"The government's attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs."
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"The government's attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs."
China has used various means to eliminate minority groups' cultural identity, and human rights groups argue that this ban on Ramadan is no different (children and government employees are banned from fasting, allegedly for health and safety concerns). Ethnic Uyghurs speak a Turkic language are more culturally connected to Cental Asia than East Asia. Predominantly Muslim, the Uyghurs are defying some of the more controversial laws that they feel single them out.
"Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year."
We celebrate St Patrick's Day to commemorate him for driving out the snakes from Ireland in the 5th century (or to just have an excuse to party, kiss and pinch people). What does the biogeography of Ireland have to tell us about this legend? Some believe that the non-believers (figurative 'snakes') were what he drove out of the Emerald Isle, a land with a rich culture.
Czar Alexander II may have freed the serfs, but his war against the stateless people of the Caucasus cannot be ignored
The czar’s approval of this rapid expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire resulted in an ethnic cleansing through disease and drowning as overcrowded ferries crossed the Black Sea. The Ottomans were unprepared for the influx of refugees, and the absence of adequate shelter caused even more deaths from exposure. Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.
I mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating. As the international spotlight in on Sochi, our students interest in the region is also heightened. This makes it the perfect time to shine a light on parts of history that many have conveniently tried to brush aside.
"This map illustrates the country's deep division – and why the protests might not be what you think. Ukraine has been wracked by protests for two-plus weeks over President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a deal for closer integration with the European Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin had been pressuring Yanukovych to quit the EU deal and join with a Moscow-led trade union of former Soviet states instead. Will Ukraine's future be with Russia or with Europe?"
The country of Ukraine is both ethnically and linguistically divided and since the fall of the Soviet Union, the partisan politics have mirrored these divisions. The northwestern portion of the country is primarily ethnic Ukrainian and with the majority speaking Ukrainian. This section of the country that is hoping to strengthen economic and political ties with the EU and face Europe; those that aren't as bullish on the EU here at least want to explore other options so they aren't overpowered by Moscow's shadow. The southeastern portion of Ukraine primarily speaks Russian with sizeable ethnic Russian populations (although many ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian here); not surprisingly, this is the part of the country that would rather join in an economic union with Russia and other former Soviet Republics, or at least not turn their backs on Moscow.
Questions to Ponder: Why are language and ethnicity often tied to political orientation? Why might trading with all economic partners not be as viable an option?
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
This hour-long podcast addresses some has key issues in urban geography by exploring the history of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing initiatives. The urban cultural mosaic of the United States and the neighborhoods of our cities have been greatly shaped by these issues. Currently gentrification is reshaping many U.S. cities and fits into the wider scope of the issues raised in the podcast.
This data visualization from the U.S. Census Bureau shows distribution of Hispanic or Latino population by specific origin. http://go.usa.gov/D7VH
Questions to Ponder: What geographic factors account for the differences in settlement patterns of those of Puerto Rican origin and those of Mexican origin? How do these patterns shape the cultural patterns in the United States and affect particular places?
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.
This map of the various ethnic and religious groups in being shown on major media outlets as some Western countries (including the United States) are considering military action in Syria. This and other maps like it powerfully conveys while many may conceptualize Syrians as a single monolithic group, that idea is a fiction that was created in the absence of geographic content to fill the void.
Additionally this diagram has also been circulating lately for the same reasons; this flow chart lays out the Middle East's political rivalries and alliances. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a well-quoted proverb to simplify Middle Eastern political alliances and rivalries. Seeing this web, you can only imagine that living by that dictum can certainly lead to complicated geopolitical conflicts among countries and culture groups.
Deaths of white people outnumbered births for the very first time in US history, the Census Bureau revealed Thursday. The census predicts that significant drops in birth rates v death rates will be regular by 2025.
The United States as a whole does not have demographic numbers similar to European countries with declining populations...but 'white' America does. The NY Times also noted that this statistical benchmark happened, but it was quietly mentioned with many other demographic statistics without an analysis of how this will impact the United States.
Question to Ponder: how will this impact the United States in coming generations? What will the cultural, economic and political impacts be? Why explains the differents between the distinct populations in the United States?
"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944. However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."
"In April, the Associated Press decided the word 'illegal' should only be used to describe actions, not people. It's one of several major news outlets that have been reconsidering how to refer to people who are in this country illegally."
There is power in the words we choose, especially for those those that are in the media that influence the way we frame any topic. If a reporter in a news article, for example, were to describe a group as freedom fighters instead of insurgent rebels it impacts our perception of the news. See also this gallery of images on the U.S.-Mexico border.
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
This relic from ancient Persia had a profound influence on the Founding Fathers
This video can be seen as the three minute version of a 20 minute TED talk by Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum. He discusses the profound importance that the Cyrus Cylinder (A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script) had on modern political though on multiculturalism.
Of all the changes announced by the 2011 census, one of the most startling is the rapid change in the ethnic composition of London's population.
The fact the immigrants moving to the UK have flocked to London is not surprising (View a map of the census data). Immigration isn't the only component to this situation. White Britons are also leaving London in large number, prompting some to refer to this as "White Flight." Today, white Britons are no longer the majority population within London (but still the largest ethnic group). Some feel that this story has gone underreported and deserves more analysis. What elements of human geography should an observer of this situation use in their analysis?
A different perspective of Paul Harvey's "God made a Farmer." In reference to the foreign-owned Chrysler Corp. that showed a similar video that aired during ...
As a cultural production this is fascinating reshaping of the original Chrysler Super Bowl commercial. The original doubles as a tribute to a rural America of yesteryear and American labor. This one acts as a critique on the status on Latino workers in the United States. The audio is the same, with images that conjure out entirely different messages (here is an irreverent parody).
Aboriginal leaders threaten to ban tourists from a top Australian landmark in protest at "racist" government policies.
This is an old article, but a fascinating topic that cuts across many geographic issues. Uluru, the landform that that European explorers named Ayers Rock, was the key place that is at the center of a struggle between indigenous people and the government. Many feel that the government's course of action in the mid 2000's was paternalistic and racist. They banned alcohol and pornography in over 70 indigenous communities in an attempt to lower the rates of child sex abuse. Sex Abuse is high (and often hidden) in aboriginal communities where a child is 7 times more likely to be abused than in the rest of the Australian population.
Questions to Ponder: Would the government impose such measures on other populations within Australia? When crimes have a racial component, does a government have the right to limit a particular groups' actions? Why or why not?
As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
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.
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.
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?
|Suggested by Kara Charboneau|
MEXICO CITY — Juan Chiu Trujillo was 5 years old when he left his native Mexico for a visit to his father's hometown in southern China. He was 35 when he returned.
Migratory patterns and globalization can lead to some intriguing cultural blends that would seem improbable 100 years ago. This story of shows vividly how ethnicity does NOT always correspond to culture.
Israeli airstrikes began November 14, following months of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.
"Monday, the top leader of Hamas dared Israel to launch a ground invasion of Gaza and dismissed diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in the six-day-old conflict, as the Israeli military conducted a new wave of deadly airstrikes which included a second hit on a 15-story building that houses media outlets." This photo essay shows 34 powerful images that are emerging from this deadly conflict. If students need some background to understand who are the major players in this conflict, this glossary should be helpful.
When African states gained independence, the continent's new leaders agreed to respect the old colonial borders to avoid endless wars.
This interactive map shows the major conflicts on the African continent where the combatants have geopolitical aspirations to separate from the state and create a new, autonomous state. Click on the red arrows and you can read about the warring factions and the current situation in that region.
Questions are growing about the fate of President Bashar Assad's regime. One possibility is the creation of a breakaway region in the northwest coastal mountains dominated by the president's Alawite minority.
This podcast explores the geopolitical possibilities that are facing the minority Alawites of Syria. If the major cities of Syria fall to the rebels, would a smaller Alawite breakaway state even be economically or politically viable? This podcast argues that it would not, and therefore many Alawites see this as a zero sum game. While this is all speculative, it uses spatial and geographic prinicples to assess the viability of possible outcomes.
In the race to the White House, no ethnic group is more prized than Hispanics. President Obama ended deportations for some young undocumented immigrants, and the Romney campaign is vetting Sen.
This interactive map feature combines to interesting variables (at the county level): the percentage of the total population that is Hispanic, and the 2008 presidential election. Analyze your local area and a few counties as well. What connection exists between the two variables? How come? What are some exceptions to these general patterns?
|Suggested by Kim Vignale|
President Obama and Mitt Romney are set to make appearances beginning Thursday at a major gathering of Latino officials and activists...
A core component of the 2012 U.S. presidential elections will be the demographic profile of both the Republican and Democratic Parties’ power base. For most of American history, the African-American population was the largest minority second to the Caucasian minority. Since the 2000 census, the Latino population has overtaken the African-American population as the largest minority in the U.S. How does this impact both parties? What are the strategies of both parties to appeal from a diverse set of voters? How does the immigration issue shape 'identity politics?'
The Endangered Languages Project is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the over 3,000 endangered ...
This short video is a great primer for understanding the importance of linguistic diversity. Why the loss of linguistic diversity (a global phenomenon) related to other themes on geography, such as political and economic autonomy for minority groups? Why are so many languages vanishing today? What forces are creating these emerging cultural patterns? For more on the project, see: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/
U.S. census data shows racial diversity is increasing in major cities across the United States. But highly diverse neighborhoods are still rare, newly arrive...
I've read within the last few months articles mentioning that segregation in inner city neighborhood are on the rise, and other headlines stating that ethnic diversity within urban areas is at an all-time high. My first reaction was, "so which is it?" This research shows how to make sense of both of these trends which seem contradictory. For more context on this issue, see: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2012/06/watch-these-us-cities-segregate-even-they-diversify/2346/
For a segregation at all time low article, see: http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/1145693870/segregation-hits-historic-low
For the link to 'segregation is still rampant,' see: http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/1103106026/reports-of-the-end-of-segregation-greatly-exaggerated
An interesting case of identity politics is playing out in New York's new 13th Congressional District. A Dominican-American state senator is threatening longtime Rep. Charles Rangel in the district, which is now majority Hispanic.
Identity, whether it be be race, religious, color or creed absolutely matters in politics. Especially local politics where the demographics of a city or district play a major role in the viablity of a candidate. If the constituency perceives the candidate's cultural identity as either representing or not representing 'the people,' that can play a key role in the election.