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Curated by Seth Dixon
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5 American Habits I Kicked in Finland

5 American Habits I Kicked in Finland | Geography Education | Scoop.it
From to-go mugs to small talk
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm not trying to disparage one culture group over another, but to point out that some cultural traits and norms only make sense in a certain place within a particular cultural context.  Sometimes its hard to see our own culture until we go somewhere else with a different cultural background. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What is a cultural trait that you realized was distinct only after being in contact with those from places/cultural settings?  Why are some traits perceived as strange outside of their cultural context but perfectly normal within them?     

 

Tags: Finland, culturecultural norms.

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The Flogsta Scream

"Have you ever felt so stressed out or anxious that you just want to open your window and scream at the top of your lungs?

Well, students in Flogsta, a residential area in the Swedish university town of Uppsala, do just that when the exam pressure gets too overwhelming.  Every night at 10pm Swedish students open their windows and scream for several minutes."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an strange a cultural trait as anything you'll ever see and it is delightfully enjoyable.   Like so many great traditions, no one knows exactly how or when this phenomenon started.

 

Questions to Ponder:  How does this activity diffuse in Flogsta at night?  How did this activity diffuse to other college towns in Europe?  Why is this a thing?    

 

Tags: culture, Swedendiffusion.  

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Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.

 

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

 

Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

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In The Mountains Of Georgia, Foxfire Students Keep Appalachian Culture Alive

In The Mountains Of Georgia, Foxfire Students Keep Appalachian Culture Alive | Geography Education | Scoop.it
For 50 years, high school students in Rabun County have chronicled their region's disappearing traditions and mountain people, from blacksmiths to moonshiners, in publications and a living museum.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an excellent, rich example of preserving old elements of rural, folk cultures that are rapidly disappearing.  The project ties local students to the region to appreciate past more and creates a remarkable archive for the future. 

 

Tagsculture, historicalrural, folk culturesthe Southpodcast, unit 3 culture.

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What to Know About Diwali, the Festival of Lights

What to Know About Diwali, the Festival of Lights | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Diwali, one of the biggest holidays in Indian culture, is a five-day festival of lights celebrated worldwide by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. This year, the traditional day of Diwali falls on Oct. 30, though celebrations span the entire week leading up to and following the holiday, which marks the triumph of good over evil."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video provides a good introduction to the incredibly important South Asia holiday of Diwali. 

 

Tags: culture, India, Hinduism, South Asia, festivals.

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Dreadlocks Decision Raises Another Question: What Is Race?

Dreadlocks Decision Raises Another Question: What Is Race? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Many experts agree with an appeals court's decision last month that dreadlocks aren't a common racial characteristic. But left undecided: What's a common racial characteristic?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Race is both an omnipresent part of culture and surprisingly elusive.  "What is race?" might seem like an obvious question with concrete answers, but many see race as a socially constructed concept.  Even if it is socially constructed, how it is thought of has legal ramifications (as shown in the case regarding dreadlocks).  This is a good article that could start students asking the question "What is race?" and realize that it might be a hard question to answer.  

 

Tags: culture, race.

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Kelly Bellar's curator insight, October 31, 8:27 PM

Race is both an omnipresent part of culture and surprisingly elusive.  "What is race?" might seem like an obvious question with concrete answers, but many see race as a socially constructed concept.  Even if it is socially constructed, how it is thought of has legal ramifications (as shown in the case regarding dreadlocks).  This is a good article that could start students asking the question "What is race?" and realize that it might be a hard question to answer.  

 

Tags: culture, race.

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Portraits Of NYC Immigrants Reveal Cultural Backgrounds

Portraits Of NYC Immigrants Reveal Cultural Backgrounds | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Here are just a handful of the 12 million men, women, and children who arrived at Ellis Island, New York, between 1892 and 1954 to start a new life in the USA, often dressed in their finest clothes. The portraits show immigrants wearing the national dress of their country of origin, including military uniforms from Albania, bonnets from the Netherlands, and clothing of Sámi people from the Arctic regions.

The photographs were taken between 1906 and 1914 by amateur photographer Augustus Francis Sherman, the chief registry clerk at Ellis Island, then the country’s busiest immigration station. In 1907 some of the photos were published by National Geographic.
Seth Dixon's insight:

These images show some of the diverse cultural backgrounds of turn-of-the-century American immigrants.  The formal clothing that represents the folk cultures that they came from hint at the massive cultural shift that these immigrants must have experienced upon arriving to the United States.  These photos of migrants wearing clothing representing their Old World lives right as they are about to culturally assimilate (or acculturate) into the New World are pictures I find quite poignant and personal.    

 

Tagsculturemigrationhistorical, folk culturesethnicity, unit 3 culture.

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16s3d's curator insight, October 21, 2:06 AM
Les couleurs révélées de la diversité des immigrants aux États-Unis entre 1906 et 1914
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The history of African-American social dance

Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Dance is more than just a way to have fun; dance reflects cultural forms of expression and communal identity.  This Ted-Ed talk demonstrates the rich cultural heritage that can be seen in particular cultural traits (such as food, clothing, dance, music, etc.).  This is bound to be a fun, vibrant way to show the how cultural patterns and processes play out using something that young people generally enjoy. 

 

Tags: culturediffusion, popular culture, music, race, historicalthe South, TED, video.

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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, October 9, 7:07 AM
Didn't include the forced dancing on the slave ship. The corn shucking dances. Forced dancing on the plantation.
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The world’s most spoken languages

The world’s most spoken languages | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

This infographic is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.  Since this only counts one language per person, mother tongues are listed.  Consequently, lingua franca's such as English and France are smaller than you might have presumed them to be.  

 

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

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ROCAFORT's curator insight, October 8, 2:39 AM
The world’s most spoken languages
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Music and Resistance

"Life imitated art in early 1980 when South African school children, fed up with an inferior apartheid-era education system, took to chanting the lyrics of Pink Floyd‘s 'Another Brick in the Wall.' The song, with its memorable line stating, “We don’t need no education,” had held the top spot on the local charts for almost three months, a total of seven weeks longer than it did in America. By May 2, 1980, the South African government had issued a ban on 'Another Brick in the Wall,' creating international headlines."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How a song about rigid school rules in England became banned in South Africa is a fantastic lesson in cultural diffusion and glocalization (where the global becomes intensely local).  Here we see an historical example of a global cultural phenomenon taking on local political dimensions.  If you are interested in teaching more about the social and historical content of music, check out TeachRock.org.      

 

Questions to Ponder: Why would this song resonate in South Africa?  How might the video/lyrics map onto the South African situation? 

 

Tags culturediffusion, globalization, popular culture, South AfricaAfrica, music.

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'Leftover Women' in China

"Chinese women face immense pressure to get married before they turn 27. In many Chinese cities, so called marriage markets are a common sight, where parents go to post and match personal ads. A number of brave Chinese women have finally stood up to speak their mind against society’s labels and their parents' pressures."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This emotional ad about 'leftover women' in China has received a lot of traffic and is now invigorating a national conversation about marriage customs, gendered norms, and cultural expectations.  What isn't as explicit in the video is how demographic policies and cultural preferences for boys has created the situation that puts added pressure on single women

 

Questions to Ponder: How is this (at least partially) a lingering impact of the One Child Policy?  What traits of traditional Chinese culture led to this current situation?   

 

Tags: gender, folk culture, China, culture, population.

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Why China and India face a marriage crisis

"What has lead to this marriage squeeze?  First, millions women have gone 'missing'. A generation ago, a preference for sons and the greater availability of prenatal screening meant first Chinese couples, then Indian ones, started aborting female fetuses and only giving birth to boys. At its extreme, in parts of Asia, more than 120 boys were being born for every 100 girls. Now, the generation with distorted sex ratios at birth is reaching marriageable age. The result is that single men far outnumber women."

 

Tags: gender, ChinaIndia, culture, population.

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Dustin Fowler's curator insight, September 17, 7:23 PM
Great food for thought!
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What assimilation means to the 'taco trucks on every corner' Trump supporter

What assimilation means to the 'taco trucks on every corner' Trump supporter | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, explains his view of immigration and assimilation to the US.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm NOT trying to use this platform to advance any partisan political agenda, but I think this brings up some very interesting narratives that are used when discussing migration and culture, which becomes a political 'hot-button' topic.  There is often cultural pressure on the migrant to assimilate into the host culture (or at least acculturate to a certain degree).  This larger national discussion centers on whether cultural assimilation should be expected of migrants and how much cultural diffusion the host culture will be receiving from the migrants.

 

Questions to Ponder: How are cultural norms placed on migrants?  What are some recent examples of migrants not wanting to assimilate that have led to political tension?    

 

Tags: culture migration, political.

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Los Lakers know their Hispanic fan base

Los Lakers know their Hispanic fan base | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"With timely assists from the Spanish-speaking skills of players and executives, the Lakers have cultivated Hispanic support in their community."

 

Julio Manteiga, associate director of media monitoring and Latin America communications for the NBA, provided ESPN information stating Hispanic fan attendance for Lakers games was 42 percent. In the 2015 U.S. Census, the Hispanic population of Los Angeles County was measured at 48.4 percent. The Lakers have benefited from taking the initiative to make their games accessible to a Latino audience, starting with broadcasting games in Spanish.

 

Tags: culture, economic, California, Los Angeles, ethnicity, sport, popular culture,

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Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Cameroon, unrest in minority English-speaking regions over discrimination by majority French speakers is still simmering after violent clashes with police claimed at least four lives.

 

English-speakers have been protesting since Monday (11/21/2016) against what they see as their "second-class citizen status" and attempts to marginalize them in the west African nation. Eight of Cameroon's ten regions are largely Francophone, but two regions, North West and South West Cameroon are English-speaking. English-speaking teachers complain that French-speaking counterparts are being increasingly deployed in English schools, despite differences in the curricula and teaching systems.

 

Tags: language, CameroonAfrica, culture.

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American football has taken root in Mexico at all levels

American football has taken root in Mexico at all levels | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Why is the NFL in Mexico? A visitor to the capital city can sense right away why the league is so bullish on the country's potential."

 

The last time the NFL ventured into Mexico was in 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers in Estadio Azteca. Top-level American football is returning to the same venue in Mexico City on Monday night, when the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will face off in a contest that has been sold out since July.

Just don't assume the 11-year gap is related to a lack of interest. In reality, Mexico is the top international hotbed for American football, with the largest NFL fan base of any country outside the United States. There are more fans of the league in Mexico City than in most actual NFL markets.

But the sport's popularity in Mexico goes well beyond NFL fandom. From youth leagues that are overtaking soccer in popularity in some parts of the country to a new pro league, American football is a major player south of the border. With that in mind, here's a closer look at where the sport stands on every level in Mexico and how fans there consume the game.

 

Tagssport, popular culturediffusion, culture, Mexico, Middle America.

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Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman

Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At first, the trial and convictions in the death of Farkhunda Malikzada seemed a victory in the long struggle to give Afghan women their due in court. But a deeper look suggests otherwise.
Seth Dixon's insight:

DISCLAIMER: I strongly recommend that the video not be shown in class (I wouldn't show the embedded video in my college classes, but I would discuss the article).  The video is as horrific as anything I've ever seen and yet I feel compelled to share the story because it is important to understand the cultural and institutional problems of Afghanistan to get a handle on the deeply entrenched issues. This also shows parts of Afghanistan are seeking to make the transition into a more modern society, but there are other elements that are firmly rooted in the past where mob rule was once more easily justified.  

 

Tags: Afghanistan, culture, developmentgender

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Reading the world in 196 books

Reading the world in 196 books | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"I set myself the challenge of trying to read a book from every country (well, all 195 UN-recognised states plus former UN member Taiwan) in a year to find out what I was missing.

With no idea how to go about this beyond a sneaking suspicion that I was unlikely to find publications from nearly 200 nations on the shelves of my local bookshop, I decided to ask the planet’s readers for help. I created a blog called A Year of Reading the World and put out an appeal for suggestions of titles that I could read in English."

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English.

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Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire

Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.

 

In the past few weeks, a conflict between Ankara and Baghdad over Turkey’s role in the liberation of Mosul has precipitated an alarming burst of Turkish irredentism. President Erdogan criticized the Treaty of Lausanne, which created the borders of modern Turkey, for leaving the country too small. Turkey won’t be annexing part of Iraq anytime soon, but this combination of irredentist cartography and rhetoric nonetheless offers some insight into Turkey’s current foreign and domestic policies and Ankara’s self-image.  The military interventions and confrontational rhetoric this nationalism inspires may worsen Turkey’s security and regional standing.

 

Tags: political, irredentism, culture, Turkeyhistorical, bordersempire, geopolitics.

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Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind

Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind | Geography Education | Scoop.it
With the percentage of U.S. adults who do not identify with a religious group growing, we asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they left.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The United States' population is becoming increasingly secularized.  The U.S. used to be predominantly a white, Christian country but that is no longer the case.  As religion becomes less of a factor in the lives of many individuals, it also has larger cultural ramifications. 

 

Tags: culturereligionUSA, Christianity.

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The great Korean bat flip mystery

The great Korean bat flip mystery | Geography Education | Scoop.it
MLB's code is clear: Flip your bat and you'll pay. But in South Korea, flips are an art. How does this alternate world exist? And what does it say about us? Writer Mina Kimes trekked across South Korea with illustrator Mickey Duzyj to unravel the mystery.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There are unwritten rules in Major League Baseball, or in geographic terms, there are are cultural norms that are informally enforced to maintain homogeneity and to prevent  cultural drift.  Jose Bautista's repuation as a villain has much to do with his rejection of a key MLB unwritten rule--Never 'show up' the pitcher by flipping the bat.  In South Korea, typically a country much more associated with cultural traditions of honor and respect than the United States, bat flipping is much more accepted and common (diffusion plays a role in the story--baseball came to South Korea via Japan).  This is an interesting story about South Korean baseball's cultural norms that might intrigue some sports fans. 

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

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Getting Japanese Citizenship

Getting Japanese Citizenship | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"To become a Japanese citizen, a foreigner must display 'good conduct', among other things. The rules do not specify what that means, and make no mention of living wafu (Japanese-style). But for one candidate, at least, it involved officials looking in his fridge and inspecting his children’s toys to see if he was Japanese enough (he was). Bureaucratic discretion is the main reason why it is hard to get Japanese nationality. The ministry of justice, which handles the process, says officials may visit applicants’ homes and talk to their neighbors."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Japan has a remarkably homogeneous population, in large part because they have very tight immigration laws (here is a more extended list of the requirements to obtain a Japanese citizenship).

 

Questions to Ponder: How is the notion of Japanese citizenship different from American citizenship?  As Japan's population continues to decline, how might that change Japan's migration/citizenship policies?   

 

Tags: JapanEast Asia, place, perspective, cultural norms, culture.

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How to Say 'Banana' in Spanish

How to Say 'Banana' in Spanish | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've lived in both the plátano and banano sub-regions of the Spanish-speaking realm and this discrepancy was one I always found curious (likewise, peanut butter is called crema de cacahuate in Mexico, but mantequilla de maní in Costa Rica). I've had many humorous encounters with friends from throughout the Spanish-speaking world when words that mean one thing in a particular country have VERY different connotations in another.

 

Questions to Ponder: Why do languages have different vocabularies in distinct places?  Why makes a language especially prone to a varied set of regionalized terms?

 

Tags: language, colonialismdiffusion, culture, mapping, regions.

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Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"15,035 people have 'unsubscribed' from the church since Monday."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Europe, the most developed region in the world, is also the most secular region today.  During colonial times, Europeans were spreading Christianity across the globe, but now Christianity is becoming more a part of Europe's historical landscape.  Secularization can be seen as either the cause or the effect of several other European trends such as declining fertility rates.  Today Europeans have stopped attending mass en masse, and many cathedrals sit empty.  This example for Norway has an amusing twist, but it is rooted in a powerful cultural shift. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What are other signs of secularization on the cultural landscape?  What would you do with a former sacred site (and an architectural treasure) that is can't be maintained?

 

Tags: culturepopular culture, religion, ChristianityNorway, Europe.

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Environmental Possibilism Vs. Environmental Determinism

Environmental Possibilism Vs. Environmental Determinism | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Environmental possibilism and determinism are theories, put forth in order to comprehend and understand the role played by the physical environmental conditions in the emergence and progress of any human culture or society in a particular location."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article outlines differences between environmental determinism and environmental possibilism.  Authors such as Robert Kaplan (Revenge of Geography---see a review here) and Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) have been accused of being too environmentally deterministic.  Read Jared Diamond's retort to his critics here. 

 

Questions to Ponder: In what ways does the environment shape human culture(s)?  Why is Jared Diamond critical of skeptics who use the phrase ‘environmental determinism?’Why might some of Kaplan’s ideas as well as the ideas of classical geopolitics be considered ‘environmental determinism?' Can the role of physical geography be overstated in culture, economics or politics? Give three examples when it might be inappropriate. 

 

Tags: environment, religion, cultureunit 1 GeoPrinciples.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 13, 12:42 PM

This article outlines differences between environmental determinism and environmental possibilism.  Authors such as Robert Kaplan (Revenge of Geography---see a review here) and Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) have been accused of being too environmentally deterministic.  Read Jared Diamond's retort to his critics here. 

 

Questions to Ponder: In what ways does the environment shape human culture(s)?  Why is Jared Diamond critical of skeptics who use the phrase ‘environmental determinism?’Why might some of Kaplan’s ideas as well as the ideas of classical geopolitics be considered ‘environmental determinism?' Can the role of physical geography be overstated in culture, economics or politics? Give three examples when it might be inappropriate. 

 

Tags: environment, religion, cultureunit 1 GeoPrinciples.