We are an independent, non-industry based, UK charity.
This is another way to conceptualize the geographic impacts of tourism. Wealthy tourists from developed countries spend their money in less developed countries, creating a power imbalance within the local community between locals and tourists. Local absolutely need the tourists dollars but these funds come and a social and environmental cost. Tourists use far more local resources per capita than the local residents, one reason why some refer to tourism as an 'irritant industry.' What other forms of social friction can arise from tourism? For a more detailed response to this situation see this news article in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/08/fresh-water-tourist-developing
Despite the country’s claims to be a sleek 21st-century meritocracy, the habits of centuries of discrimination and social exclusion are not so easily shaken.
India is modernizing at a rapid pace, but some old class problems rooted in the caste system are still visible. This is part of a large series called "Breaking Caste" with some excellent videos, articles and personal vignettes to humanize the struggles of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
One of the focal points of the protests raging in Zuccotti Park and around the world is the sizable gap between the rich and everyone else. Yet as the below graphic shows, there are many different levels of wealth among even the richest of the rich.
Apple once bragged that its products were made in America. But it has since shifted its immense manufacturing work overseas, posing questions about what corporate America owes Americans.
The economics of globalization are at the core of this article, Apple just happens to be the case-study. Why are iPhones not produced in the United States? While it would be easy to simply cite cheap labor, it is more complicated than that. Unfortunately for those hoping to rekindle American industry, the problems run deeper than that. The ability to recruit sufficient highly-trained engineers, flexibility and speed in production are all factors that are decisively in China's corner at the moment. Big picture, how are these economic factors reshaping the world we live in?
See how your household income ranks in 344 zones across the country.
It isn't always about how much you make, but purchasing power, cost of living and local economic situations show us that one number doesn't tell the story of the national economy. This interactive feature compares household incomes with how they would compare with other regions of the country.
More than 50 percent of ZIP Codes in the United States have an above average percentage of households living at or below the poverty line. What are the spatial factors that lead to a concentration of wealth in particular places? What economic, political and cultural factors play a role in the process of places amassing more wealth or of creating persistant poverty?
India’s era of economic growth has created something unthinkable a generation ago: business opportunities for members of India’s untouchable caste, the Dalits.
Critics of globalization often site that globalization has changed indigenous cultures around the world and mourn the 'impurities' in these societies. Is all cultural change a bad thing? This article shows one way that global capitalism has been helping (some of) the poorest of the poor within India. How is globalization connected to cultural changes within any given society? How is capitalism changing a formerly 'immobile' social structure?
Federal education policy seems blind to the relationship between poverty and student performance.
An interesting op-ed that focuses on the educational performance in the United States and poverty. The authors feel that class is an obvious factor in educational performance, but that educational policies do not reflect the geographic factors that lead to uneven results.