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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers. http://geographyeducation.org
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?

Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As the likelihood of an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s eastern border grows, Ankara is losing its historical resistance to the idea.


Developments in Iraq have left Turkey facing the prospect of an independent Kurdish state on its eastern border. Such an idea would have been abhorrent for Turkey a mere decade ago for fear that its existence would incite separation among its own restive Kurds. The standard Turkish narrative at the time was that an independent Kurdistan was a Western project aimed at destroying Turkey, an age-old ambition. Even the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was viewed in this context by many. The picture is no longer so black and white.

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Venice wants out of Italy

Venice wants out of Italy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, "I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second."  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, "I think we'll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city" and not actual independence.


Tags: Italy political, economic, states, autonomy, devolution.

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Mr. Gresham's curator insight, April 23, 9:09 AM

In Unit Four: Political Geography we discussed forces that lead to devolution.  This article highlights which of these forces?

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 24, 11:13 AM

unit 4

Paige Therien's curator insight, April 24, 1:34 PM

Italy, especially in recent years, is very poor and is in chaos in terms of economic and national policies.  The people of the region in which Venice is located, called Veneto, are voicing a majority opinion to secede from Italy.  Venice is and has been for centuries a very important place and a leader in terms of the arts and trading.  It is a very wealthy region of Italy and many supporters of this movement feel as though they work hard just to see their money go to other regions of the struggling country.  Although Veneto has been a part of Italy for over 100 years, strong regional identities still persist and are playing an even bigger role today; as the rest of the country struggles, Veneto pride over their world-renowned accomplishments are fueling popular opinion in the region.

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What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine

What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In symbolic terms, it's a huge loss. The Crimean Peninsula holds an important place in the region's history, and the inability to prevent the region from joining Russia is a serious test of leadership for the new Ukrainian government in Kiev.

In practical terms, however, what Crimea means for Ukraine is less clear. In an article last week, The Post's Will Englund noted that Crimea may end up costing Russia more than it might like. And what does Ukraine really lose?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

We often view global affairs through our own little prism, considering how it affects us.  So much of the discussion has revolved around Russia and the West in general (and the U.S. specifically), that Ukraine almost gets lost in the shuffle.  All this amid news that the acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister has said that the possibility of war "is growing."

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Close-up of Kiev's Independence Square

Close-up of Kiev's Independence Square | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Protests have centered on the capital's Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, where protesters had set up camp over a number of months. The stand-off turned violent this week as riot police moved in to clear the protest camp.  Security forces had given protesters a deadline of Tuesday 18 February to leave the square, but instead, violence took hold and battles between the demonstrators and police left a number of people dead. Independence Square, which for weeks was the setting for a mostly peaceful protest camp, now more closely resembles a siege, as the remaining protesters attempt to hold their ground."


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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 11:47 AM

This close up view of Kiev shows how the geographic location of its independence square was placed serves as a great place to protest. It represents the center, the circle of the city, close to the places of power; the government house, parliament. Its long streets lead to the capital's independence square the center for the country, but what started to be peaceful protests where an important monument stands, is now where violence takes place.

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Don't Give Up on a United Ukraine

Don't Give Up on a United Ukraine | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The current Ukrainian conflict is typically viewed in stark East-West terms: a pro-Russian East versus a pro-European West, with the threat of Ukraine splitting down the middle.


Ukraine’s divisions are indeed pronounced and the forging of a coherent national identity has remained very much a work in progress since independence.


Nonetheless, far from pointing to its unraveling, polling indicates that support for the Ukrainian state has been on the rise over the past decade – even in the Russian-speaking East and South. This is true despite the often polarizing and dysfunctional policies of successive Ukrainian leaders.

Seth Dixon's insight:

As the violence between police and protesters escalate (hundreds of riot police descended on the main square and the protestors set Independence Square ablaze), it is easy to see the country's irreconcilable differences.  The United States and the EU advocated for a peaceful resolution, but this crackdown comes on the heels of Russia buying $2 billion of Ukrainian government bonds and securing their financial future.  This other article is a reminder that while there are divisions, it's not inevitable that the centrifugal forces will pull the country apart.  


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 1:11 PM

In this article there is the important factor of the Ukraine conflict and with the forces of the Pro-Russian East versus the Pro-European West. 75% of respondents in the South and 78% of respondents in the East both are majority Russian-speaking areas. They wouldn't favor their specific region separating from Ukraine and joining another state. The Ukraine itself is a work in progreess attempting to become their own real indepenendent country and society.

Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 11:04 AM

This article shows the effects of imperialism and the effect it had on surrounding nations. When the USSR took over new lands and eventually became the Soviet Union, thousands of people were displaced from their homelands which is what happened in Ukraine. It makes sense why there is a population in Ukraine who is United and wants to remain Pro-Ukraine, but that means siding with west values. And there is a strong Pro-Russian population who wouldn't mind being apart of the east, the values and ideas placed by Russia.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 5:45 PM

Ukraine has been a country of interest for many supporters in the past decade. Even though its division amongst it is very Russian vs. European, there are definitely some ways to help their national identity work for the better.

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Security Still A Major Concern In Sochi

ESPN Video: Jeremy Schaap details the threats to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Seth Dixon's insight:

It's not everyday that ESPN will use terms like insurgency, region, state, suicide bombs, attacks, threats, heightened security, terrorists and black widows during a video clip, but when they do it's worth paying attention to the geographic context of their story.  Here is an additional NY Times interactive, also on the geopolitical context of Sochi.


Tags: sport, political, conflict, devolution, Russia.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 2:14 PM

Security is a major concern in Sochi! There have been suicide bombers and many other forms of bomb threats. The athletes are under MAX security and in my opinion need to be because they are in danger because of the way their society is over there and the current issues they have been dealing or not dealing with.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2:57 PM

The Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia concern many across the globe. Located very close to neighboring terrorists, Olympic athletes question whether it is safe to go or not. ESPN discusses the concerns, threats and  increase of security at the games this year. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 8:29 PM

The Olympic games only come around every four years. From a spectators point of view, these games are a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of people will be watching them from home and in attendance in Sochi. Threats against HUGE events like these need to be taken seriously. Whether or not they are realistic, with so many lives in potential danger Russia needs to take the threats seriously.

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So you want to form your own state? It may take a while

So you want to form your own state? It may take a while | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Voters in five Colorado counties said on Tuesday they want to form their own state.  But the breakaway regions face almost impossible constitutional and political obstacles. The North Colorado movement supporters claim that their counties have little in common with more urbanized parts of the state, and they are unhappy with state-wide laws about gun control and energy standards. 

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are other secessionist movements, and other ways the states might have formed, but these are all very unlikely.  There's that little document called the Constitution that makes these movements impractical.  

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Tony Aguilar's curator insight, November 17, 2013 6:26 AM

movements to secceed and create their own state is a popular idea but will not be easy because of the political and cultural implications. Already exisiting states would become smaller and turn into smaller autonmous states. in the long run it may be more to manage because we would not more representatives and senators to represent this additional state. THe independant states may have more states but could become a headache for the 50 original states we already have.

Steven Flis's curator insight, December 16, 2013 10:27 AM

Theres an old saying that fits well with this article and its "if its not broke dont fix it" theres no major problem with having some demographicial differences in a state. Sure Nor Cal and So Cal may be nothing alike but that doesnt mean they need to officially seperate. Thanks to the constitution the seperation of a state/ forming of a state isnt a easy proccess, because if it was there would be endless amounts of states in this country because no 2 people share the exact same opinion.

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A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence

A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
Seth Dixon's insight:

September 11th means different things is different places.  While many Americans were remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001, it was Catalonian National Day.  In addition to the festivities, they organized a massive public demonstration to support independence and to garner international attention.  They created a 'human border' that sretched across the region to apply pressure on the Spanish government to allow a vote that would let Catalonia break away and form their own country.  While this energy and enthusiasm swept Barcelona, the Spanish government stopped the protest from spreading into neighboring Valencia (many Valencians speak Catalan).

  

Questions to Ponder: How do events such as this in public places impact the political process?  Is it significant that the link about the Spanish government stopping Valencia comes from a Scottish newspaper?  Why?  How can social media and technology (such as the hastags #CatalanWay #ViaCatalana) impact social movements?  


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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MIquel Ribas's comment, September 16, 2013 8:59 AM
Some people argue that these desires for independence (we are talking about a region covering 30.000 Km2) are obsolete in a global world that tends to eliminate borders. There are some questions to ponder about it: 1) Does this criticism come from countries with recognized state structures and no fear about the maintenance of their culture?, or instead of this, come from places never recognized as countries, such as Catalonia? 2) May the independence feeling be a search of regeneration of the political life, in order to achieve greater people’s participation in the collective decisions (we mustn’t forget here the internal problems of Spanish democracy, crippled by corruption, crisis and scandals)? Could be this increasing independence feeling another way to question lacks of the system, in a similar way that many other types of protest have arisen out around the world? Then, the point would be more than simple nationalism....
Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:15 AM

Catalonia struggles for it's independence from Spain. The wealthy region of Spain angers for becoming it's own country, with sentiments of not getting what they deserve from Spain, such as government services. Spain urges Catalonia to not make such a fuss and head Spain into another civil war. But Catalonia wants to be autonomous at least. Their independence parade is to show Spain they won't back down.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 4, 1:36 PM

These peaceful collections of people working toward a single goal is nice to see. Catalans have an immense amount of national pride even though they are not technically separate from Spain.

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Top 10 Countries That Disappeared In The 20th Century

Top 10 Countries That Disappeared In The 20th Century | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New nations seem to pop up with alarming regularity. At the start of the 20th century, there were only a few dozen independent sovereign states on the planet; today, there are nearly 200!
Seth Dixon's insight:

This list of countries that no longer exist in their current form include Czechoslovakia, Tibet, Sikkim, the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union. 


Tags: unit 4 political, historical, devolution.  

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Kevin Cournoyer's comment, May 1, 2013 12:54 AM
I found this article really interesting for a few different reasons. As a history major, the article provided a lot of information that I thought was interesting and of which I was unaware. It’s important to understand the reasons for the breakup and/or formation of countries when studying history. Part of understanding that is recognizing and analyzing the geographic implications of these changes.
Perhaps most importantly, the disappearance of countries would certainly have severe economic repercussions. The complete absence of an economy that had been around for decades, or the emergence of several new economies all at once would have serious effects on the interaction between neighboring countries and the global economy. Cultural unity and tension also plays a large role in the disappearance of countries. Examining patterns of cultural dissimilarity and hostility explains the breakup of these countries and makes for nations that possess a great deal of cultural homogeneity and a palette of cultural diversity in a small geographic area.
Al Picozzi's curator insight, July 2, 2013 11:38 AM

Amazing to see many of the countries and empires that are no longer around.  Also with the dissoution of many of the empires it lead's to many of the issues that were are dealiing with today.  Splitting the Austro-Hugaraian Empire after WWI along ethnic lines didn't really work and helped to lead to WWII.  The Germans in the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia fro example.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sudetendeutsche_gebiete.svg

 for the area of German population.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:01 PM

10 countries that have become nonexistent in the 20th century include Tibet, East Germany and Yugoslavia. These countries have died off because of ethic, religious and cultural falls that were quickly taken over by bigger and more powerful countries.

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Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros

Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Catalonia appears to want the benefits of independence AND of being politically connected to Spain.


Tags: Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

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Dean Haakenson's curator insight, February 4, 2013 2:31 PM

Another peg in the collective EU coffin...

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:21 AM

This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately,  they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case.  While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:28 AM

This area seems to want it both ways.  To be independent from Spain, but also dependent economically on Spain.  This region should sort out its priorities and decided if independents is worth it and if so then they should not be asking Spain for help.  It’s like a twenty-something person that moves out of their parents’ house and then comes back again and again with their hand out.  Catalonia seems to be facing this same issue.

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As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey

As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Seth Dixon's insight:

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.


Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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Joshua Choiniere's comment, December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
This is really interesting professor
Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 6:34 AM

How to handle it?

 

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, January 8, 2013 1:15 PM

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.

 

Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia's road to independence

"As Catalonia goes to the polls, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region's great cultural sporting icons and its role in Catalan identity..."


Seth Dixon's insight:

Sports and cultural identity of a region are often intertwined. As Catalonia is poised to break from Spain, this video shows how the local teams (especially FC Barcelona) are at the center of political identity and part of the very fabric of the political movement that is pushing for independence.  For more, see this recent Geography in the News article.


Tags: sport, Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

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Jessica Martel's curator insight, April 28, 2013 4:37 PM

its understood that catalonie has a completely different country from the rest of spain. In fact many people associate catalonia as a seperate country. It would be cool to see spain let them have thier independence. However that would mean spain would lose land and money. For the most part, atleast the catalonia poeple are expressing thier feelings and wishes in a humane manor, rather than with vilolence

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Little England: What's Left If Scotland Leaves?

Little England: What's Left If Scotland Leaves? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
What is more likely to happen first: Greece will leave the eurozone, or Scotland will leave the UK?


Although there is currently only about 30% of Scotland that would support independence, this is something that will be gaining importance.  The United Kingdom is a complex political entity, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland connected with England.  The "divorce referendum" will be help on October 2014 to see if Scotland wishes to dissolve this union and many of the political and economic events throughout Europe will be seen through this prism, especially the Euro Zone crisis in southern European countries (e.g.-Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal).  The possibility that this might happen are small, but as the article stated, "not zero." 


Tags: devolution, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 7:27 PM

Good for Scotland... as anyone that has watched Braveheart knows, all they need is Mel Gibson to fight for their independence, and they will surely win!  I know some people that play the bagpies, and I like the Scottish music better than much English music.  I don't know much about the UK, so I have little to guide me in favor or against Scotland declaring independence, but aw heck, why not...  The US declared independence, and it seemed to work out for them until... whenever...? forever? it depends on what you use as criteria to look at it...  But live and let live, let people do what they want, the only advice to that is not to let people harm others.  That way, true peace can be achieved.  Harmony, instead of harm.  So I would advocate for Scotland to wear women's clothing with turtle shells in their crotches and dance to celebrate their independence if that's what they want, as long as there are no epic battle sequences that precede or follow their dancing.  Don't be an elitist, open your eyes, the governments own your brothers and their lives... We must work to change this.

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Iraq's Current Devolution

"A radical fringe Islamic group names ISIS is fighting to establish a extremist Islamic state in Iraq and Syria...and beyond. They control eastern Syria, western Iraq, just took control of Iraq's 2nd largest city of Mosul and are advancing on the capital Baghdad.  In this podcast, the professor John Boyer outlines just a few of the contributing factors to why this significant event is taking place, the geographic/historic background of the state, and the consequences for the future of the region."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't yet discovered John Boyer, a.k.a. the Plaid Avenger,  I recommend exploring his site.  He has numerous resources for world regional geography and current global affairs.  His colorful persona is highly entertaining for college age-students as his class attracts over 3,000 students each semester (you can decide for yourself whether that personality works for you and your classroom).  This particular 'plaidcast' discussion focuses on Iraq's current devolution and possible total collapse. 


Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsborders, colonialism, devolution.

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Quebec Voters Say 'Non' to Separatists

Quebec Voters Say 'Non' to Separatists | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Quebec voters gave a resounding no to the prospects of holding a third referendum on independence from Canada, handing the main separatist party in the French-speaking province one of its worst electoral defeats ever."  


Quebec, which is 80 percent French-speaking, has plenty of autonomy already. The province of 8.1 million sets its own income tax, has its own immigration policy favoring French speakers, and has legislation prioritizing French over English.  But many Quebecois have long dreamed of an independent Quebec, as they at times haven't felt respected and have worried about the survival of their language in English-speaking North America.


TagsCanadapolitical, devolution.

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Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 2:14 PM

Quebecois have voted against seperating from Canada and becoming a sovereign French Speaking state. Even though the Quebecois was to keep their French language and their own culture, they still voted against become a sovereign independent state but keep their strict French laws. Quebec is an interesting example of how movement affects place by how their immigrants have changed their French landscape forcing them to enact laws.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn


Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
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Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 10:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 10:57 AM

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

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Issues with Ukrainian Nationalism

Issues with Ukrainian Nationalism | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Images of toppled statues notwithstanding, 'revolution' has never been the right word to describe recent events in Kiev. Ukraine, after all, has been here before. At the heart of the country’s present struggle is its resistance to any 'strategic partnership' with Russia and its understanding of Europe as a potential economic and political savior from corrupt government. But the tensions between East and West -- both psychological and geographic -- are deeply rooted in Ukraine's national identity. Those Ukrainians most concerned about their country’s future would do well to recognize that identity’s inherent fragility. The original generation of Ukrainian nationalists suffered precisely for their failure to do so."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This image (hi-res here) and those like it captured me while I was looking for more information on Ukraine's opposition leaders


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 11:43 AM

The situation in Ukraine with the tensions between the East and West are something that could possibly cause WWIII, and that is something that fears a lot of people. The former power of the Soviet Union and corrupt government is embedded in Ukraine's national identity with many different ethnic groups speaking different languages.

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Why Sochi?

Why Sochi? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Why would Vladimir Putin want to host the Olympics in an underdeveloped place where terrorists lurk nearby? The answer is not as complicated as it may seem.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This article is an excellent explanation of the geopolitical significance of holding the Olympic Games in Sochi.  Geographer Carole McGranahan writes critically about the location of the Olympics given Putin's policies in the Caucasus Mountains (especially in regard to the 2008 invasion of Georgia to protect Russian interests in South Ossetia).  Additionally, here is a link from Stratfor discussing the shifting foreign policy concerns of the United States towards Russia.


Tags: sport, political, conflict, devolution, Russia.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 1:46 PM

It comes at not shock that Russia has had it's share of bad rulers that exzibit totalitarianistic views. Russia has always been in a state of massacre or some time of bad war torn conflict happeening. Russia is also the type of place where you can drive in each way 45 minutes and be able to either swim in the black sea or ski on the snowy trails. I think this is one of the reasons why the winter olympics are hosted here.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2:52 PM

There are many reasons as to why the Olympics this year are held in Sochi, Russia i. Although it is an underdeveloped, terrorist driven area, it holds much potential and Vladimir Putin has reasons to why it is the perfect place.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 12:59 AM

This article explains why Putin wanted the Winter Olympic games to be in Sochi. The Olympics have historically been used as a way for a nation to showcase progress or power, and the case is no different here. By hosting the games in Sochi, Putin was drawing attention to his successful crushing of the Chechen rebels and Russia's reinvestment into the area. Through the games, Putin is trying to make an international statement about the security and progress in this war-torn area. Still, there are a number of Chechen rebel cells and Circassian protesters in the area with a grudge against Russia.

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A short, recent history of Congo

Mapping the war in Congo: mineral wealth, militias and an epic march
Seth Dixon's insight:

To understand much of the political situation in Central Africa, a short history of the recent political and ethnic turmoil in Rwanda and Congo are helpful.  This particular videographic from the Economist is a few years old, but the historical context is still incredibly relevant  This series provides a wealth of information and several will be added to the place-based geography videos interactive map.


Tags: Congo, political, conflict, devolution, refugees, Africa.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 24, 10:10 PM

 This video tells me that having an abundance of natural and mineral resources may not always lead to a country that is successful and rich. If the country is politically or economically unstable it could lead to violence within the area over the valuable goods. Also, the wealth generated from these goods could potentially make only a few people very rich and many other workers who collect these resources poor from low wages. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 3:50 PM

Congo has had wars and the militia has ended up taking a stride towards benefiting the congo. Every history begins and ends with new beginnings. For Congo, their journeys have ended and new ones are starting.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 5, 3:04 PM

A very comprehensive coverage of the past 20 years. I did not realize just how much Rwanda influenced the major problems in the Congo. Having the capital city of Kinshasa so geographically far away from its "trouble border" is probably making it more difficult to control.

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Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement

Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Residents of rural areas feel shut out of their states' politics, so why not create their own?
Seth Dixon's insight:

One county commission discribed these political movements thus: "It's grounded in the legitimate feeling that if you're marginalized by geography, it's easy to feel neglected by the central government."  The political division between urban and rural citizens can lead to pockets of the population feeling as though the state government ignores your and the surrounding communities.  It took the Civil War to separate West Virginia from Virginia, and while many may want to be in a different state, it's not happening simply because there is grassroots support for greater local autonomy.  Hypothetically, let's say that many new states are generated; what consequences might come of this?  Would it leading to further gerrymandering?      


Tags: political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, bordersgerrymandering.

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Heather Ramsey's curator insight, November 18, 2013 2:25 PM

On election day this year, several Colorado counties voted on whether to secede from Colorado and create a new state. Many of the counties voted in favor of the idea. (See the link below for more info on the Colorado secession movement.) This is not the first time groups of Americans have considered (and voted on) breaking away from their state. When political issues come up and decisions are made by the government and/or the people, some get their way and others do not. The article explains one way that some people have decided to take action when they do not feel their interests are being served.

 

BONUS for my students:

1) What steps do you think should be taken before people consider seceding from their state?  

2) What are some possible pros and cons of breaking away from a state to create a new one?  

3) Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to want to create a new state?

 

Here is the link to the article about Colorado's secession movement:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/colorado-rural-voters-approve-secession-idea-20850962

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 11:43 PM

Some states urban and rural areas have had differences and beliefs when it comes to politics. For example Virginia and West Virginia have had their differences and this is what has caused them to seperate. If every state did this there would be too much craziness because im sure each state would have a different belief and nobody would agree on anything. 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 1, 7:57 PM

This article is about segments of California, Colorado, and Oregon wanting to separate and become their own states so their voices can be heard in Congress.

 

If, hypothetically, new states were formed out of existing ones this kind of gerrymandering would likely only lead to even more new states. It might even lead to a secession arms race to gain more Democrat and Republican seats in the Senate. With so many new states, it could lead to increased division, with no Democrat or Republican wanting to set foot in an opposition’s state. In the long run though, political affiliations do eventually change and we would have a precedent analogous to attempting to take the ball home when the other kids don't want to play the same game as you, which is not how a democratic republic works.

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Flag wars

Flag wars | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Mr Füzes had voiced support for the Székler people, a group of ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania, after two Romanian counties banned the display of the Székler flag (pictured above with men in hussar uniform) on public buildings. Zsolt Nemeth, Hungary’s state secretary for foreign affairs, described the ban as an act of “symbolic aggression” and called for local councils in Hungary to show solidarity by flying the Székler flag from town halls. The Hungarian government then raised the Székler flag above Parliament, further enraging Bucharest..."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are important symbols of cultural identity and displaying them can be a strong political statement.  For Hungarians, displaying symbols of a "Greater Hungary" shows some desire for irredentism--to redeem Hungarians of the 'wrong' side of the border.  For those Hungarians in Romania this is an act of defiance that show that they want greater autonomy. 


For sports fans, ESPN did a "30 for 30" documentary on the early 90's Yugoslavian basketball team that was a major talent (1990 World Champions) but was torn apart as devolutionary forces fractured the countries and the once-teammates were estranged after what some perceived as disrespectful acts to the Croatian national flag.  Vlade Divac (a Serbian) was pitted against some of his best friends from Croatia as the civil war was playing itself out on the court as well.  This is a great way to get a sports fan to learn about ethnic conflict and about the importance of cultural symbols ("Once Brothers"--$1.99, free for Amazon Prime users).   

Tagspolitical, conflict, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 10:26 AM
The past is the past. Or is it? The past seems to mean more to the people of Hungary and Romania these days. The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 sectioned the region of Transylvania from Romania to Hungary. For the ethnic Hungarians living in Transylvania, this posed quite the issue. For many people around the world, the homeland does not always match up with geopolitical boundaries of the country that they live in. While this identity crisis causes conflict for many groups of people all over the world, in Hungary the fight to regain greater-Hungary continues today.
This article also poses interesting questions of voting and citizenship. The Hungarian government granted citizenship beyond its borders, and jurisdiction, to ethnic Hungarians in Romania. What does this say about those Hungarians in Romania? Does it bring Hungary any closer to regaining the borders of the once Greater Hungary? Regardless of the questions of citizenship, such public and federal efforts to expand their borders and regain their ethnic population and homeland is doing more then turning heads. Look to this region for future conflict because the failure of geopolitical nations to represent ethnic homelands rarely ends peacefully.
John Peterson's comment, April 30, 2013 10:37 AM
This article helps to illustrate tensions that can be caused by seemingly simple acts within a society that is home to two conflicting groups. While flags do not have any actual influence or power in society, they are a source of emotion, and pride in ones nation and heritage. Because of the emotion that is tied with flags, it can be a very tense situation when the use of these flags is banned, or if these flags are taken down or destroyed. It is amazing how something so simple as a flag can bring about so much anger, and be the source of such bad blood and violence between different nations or ethnic groups. In the example given, there has been conflict for years, which was recently fueled even more over the use of a flag. While the act of displaying a flag is simply a display of loyalty, the actions of the Romanian government against this practice shows how although it is not a violent act, it can lead to very hostile actions and interactions.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 4:12 PM
This article got me thinking. The tensions between Hungary and Romania seem trivial to me. The Romanians are the right ones in my opinion and the act of displaying the Székler flag about the Hungarian Parliament was plainly a theoretical middle finger to Romania. The more than a million Hungarians living in present day Romania relates to our unit on culture and nations/states. There is a Hungarian nation of people in Romania that the Hungarian government has now granted rights to, again purposely antagonizing Romania, and Romania is rightfully concerned of their dual-loyalty. Overall, the situation is taken way out of proportion by Hungary and what former piece of an empire wants that flag flown in their country. In Ireland do you see the Union Jack… that’d be a no.
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Belgians divided by language barrier

Failure by Belgium's political parties to form a government since elections in June have prompted fears of a split in the tiny European country. Al Jazeera's...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This 2007 video is dated, but many of the same issues are still seen today.  This video briefly lays out the cultural context for the political divisions between the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish populations of Belgium.  For a longer video on the topic, see this half hour video.


Tags: language, culture, Belgium, unit 4 political, Europe, devolution, unit 3 culture.  

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BTC's comment, February 12, 2013 10:46 AM
Interesting, but the reality is much more complex....
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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:39 AM

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.

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The Italians who want to be Austrian

The Italians who want to be Austrian | Geography Education | Scoop.it
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states.  South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage.  By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them.  Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.  


Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line?  What elements are a part of a regions heritage?  Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages?  How does devolution impact the whole country?  


Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.

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Scarpaci Human Geography's curator insight, December 14, 2012 11:13 AM

Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line?  What elements are a part of a regions heritage?  Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages?  How does devolution impact the whole country?

Allison Anthony's curator insight, December 14, 2012 1:46 PM

Take note Kate and Johnny!!

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God Grew Tired of Us

God Grew Tired of Us | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The story of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan is a heartbreaking and inspiring tale of youth caught in cultural and geopolitical conflicts and fored to leave their homes. The film God Grew Tired of Us tells a moving story of young people overcoming incredible challenges and struggling to improve their own lives and those of family and friends left behind."  Linked here is a lsson plan from National Geographic "to teach students about concepts of migration, cultural mosaics, sense of place, and forces of cooperation and conflict among communities" using this 90 minute documentary.  The film can be viewed online on HULU as well as other media outlets.  


Tags: culture, Africa, political, conflict, war, migration, development, APHG

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