Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Portraits Of NYC Immigrants Reveal Cultural Backgrounds

Portraits Of NYC Immigrants Reveal Cultural Backgrounds | Geography Education |
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.

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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'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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Mexican culture...Beyond Sombreros and Tequila

Promotional Video Campaign of "Viva Mexico"
Seth Dixon's insight:

I love Mexico and love celebrating Mexican culture...this video is a reminder to not solely focus on the past, but to see a vibrant modern Mexican culture as well. 


TagsMexico, folk cultures, culture, tourism.

Jose leon's curator insight, February 7, 2:25 AM

Watching this video really made me happy since I am Latino. When people think of Mexico they think of a poor country with corrupt politicians. It's funny because the country of Mexico isn't poor it's just the politicians keep it all to themselves. Many of there children take a private plane to Europe just to eat dinner and come back the very same day. This video shows that it is so much more than that. I had no idea that Mexico was number one automotive industry, and the country is extremely beautiful which is no real surprise to anybody. It has 9 out of the 11 ecosystems. Many of the avocadoes that people eat most likely came from Mexico since it’s number 1 exporter, along with tomatoes, mangoes, and guayabas. The Mexican people also have strong family values along with 1134 traditional festivals. 

Alex Smiga's curator insight, February 7, 7:40 PM

Watch the video guay

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Ghanaian coffins

Ghanaian coffins | Geography Education |

"Amid calls for a three-day weekend in Ghana to allow residents to attend more funeral parties (with the emphasis on party), here's a look at some of the country's famous customized coffins."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Cultural practices surrounding death are designed to honor the departed and are deeply situated in the local customs.  Some people from a different cultural setting might find the cultural practices of Mexico's Day of the Dead startling.  A Google Image search of "Ghana coffin" is a fascinating display of vibrancy and life surrounding death in Ghana. 

Questions to Ponder: Do you this as having elements of popular culture or folk culture?  Would these coffins 'work' in other places?  Why or why not?  What other cultural traits and attitudes need to be in places for this to be cultural acceptable?       


Tagscultural norms, folk culture, cultureGhana, Africa.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:18 PM

the idea that funerals should be festive is an idea with a large history. it is also, i think, a very good idea. many people already get together after a funeral and drink and talk about the good times they had with the dead person, and it helps with a sort of closure.

Sarah Cannon's curator insight, December 16, 2015 5:24 PM

I've never heard of this type of burial traditions. The typical burial that I hear about and experience are the old, wake and funeral the day after the wake.  I've also heard of funerals that are held in New Orleans, when someone died the people of New Orleans paraded down the street singing and playing happy music. This was a celebration of there life. Wakes and funerals that I'm used to are always sad and depressing and held at a church and funeral home then the deceased are to be buried at a cemetery. In this article, caskets are designed differently, as you can see in the photo above. Some caskets are in the shape of a shoe, fish, car, or even a camera. Interesting way to celebrate the deceased.

Patty B's curator insight, February 11, 4:22 PM

The Ghanaian coffins exemplify the unique differences still found within cultures around the world despite a highly globalized society. In particular, this webpage reveals how cultures still vary by showing how one way in which Ghanaians honor their deceased, which is by having elaborate, fun, and symbolic coffins made. The coffins seem representative of the deceased’s personality, interests, occupation, and overall who they were in society, what they were known for, and what they loved most. Many societies or religions honor their loved ones by remembering the same things that Ghanaians remember, but do say in a different manner. I think a custom such as the coffin making of the Ghanaians would be something our society and similar societies would accept. Themed weddings are becoming a big hit, I don’t see why Western culture would be so against adopting themed funerals as well in some sense. 

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Outsiders often using the Amish name for marketing

Outsiders often using the Amish name for marketing | Geography Education |

"In and around Amish country, it's easy to find countless stores and websites advertising Amish quilts, Amish candy and Amish crafts. But though Mr. Zook is Amish, it would be impossible to tell from the name of his Evansburg farm, Maple Run, or his products, whose homemade labels make no mention of their maker's religion.  In fact, it's a good bet that if the word 'Amish' appears on a store or a product, the Amish themselves didn't put it there. Experts and Amish alike say that the name, used as a marketing tool, is almost exclusively the domain of the non-Amish."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While being an interesting topic in and of itself, this article is also an way way to introduce various concepts of cultural geography: folk culture, cultural commodification and cultural appropriation.  Here is a link to the commercial website 'Amish Origins' which, to my knowledge, has no real Amish Origins.  


Questions to Ponder: Why is there cultural and economic cachet in being affiliated with the term 'Amish' in the United States today? When do you feel cultural commodification is 'crossing the line' or is everything marketable fair game?  What are other examples of cultural appropriation that you can think of? 

Tagsfolk cultureseconomic, culture, religion, technology, popular culture.

John Puchein's curator insight, November 6, 2015 7:37 AM

Great example of folk culture and cultural commodification. 

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 7, 2015 10:03 AM

unit 3

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 7, 2015 10:05 AM

unit 3

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Peru's Pitmasters Bury Their Meat In The Earth, Inca-Style

Peru's Pitmasters Bury Their Meat In The Earth, Inca-Style | Geography Education |
What's the epitome of summer for a lot of Americans? It's communing around a grill, with friends and family, waiting for a slab of meat to cook to juicy perfection.

In Peru, people like to gather around heat and meat, too. Except the heat — and the meat — are buried in the ground. It's called pachamanca, a traditional way of cooking that dates back to the Inca Empire. The pit cooking technique has evolved over time but remains an important part of the Peruvian cuisine and culture, especially in the central Peruvian Andes all year-round for family get-togethers and celebrations.

Tags: food, folk culture, culture, indigenous, South AmericaPeru.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 12:05 PM

this method of cooking is a fantastic way to make food if you don't have a fire or other source of heat. that old joke about the side walk being hot enough to cook bacon on is based in fact.

Colleen Geiger's curator insight, March 10, 9:58 AM
This article is probably my favorite one that I have read on this site. Its's interesting to see the different cultures and their traditions like this one for example. They have a big Sunday meal that they cooked underground using heated lava rocks to cook the variety of vegetables and meat. 
Peyton Conner's curator insight, March 10, 10:17 AM
Pop culture is taking over the whole world and few folk traditions are still around today. I believe this article shows a great example of how societies are still honoring their heritage and ways of life. Even something as simple as a way of cooking preserves cultures that are being lost. PC
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As South Carolina deals with its Confederate flag, one town in Brazil flies it with pride

As South Carolina deals with its Confederate flag, one town in Brazil flies it with pride | Geography Education |
After the Civil War, members of the Confederacy fled to Brazil. Their ancestors still live in the region and continue to fly the Confederate flag.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While people debate why the southern states actually seceded, there are many who still honor what they see as the gallantry of genteel southern society in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is important to note that Brazil was chosen as the home of this 'Confederacy in Exile' because it was the last western country to abolish slavery (1888 it ended there too).  Here is another article discussing the the Brazilian enclaves of 'Confederados,' or children of the unreconstructed South.   

Tags: Brazil, historicalthe Southlandscape.

Rebecca Cofield's curator insight, August 5, 2015 6:25 PM

While people debate why the southern states actually seceded, there are many who still honor what they see as the gallantry of genteel southern society in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is important to note that Brazil was chosen as the home of this 'Confederacy in Exile' because it was the last western country to abolish slavery (1888 it ended there too).  Here is another article discussing the the Brazilian enclaves of 'Confederados,' or children of the unreconstructed South.   


Tags: Brazil, historical, the South, landscape.

Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, August 6, 2015 3:56 PM

While people debate why the southern states actually seceded, there are many who still honor what they see as the gallantry of genteel southern society in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is important to note that Brazil was chosen as the home of this 'Confederacy in Exile' because it was the last western country to abolish slavery (1888 it ended there too).  Here is another article discussing the the Brazilian enclaves of 'Confederados,' or children of the unreconstructed South.   


Tags: Brazil, historical, the South, landscape.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 5:38 AM

The debate over the causes for the Civil War are always amusing. The main cause for the war was undoubtedly the issue of slavery. The souths  desperate attempts to hold on to the institution of slavery caused them to secede from the union. All of the major controversies between the north and the south  before the actual war involved slavery in one form or another. The Missouri Compromise or Bleeding Kansas would be just a few examples of that cause. I can understand the urge of southerners to want to celebrate their heritage. The problem is, they are celebrating a history that never existed. To describe the Civil War as an honorable gentile cause to beet back northern aggression is just not history, it is myth. I was to surprised to see Confederate celebrations in Brazil. Though, sense they were the last nation in this Hemisphere  to abolish slavery, it makes sense that some confederates would have fled there following the end of the war. Even more surprising was the fact that these heritage celebrations are biracial.  The power of myth can sway many people to a particular celebration or cause.

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When Wearing Shorts Was Taboo

When Wearing Shorts Was Taboo | Geography Education |
In certain places in American history, showing a little leg has been illegal — for men and women.
Seth Dixon's insight:

What is cultural acceptable varies over time and space.  This particular issue may seem silly now, but it is a reminder that the norms of the here and now, might have been seen as revolutionary or scandalous in a different time and place.  Cultures and customs are socially mediated and those processes creates cultural norms--norms are continually enforced, resisted and reshaped.     

Tags: culture, folk cultures, unit 3 culture.

Marianne Naughton's curator insight, April 28, 2015 8:54 AM

Changing Times

L.Long's curator insight, May 1, 2015 6:38 PM
Seth Dixon's insight:

What is cultural acceptable varies over time and space.  This particular issue may seem silly now, but it is a reminder that the norms of the here and now, might have been seen as revolutionary or scandalous in a different time and place.  Cultures and customs are socially mediated and those processes creates cultural norms--norms are continually enforced, resisted and reshaped.  

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 5:24 AM

Currently in many Asian countries women showing any skin is looked down upon or even illegal. Now social trends have changed and shorts in Westernized civilizations have allowed the use of shorts.

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In Louisiana, Desire for a French Renaissance

In Louisiana, Desire for a French Renaissance | Geography Education |
From a long-running radio show to bilingual street signs, efforts are being made to preserve a vernacular once repressed by law.

This radio show is part of a conscious effort to sustain an iteration of French that followed its own evolutionary path here, far from the famed vigilance of the Académie française.  Many now believe Louisiana French to be endangered, even as other aspects of the state's rural culture flourish amid the homogenizing forces of modern life.  "We're not losing the music.  We're not losing the food," Mr. Layne said from his office, Ville Platte, a city of 7,500 about two and a half hours west of New Orleans. "But we're losing what I think is the most important thing, which is language."  

Tagslanguage, folk cultures, culture.

Matthew Connealy's curator insight, March 22, 2015 6:03 PM

A family owned radio show in Louisiana entertains their audience with many ways and efforts to maintain the French roots they have evolved from. Despite keeping their food and music in the French culture, the language is the one left hanging to dry, for the language is slowly dwindling from the state. The homogenizing of areas and the influx of pop culture has led to this loss of folk roots in the jazz state. Along with this influence, a mandate in the Constitution disallowed the use of any other language besides English in public schools.There was a Cajun and French movement in the 1960's to try and spur the culture back on its feet, but many people believe that it is too late to go back and fix this change in culture.


This article surprised me on the fact that the loss of folk culture can happen anywhere, and is especially prevalent in the U.S. due to instant communication and social media. Folk culture is essential in understanding how an area got started, and this topic of study intrigues me to conduct further research in other areas. This fits right in with folk and pop culture along with language and communication of the syllabus.

Emma Conde's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:30 PM

unit 3: cultural patterns and processes


This article starts off describing a man who runs a local radio show in Louisiana completely in cajun french. This is an effort to preserve the heritage that the cajun people were once forced to let go of and assimilate in many aspects by the American government. Many conservative cajun parts of Louisiana are now pushing for a revival of their culture that has continued to be passed down through speaking at home, and old books, music, and traditions passed down to them by grandparents and great grandparents.


This shows a push for revival of a folk culture, which is very uncommon in this time especially in the United States where pop culture dominates. Revivals of folk culture like this should continue to be encouraged. 

Emerald Pina's curator insight, May 26, 2015 11:33 PM

This article is about Ville Platte, Louisianna where the people want to bring back the language French. They have set up a French radio station. The article talks about how the people want to bring back the culture and their language. 


This article relates with Unit 3: Cultural Patterns and Proccesses because it talks about how the Cajun people was forced to assimilate and speak the English language. However, today the language and people thrive through a preservationist group. The group is fighting for their culture back, and has already set up a radio station. This article is an example of a folk culture.

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After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews

After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews | Geography Education |
Spain's monarchy decimated the Jewish population by expelling, killing or forcibly converting Jews in 1492. Now the country may offer their descendants Spanish citizenship.

TagsEurope, migration, Israel, Spain.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 2015 7:29 PM

Can we all agree that a 522 year apology is outdated? Honestly, Karavani, a citizen of Israel who benefits from the new policy, summarized my reaction to this when he stated, “I don't think that anybody owes me anything — definitely [not] if it happened 500 years ago.” The people involved in this situation are dead five times over at least. I think it is time to move on and if you can’t, then you have bigger issues in your life. Personally, it would make more sense for the government to remember past mistakes and learn from them by applying knowledge of discrimination to any issues of discrimination that is currently happening in the country.


I kept wondering if giving citizenship so many years later would actually be seen as a justice apology. The citizens aren’t being recognized as Jews. Plus the expense being incurred to even take the test sounds unpleasant given some of the complaints mentioned in the article. I didn’t realize that a large amount of the Israel population would actually leave for Europe. Upon realizing this, I found the trend to be amazing in a world where increased immigration is normally seen in a negative light for the nation who is welcoming the immigrants. Never did I realize that a member of Israel would view it as “a European way — to destroy this country.” I do doubt that was there intent as there are far more effective way to destroy a nation. Yet, when someone is losing a large amount of their population (some of whom speak an almost dead language) I can see how the statement was made. I guess this member of the Israeli population would be considered a person against globalization in this instance.


Leaving Israel isn’t a bad decision though. Given the instability in Israel, I think it is great that more immigrants can go someplace else. Furthermore, I think it provides a fantastic opportunity to people, like Karavani, who want better jobs. While it might be sad to see such drastic change for Levy, people can study like his cousin and keep their heritage. The world is a bigger place now that is easily traversed. I think people needed to realize there is no longer one absolute location to live and that isn’t the end of the world. It is just a new way of life.   

Chris Plummer's curator insight, February 16, 2015 9:09 PM

Summary- After almost 550 years, Spain is finally allowing decedents of expelled Jew citizenship. In 1492 Jews were forced to convert, be killed, or flee Spain. A law now grants the Jews descendants citizenship under a draft law by the Spanish Government. 


Insight- As explorers of religion in this unit, we ask out selves: Why were the Jews expelled and now let back in so long after? The expulsion was caused by the Spanish Inquisition, a goal to maintain catholic orthodox in spanish kingdoms forcing all Jews out. They are finally let back in after Spain realized  that there is now no reason to keep other people out.

Avery Liardon's curator insight, March 23, 2015 9:25 PM

Unit 3:

Spain debating whether or not they are going to let Jewish people apply to be Spanish citizens. 

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Giving Thanks—or Miigwetch

Giving Thanks—or Miigwetch | Geography Education |
Gathered around the Thanksgiving table, Americans tell stories about colonists and Native Americans coming together. But do Native Americans even celebrate Thanksgiving? And what would Native American heritage food look like? This November, With Good Reason takes a look at the indigenous side of a Thanksgiving table.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This podcast is a great look at the diverse ways in which a national holiday can be celebrated.  The cultural connections in the podcast are quite rich.  

Tags: Thanksgiving, food, seasonal, folk culture, culture, indigenous.

JebaQpt's comment, December 1, 2014 11:56 PM
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
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Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar | Geography Education |

"The Mexican tradition celebrates the dead and welcomes their return to the land of the living once a year. Enticing them to make the trip is where the food, drink and musical offerings come in."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Like many things in Mexico, the celebrations around the Day of the Dead are a combination of indigenous and Spanish traditions that collide to make something that is uniquely Mexican.  This podcast goes through the symbolism in the cultural artifacts that are such a vibrant part of the festivities as does this Smithsonian interactive.   

TagsMexicofolk culture, culture, podcast.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, February 12, 2015 6:39 PM

I've always been really interested in the Day of the Dead, and this article actually taught me a lot.  I always knew the general meaning of the day, and what they had and did, because I learned about it throughout high school in my Spanish classes, but this article shed some new light.  I never knew what exactly each element stood for, and now it's even more interesting to me.  I never would have guessed that there was Catholic influence, and that it is still incorporated today.  I think this is a beautiful ceremony, and a fantastic way to honor loved ones who have passed, and it certainly seems better than spending three hours at a funeral crying.  Their lives should be celebrated, and made out to be something happy and beautiful, instead of dark and depressing.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, March 1, 2015 10:17 PM

This is such a neat tradition.  I love all the vibrant colors and the fact that its a joyous celebration instead of mourning which is traditional in the US.  There is even an animated movie that was just released called Book of the Dead.  Its only taken decades for movie giants to release animated films that reflect the population of the US.  I can remember when Pocahontas was released then Mulan.  

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 12, 2015 9:29 PM

I love reading about Mexico's day of the dead tradition because it is a piece of Mexico's culture that is only Mexico's. It is such a strong piece that they take very seriously, it has not been  Americanized and is original to them. It is like the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, a specific component of Muslim tradition. Many cultures have been muddled with since the dawn of globalization.

The above link is an interesting read about how globalization affects traditions.

Reading this article is proof that some traditions are to strong to break. Learning about specific customs like the day of the dead also gives you a great opportunity to learn a vast amount about the populations culture and beliefs.



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13 amazing coming of age traditions from around the world

13 amazing coming of age traditions from around the world | Geography Education |

"The transition from childhood to adulthood -- the 'coming of age' of boys who become young men and girls who become young women -- is a significant stepping stone in everyone’s life. But the age at which this happens, and how a child celebrates their rite of passage into adolescence, depends entirely on where they live and what culture they grow up in.  Looking back, we'll never forget the majesty that was prom, or the excitement of hitting the dance floor at our friends' co-ed Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties, and why should we? Embarassing or amazing, they were pivotal moments in our lives that deserve remembering. On that note, here are thirteen of it the world’s most diverse coming of age traditions."

Tags: gender, folk culture, culture, indigenous, worldwide.

Elizabeth Sheppard's comment, October 3, 2014 3:07 AM
Its interesting to see the different cultural traditions that are set at different stages in a persons life as the beginning into adulthood for most. I don't think I would want to be a male in the Brazilian Amazon, or the island of Vanuatu where you literally put your life on the line to prove your ready for adulthood. It shows the differences and what is considered important or the role the person plays in society. I think the mention of the sweet 16 for American girls was a pretty weak presentation. America is a melting pot and represents so much more than that.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 11:59 AM

These traditions reflect the cultural geographies they take place within. In the Brazilian Amazon, the locals use the bullet ants native to the area to use in their Bullet Ant Initation. On North Baffin Island, where Inuits must be able to navigate and hunt in the wilderness of the artic, their coming of age involves a hunting journey that begins with them opening up the lines of communication between men and animals a relationship that the survival of the community hinges on. In the Amish tradition, they send their youth out into the world to witness the perils of modern society as a way to provide them with the choice of Amish Living. In Central and South America, girls have a Quinceanera where they girls solidifies their commitment to her family and faith two very important ideals of that culture. These coming of age traditions reflect the cultural differences between places throughout the world.

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, March 24, 2015 1:34 AM

I think this article could also fit into the view of culture of gender. The fact that there are separate celebrations in Jewish culture represent the divide between men and women. The Satere-Mawe tradition of wearing bullet ant gloves in order for boys to demonstrate their "manliness" is actually quite sexist. It demonstrates how men must behave in "manly" ways and not cry in order to be viewed as a "true" man. This creates a mentality in boys from a very young age that they must not be "feminine," and that they must be more headstrong than girls to be viewed as a man. The same goes for the Vanuatu tradition. Young boys have to go to the extreme (jump from tall towers with a simply a rope around their legs to keep them from dying) to prove their manhood. Of course these traditions are an important part of their culture, and I have no right to criticize, but I am simply providing an alternative analysis of these traditions.

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The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race | Geography Education |

"Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Jared Diamond wrote this highly controversial essay back in the 80's and it still can elicit strong reactions from anthropologists, geographers, historians, and other scholars.  This is a good reading to give students during an agricultural unit.  This can get students to question many of the assumptions about humanity that they probably never knew they had (Diamond challenged the mainstream progressivist position).


Questions to Ponder: What is the progressivist view?  What were the negative impacts that early agriculture had on human health?  What social problems does Diamond attribute to agriculture?  What evidence would you present to argue against Diamond's position?


Tagsagriculturefolk culturestechnologyindigenous.

Eben Lenderking's curator insight, October 12, 3:07 AM

Is it too late to reprogram ourselves?

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Live chart: Fish stocks

"The world's fish are in danger—as is everyone who depends on them."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Every semester I share with my students this New York Times video about the rapid rise in industrial fishing and the production of Talapia.  Even with the rise of aquaculture as a major source of seafood, the world's oceans are still depleted.  As the world's population rises, many folk cultures with their roots in small fishing villages have transformed into primarily urban societies, but these urban societies still have a strong cultural preference for seafood and consume at levels that are not sustainable.    


Tags: environment modifyfolk culturesconsumption, water, physical.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 6, 1:24 AM

Impact of overfishing and ecosystem disruption on marine environments 

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Americans Try Norwegian Christmas Food

See staff at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo try traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes. Se ansatte på den amerikanske ambassaden i Oslo smake på norsk julemat.


Tags: Norway, food, culture, seasonal, perspective.

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Is Cultural Appropriation Always Wrong?

Is Cultural Appropriation Always Wrong? | Geography Education |

We sometimes describe this mingling as 'cross-pollination’ or ‘cross-fertilization’ — benign, bucolic metaphors that obscure the force of these encounters. When we wish to speak more plainly, we talk of ‘appropriation’ — a word now associated with the white Western world’s co-opting of minority cultures.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The distinction between cultural diffusion and cultural appropriation can get very blurry, and I doubt that there is a ‘final word’ on the topic.  What is perceived as culturally inappropriate or exploitative is not clear cut.  In addition to this NY Times article about the concept of cultural appropriation, below are a few articles that can be used to discuss this idea.  These topics are by nature controversial, and you can use your discretion to know which articles are appropriate for your students given their maturity level.  I don’t agree with all the authors of these articles; I also don’t think these issues are perfect examples of cultural appropriation, but that is why they are helpful for a discussion. 

Questions to Ponder: What pushes something from cultural diffusion to cultural appropriation?  What makes these examples inappropriate or okay in your estimation? When do you feel cultural commodification is 'crossing the line' or is everything marketable fair game?  What are other examples of cultural appropriation that you can think of? 

Tagsculture, popular culturefolk cultureseconomic, unit 3 culture.

asli telli's curator insight, October 15, 2015 1:39 AM

How about "cross-polination" and "cross-fertilization" in cultures?

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, October 22, 2015 10:32 AM

unit 3

Sarah Nobles's curator insight, November 27, 2015 7:59 AM

Unit 3

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Fiddler on the Roof

Seth Dixon's insight:

Folk cultures are often described as regionally based, nearly homogeneous, rural cultures.  These societies are typically dominated by the older generation, traditional, family-based and slow to change.  This is an audio-visually rich collage showing a classic example of a folk culture being confronted by the forces of a changing world. 

No comment yet.
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China Fences In Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers

China Fences In Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers | Geography Education |
The Chinese government is in the final stages of a 15-year-old effort to transform millions of pastoralists who once roamed China’s vast borderlands.

TagsCentral Asia, culturefolk culturesecology, China.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Chinese government claims that this project is ecological in nature and that pastoralism will degrade the grasslands; however, this is stamping out cultural groups that have been resistant to assimilation. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 3:26 PM

Discrimination exists in every industrialized society in every part of the globe, the result of poverty, ignorance, and hatred. The US is guilty of it just as much as any other nation, evident by the continued existence of income gaps between whites and blacks in the US, as well as the policy of the US in its handling of our native populations. Chinese discrimination against ethnic Tibetans has long been documented and observed within the West, meeting the condemnation of much of the Western world, and such cultural discrimination has continued in other provinces within China. As the coast has exploded in wealth per capita, and the culture there becomes increasingly westernized, these other cultures and peoples are in danger of inevitably being wiped out. This is the result of Chinese policy, which has actively worked to suppress and kill of these resistant cultures, for the sake of national identity and unity. Is America in a position to judge others for how they treat their ethnic minorities? Not at all- just look at the demographics of our prison system and our families who fall below the poverty line. Such racism has long been a facet of human civilization, and it is up to us to make it a thing of our past and not of our future. For these cultures in China, I fear the worst will inevitably pass, and the world will sit passively by as they are lost forever. It saddens me, and I hope that I am proven wrong.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Sixty Languages at Risk of Extinction in Mexico—Can They Be Kept Alive?

Sixty Languages at Risk of Extinction in Mexico—Can They Be Kept Alive? | Geography Education |
Sixty of Mexico's native languages are at risk of being silenced forever—but many people are working to keep them alive, experts say.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If a language dies, an entire culture dies. Every year more and more languages and threatened and it gets worse as more people try to keep up with the demand of globalization. "Mexico isn't the only country losing its voices: If nothing is done, about half of the 6,000-plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century."  Endangered Languages are going to be all the more common.  

TagsMexico, language, folk cultures, culture, globalization.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 20, 2015 10:28 PM

Monolingualism is great in the sense that it facilitates greater communication across a wider range of people, creating a sense of unity among those same people. However, lingual differences are one of the most beautiful aspects of human culture and civilization, with thousands of specific idioms and uses pertaining to each language shaping a millennium of various human experiences scattered across the globe. I often must explain to my friends that something that sounds good in one language I speak (I am moderately fluent in Portuguese) does not translate well in the other when each individual word is translated rather than the sentiment of the phrase as a whole. It is sad to think that this collection of specific nuances and experiences pertaining to a multitude of languages could be lost by the end of the century; in our desire to be closer to each other, we are losing the best of what we have to offer one another.  I hope that efforts to reverse this trend are successful. On a more light-hearted note, I did chuckle a little while reading that two of the last speakers of one of these indigenous languages in Mexico are two old men who refuse to speak to one another. They have the power to save something much larger than themselves, and yet are unable to do so because of petty, earthly rivalries. Humans are a complicated bunch.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 22, 2015 8:29 AM

The demise of a language is a truly tragic event. I am heartened to see that there are efforts being undertaken to preserve these historic languages. New technologies  will hopefully aid us in this effort. I imagine that the United States probably faces similar issues when it comes to language loss. We should coordinate some sort of national policy in how to deal with the issue. The current state of political affairs will probably hamper  the cause, but it is still worth a shot. I am in full support of all efforts that might preserve these classic languages.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:29 AM

This is one of the reasons that when immigrants come into this country its important they keep their native language going as well as learning to speak English. The sharing of culture, and language is indeed very important. Lots of people come to America and are told to speak English and eventually they lose their native language as well as culture. The English speaking only citizens of this country lose out on a good education about someone's native country. Its too bad. Just think music, language, food, values etc...there is a lot to learn.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais'

This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais' | Geography Education |
For more than half a century, one small commercial radio station has been keeping French alive in the bayous of Louisiana.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This PRI podcast on Louisana's cultural geography goes nicely with this NY Times article on the same topic.    

Tagslanguage, folk cultures, culture, podcast.

Eden Eaves's curator insight, March 22, 2015 7:24 PM

Unit 3

Since 1953, this small radio station located in Ville Platte has been working to make sure the French speaking population in Louisiana does not deplete anymore; going from about one million in 1960 to less than 200 thousand in 2010. The station is interactive receiving calls from people sharing stories of their childhood and old memories that relate to the word or phrase of the day.


I think this is a great way to preserve the culture and common language of a community in a fun, interesting way that will keep listeners "tuned in" for years to come.   

Alex Lewis's curator insight, March 23, 2015 10:07 AM

This radio station is promoting the cultural history or Louisiana. Louisiana was originally French,  but was given to America in the 1700s. Most people in Louisiana could speak French fluently. Now, only roughly 175,000 native speakers are present. KVPI speaks in French and English, which keeps the French language alive in Louisiana.


Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, March 23, 2015 11:47 PM

In Ville Platte, a small, most French speaking town in Louisiana, a radio station, called KVPI (Keeping Ville Platte Informed), is trying hard to keep the language alive. Since French was banned from the classrooms in the 1920s, the decline of the unique Louisiana dialect has increased. KVPI speaks in a combina of English and Louisiana French in hopes to fight the downward trend and pass on the language to many more generations.


This is article is related to cultural patterns and processes through folk culture and language, by addressing these issues and the attempts to solve them. The traditional language of the area, which is part of the folk culture, is being replaced by the common language of the country as a whole, English. The English language has been spread with pop culture across the world through globalization and the smaller languages and cultures are often lost in the switch. KVPI has made it their goal to defend against that, so the unique folk culture of Louisiana will continue.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Folk Culture--Tradition

Seth Dixon's insight:

The clip which starts at 0:25 (speaking at 0:50) is an audiovisually rich cultural collage.  Folk cultures are often described as regionally based, nearly homogenous, rural cultures.  These societies are typically dominated by the older generation, traditional, family-based and slow to change.  Folk cultures typically rural, religious, agricultural, family-based and in a word: traditional.  This classic movie's opening is a good primer for markers of folk cultures and struggles that folk cultures have to maintain there vitality in a globalizing world.  If you continue on in the movie, the actual song Tradition is also rich in explaining how the society maintains itself.  

Tags: Russia, folk cultures, culture, music.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, February 16, 2015 7:34 PM

While watching this movie I found the over idea of tradition to be quite accurate because everyone wether they are from Russia, the United States or another country has traditions that come from many years ago. These traditions tell how the people should dress, sleep, work and eat all in the eyes of God. Traditions come from a group and then are passed on for generations, everyone has some type of tradition wether it is in their family or in another community. Tradition helps the people to gain an identity for themselves so he knows and everybody else knows who he is as well as what God expects. The main focus in this movie is not only tradition but also to please and have God in mind at all cost.

Elle Reagan's curator insight, March 22, 2015 9:18 PM

This video was nice because it had a little song that played and I thought that it showed the culture well. Before the Industrial Revolution played out, this way the way it used to be in many places. Riding horses and pulling a wooden carriage to deliver milk that had been freshly squeezed from a cow. It's funny to think that this was't that long ago and how culture can change quickly.

Bella Reagan's curator insight, May 27, 2015 12:37 AM

Unit 3 

Cultural Practices

Folk Culture

This video is the intro to a movie that shows the basis of this folk culture. It gives a good representation of the different elements of folk culture. Folk culture is made up of so many different elements. In the video there is music that begin stye culture being showcased. Then the man's attire and his environment. The infrastructures show the folk culture as well and so does the accent. 


This video revealed the elements of folk culture. It tied them all together and gave a good visual and good sound to what makes up a culture. Culture consists of so much from language, to dress, to food, to music. A video really gives a good eye into what the folk culture is like in this. 


Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Would You Guess There Are Fewer Amish Today? You'd Be So Wrong

Would You Guess There Are Fewer Amish Today? You'd Be So Wrong | Geography Education |

"There’s no denying that the Amish are fascinating to the rest of us ("the English," in Amish terms).  We buy their furniture and jam, and may occasionally spot their buggies when driving on country roads through America’s heartland.  Many may not realize, however, that though the Amish make up only a tiny percentage of Americans (less than 0.1 percent), the Amish population has grown enormously since the early 1960s, with much of the increase occurring in the last two decades." 

Tags:  population, USA, folk cultures, culture, religion

Cohen Adkins's curator insight, March 10, 10:02 AM
In my opinion I thought the Amish would not continue to grow in America since we are in a modern time with high tech and appliances that the Amish do not use. Another reason are the tourists that can possibly disrupt their folk culture and change it. -C.A
Ethan Conner's curator insight, March 10, 10:07 AM
Today there are more amidh than ever befor in American history. Their numbers have raised a great deal thanks to small migrations and years of passed knowledge.
Ethan Conner's curator insight, March 17, 10:05 AM
The Amish community is a very intresting one, they are in thieir own little world where life is simple. This makes them a very intresting community with a growing population.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

City of Endangered Languages

"New York has long been a city of immigrants, but linguists now consider it a laboratory for studying and preserving languages in rapid decline elsewhere in the world."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an excellent video for showing the diffusion of languages in the era of migration to major urban centers.  It also shows the factors that lead to the decline of indigenous languages that are on the fringe of the global economy and the importance of language to cultural traditions.   Here is the article related to the video as well as a BBC article that calls NYC a 'graveyard of languages.'  In a curious twist on the topic of endangered languages, there is a group of Native Americans in Northern California that wouldn't mind seeing their language die out with this generation.  

Tagslanguage, folk cultures, culturediffusionNYC, video.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, November 4, 2014 4:30 PM

Is globalisation enabling the preservation and study of declining languages?

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 7:59 PM

I will be showing this in class DO NOT use it for your scoop it review--


unit 3

SRA's curator insight, April 19, 2015 10:30 PM

Victoria Margo

This article really caught my eye because at a young age I was taught to speak spanish and english at the same time, and now that I am older I realize how important it is to know two languages. I will forever be grateful that my parents took the time and made my sisters and I learn something different while growing up.

Languages change over a long period of time and many times languages grow or die within time. Two main vocabulary words that I have not forgotten are Language divergence and Language convergence. Language divergence is the dividing of a language into many new languages. Language convergence is when two languages merge to become one. Both these definitions are extremely important when talking about how some languages will soon be extinct. I believe many languages have been endangered due to families and parents who do not continue speaking their language when they leave their original country/state. Language is very important to our world and society today. As stated from the short video clip, if you do not continue speaking your language then who will? I agree with that completely if you don't practice something over and over again how do you expect to get any better at it? This video was a great way to express the diffusion of languages and how families today still practice their language. This video made me think about and reflect on the video we watched in Geography class a couple weeks back because of the decline of all languages that we may not even be aware of. Many times it is hard to find older people who speak your native language but I also learned from the video we watched in class that it is possible if you are willing to try and continue something that is important to you. There are many different languages that connect to our world. 

I also liked how this article mentioned that New York is the city of immigrants, meaning New York is full of different cultures and unique language. Although this article/video does say that language has been endangered it can definitely be changed with a little knowledge of why this is happening. Geography and language tie in together quite well. I am hoping many languages can be saved for the future. 

Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks!

Baltimore's painted screens

"Jan Crawford explores a unique folk art tradition going back 100 years - once seen on nearly every row house in the working class neighborhoods of Baltimore, as artists today once again embrace the tradition of painted window screens, an authentic connection to the city's past."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is tremendous example of an urban cultural landscape that is distinctive to a certain place (Baltimore) and a particular time period.  The practice of painting landscape scene on window screens began over 100 years ago, as a way to beat the heat, but still afford some form of privacy.  This aesthetic emerged out of particular set of cultural, technological, and economic factors. What was once common is now perceived as a folk art that is a worth preserving because it is a marker of the local heritage.  This is an excellent example to demonstrate a sense of place that can develop within a community.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom (68 and counting).   

Tags: place, landscapeart, folk cultures, videoculture, community.

Kevin Barker's curator insight, October 24, 2014 9:22 AM

An excellent example of a localized cultural landscape characteristic that is a result of cultural diffusion that formed for economic as well as environmental factors.