A judge in Argentina orders the seizure of assets of firms drilling for oil around the Falklands, but it is unclear how it can be enforced.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
A judge in Argentina orders the seizure of assets of firms drilling for oil around the Falklands, but it is unclear how it can be enforced.
Are they the Falklands or Las Malvinas? It's not just a simple linguistic translation but also a statement of territoriality and geopolitical recognition in this festering situation. For a great teaching resource on the historical ebbs and flows in this longstanding dispute between Argentina and the UK, see the second slideshow in this series of AP Human Geography talks that was given at NCGE two years ago.
History (and sometimes, unfortunately, current events) shows us just how easily national borders can change, but we still like to think that they are permanent fixtures. These photos of different national borders around the world show you how both friendly and hostile nations like to fence off their turf.
Borders can make for some striking manifestations of power on the landscape. On the other hand as seen in this picture of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary, friendship and cooperation can also be inscribed into the landscape. There are some great teaching images in this gallery.
|Suggested by Courtney Barrowman|
The conflict over Western Sahara dates back to 1975, when, following the death of long-time ruler Francisco Franco, Spain ended its colonial rule of the territory. Spain ceded control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania, but the Polisario Front - the liberation movement of the indigenous Saharawi people - refused to accept the arrangement, and launched attacks on garrisons manned by soldiers from both countries. Morocco insists that the Western Sahara is part of its historical patrimony, and is unwilling to go beyond offering the Saharawi a limited local autonomy in what Morocco describes as the kingdom's "southern provinces."
Fascinating footage of a traditional ceremony that takes place on the Pakistan India border. From the BBC
This is a fascinating political display that shows a degree of cooperation, but is made into a sports-like event because of the geopolitical tension/passion between these two South Asian neighbors. They have 'toned down' the overtly display of hostility in recent years. Some love this border ceremony and others fear that they are playing with fire, fanning the flames of nationalism that only exacerbates the tension. Just last year, this border checkpoint was the site of a terrorist attack that killed 50. Click here for more information about the border tension in the Pakistan/India/China borderland.
More complex international borders in this follow up to part 1.
In this video I look at even more enclaves and exclaves."
This video (like part 1) shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated. Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video) on these complex borders:
"Though uninhabited and full of melting ice caps, the Arctic is surprisingly an appealing piece of real estate. Many countries have already claimed parts of the region. So who technically owns the North Pole? And why do these nations want it so bad?"
Denmark is now being more assertive in their claims. Why is this happening now? As climate change threatens polar ice caps, some see the receding ice as an economic and political opportunity. Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and the U.S. are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic. When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes). Even a global disaster like climate change can make countries behave like jackals, ready to feast on a dead carcass. For more, read this National Geographic blogpost.
A site in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism.
There has been turmoil and violence in Jerusalem this month; at it's core, much of the fighting has been around the political control of sacred spaces that are seen as critical to both groups' cultural and religious identity. This particular sacred place is intertwined with both Judaism as well as Islam, and understanding the current round of violence demands that we understand some of the historical geography of religion in Jerusalem. To explore more about sacred sites in general as a spatial concept, visit this link.
"In this video I look at some of the most complex international border. Of course, there are more complex borders in the world, but this video looks at some of my favourites."
This video shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated. Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video):
"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe. The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."
How can political stability and security be measured? What constitutes effective governance? The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe. There are 12 social, economic, and political/military categories that are a part of the overall rankings and various indicators are parts of the metrics that are a part of this index are:
•Human Flight and Brain Drain
•Uneven Economic Development
•Poverty and Economic Decline
•Human Rights and Rule of Law
Canada has dispatched two icebreakers to map the Arctic seabed beneath the North Pole to support a bid to extend the country's maritime territory deeper into the waterways at the top of the world.
Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland) are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic. Globally speaking, the retreat of Arctic sea ice can be seen as a unmitigated disaster, but disasters for the many can open up new economic opportunities for the few. When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes). This fits in with the APHG new course outline which includes political ecology (the study of the political and economic principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another and to the environment).
"Sovereignty over land defines nation states since 1648. In contrast, sovereign right over the sea was formalised only in 1982. While land borders are well-known, sea borders escape the limelight."
These maritime borders mark the economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line. This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example). This interactive map of the EEZs also shows the 'donut holes,' or the seas that are no state can claim that no state can claim. Given the number of conflicts that are occurring--especially in East Asia--this map becomes a very valuable online resource for teaching political geography.
Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies? Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions?
While identifying most of the territory that is a part of the United States is fairly straightforward, the interesting political geography is in discussing the places that aren't straightforward, such as American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Palmyra Atoll.
There are major hurdles in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestine.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in Washington in July for the first time in three years. While the talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, they are already beginning to take on a last-ditch quality. Explore some of the contentious issues that negotiators have faced in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars. These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace. The discipline of geography doesn't simple study the peace process--it is a part of it. The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues. Geography can be both the problem and the solution.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
What parts of the world should rethink their maps? Why and how?
Maps are always changing as a new nation gets added and old lines cease to make sense. Territory is claimed and reclaimed. This series of seven articles in the New York Times explores regional examples of how borders impacts places from a variety of scholarly perspectives. Together, these article challenge student to reconsider the world map and to conceptualize conflicts within a spatial context.
"Unfortunately, most world political maps aren't telling you the whole story. The idea that the earth's land is cleanly divvied up into nation-states - one country for each of the world's peoples - is more an imaginative ideal than a reality. Read on to learn about five ways your map is lying to you about borders, territories, and even the roster of the world's countries."
This is a nice article to get students to look past the officialness of a world map to explore some of the complexities that make contemporary political geography so compelling. In a nutshell, this article discusses 5 major themes:
Argentina and England are unlikely to meet at the World Cup finals, however their rivalry was reignited at the weekend when the Argentine national side posed behind a banner claiming the Falkland Islands belong to the South American country. Ahead of their warm-up match with Slovenia in Buenos Aires, the team displayed the message in support of the country's claims over the sovereignty of the islands in the South Atlantic, which are a British Overseas Territory.
The World Cup can make things interesting when nationalistic fervor becomes politicized and moves to issues off the pitch. Are they the Falklands or Las Malvinas? It's not just a simple linguistic translation but also a statement of territoriality and geopolitical recognition. Like Gibraltar, the Falklands are British Oversees Territories, ones that Margaret Thatcher was willing to fight Agrentina to maintain; Argentina still claims Las Malvinas as their territory. For a great teaching resource on this issue, see the second slideshow in this series of AP Human Geography talks that was given at NCGE 2013 (sign up to attend NCGE 2014 here).
Is this an opportune moment for Eurasian powers to tackle the festering Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Recently Crimea has has been a hot topic and in years past Chechyna was another much discussed topic. Both of these ‘hot spots’ have some important geographic reasons as to why they are hot spots. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent re-emergence of the Russian Federation have created geopolitical ripples that reverberate throughout the region. Transnistria, Abkhazia and Novorussiya are places that few have ever heard about, but are now becoming critical locations for international relations because of they have an uncertain status that might shift soon. One place to add to that list is Nagorno Karabakh, a region that is ethnically Armenian but nestled within Azerbaijan. This article argues that now is an opportune moment to settle this issue that has been festering since the 90s, even if many feel that the international community is indifferent on the issue.
Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.
Transnistria (or the Trans-Dniester region) is one of my favorite examples to use in the classroom when discussing territories that function as a state, but is not internationally recognized. After the fall of the Soviet Union, ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, wanted to remain politically tied to Russia rather than part of an independent Moldova. Now that Crimea (also an area with many ethnic Russians that were politically separated from Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union) appears to be reuniting with Russia, many in Transnistria are hopeful that this could be a political opportunity for them to likewise rejoin with Russia. The Crimean situation has upset the status quo in the region.
If you haven't discovered CGP Grey yet, his YouTube channel is a veritable fountain of geographic tidbits. His distinctive style helps to contextualizes some of the more odd and complicated parts of the Earth (but some find the rush of facts disorienting). If you want another example, watch Bizarre Borders, part 2 which focuses on the complexities of the US/Canadian border.
World defense spending is expected to go up for the first time in five years, thanks to China and Russia.
The top 3 shouldn't come as any big surprises, but there might be a few farther on down the list though that might raise some eyebrows. There are specific geopolitical, historic, economic and cultural rationales for each of these countries that explain why they are on this list, and discussing those reasons is a conversation would having.
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
This is an in-depth, multi-media interactive that explores the political, economic and cultural implications of borders that are heavily fortified or militarized (I found this too late to be included in the "best posts of 2013" list, but this will be the first to include for 2014). Not all of these borders are political; in Brazil it explores the walls that separate different socioeconomic groups and in Northern Ireland they look at walls dividing religious groups. The interactive examines various borders including U.S./Mexico, Morocco, Syria, India/Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Greece/Turkey, Northern Ireland, North/South Korea and Spain. The overarching questions are these: why are we building new walls to divide us? What are the impacts of these barriers?
What makes a country a country? There isn't just one definition that is universally excepted as to what a country is; that make the first question even harder to answer. Exploring these terms though is incredibly geographic and highlights some of the lesser known but fascinating places that are mired in geopolitical quanderies.
If you haven't discovered CGP Grey yet, his YouTube channel is a veritable fountain of geographic tidbits. His distinctive style helps to contextualizes some of the more odd and complicated parts of the Earth (but some find the rush of facts disorienting).
In a busy city like New York, there are never enough places for parking and lanes for traffic. There is simply not enough space for the flow to be smooth and efficient. Cyclists that attempt to assert their right to the street are often times referred to as cyclist activists or hipsters as though their activism or cultural differences makes them synonymous with an extremism that is more easy to dismiss. Many hold views that privilege a motorists right to space in the city above that of a cyclist. I saw this tweet by a NYC cycling organization that referred to "activist drivers" who park in the bike lane as attempting to create a "guerrilla can lane." They used the terms and language used against them and superimposed it on the larger motorist community which sees itself as having a more natural right to all space in the city. This video embedded above is an excellent spoof and highlights the dangers of being a cyclist in a motorist-centric world.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner renews her claims for sovereignty of the Falklands at a UN Security Council meeting.
Are they the Falklands or Las Malvinas? It's not just a simple linguistic translation but also a statement of territoriality and geopolitical recognition. This article nicely summarizes the current situation. For a great teaching resource on the historical ebbs and flows in this longstanding dispute between Argentina and the UK, see the second slideshow in this series of AP Human Geography talks that was given at NCGE earlier this month.
"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."
This video and article briefly show the reasons behind the current tension between Spain, NATO allies and fellow EU members. The deeper, underlying issues though are all fundamentally rooted in the complex local political geography. As an exclave of the UK on a peninsula connected to the Spanish mainland that controls access to the Mediterranean Sea, there is naturally going to be friction over this unusual political configuration. Spain, in what the chief Minister of Gibraltar calls "sabre-rattling," is flexing its muscles and considering using their border and airspace as a political leverage. Spain is upset that Gibraltar has created an artificial reef in waters that their fishermen use. Spanish fisherman have recently condemned the escalating political rhetoic.
Questions to Ponder: Why are both parties politically and culturally invested in this piece of territory? What challenges are there for a small exclave when neighbors aren't friendly? How does Spanish and British suprantional connections impact this issue?