Meagan's Geoograp...
Find tag "culture"
169 views | +0 today
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Bolivia has become the first Latin American country to be McDonalds free since they closed their doors back in 2002. But what made them fall? It has been shown that Bolivians prefer their native food or to buy non traditional food from their own people selling them on the streets over the fast food. Its the reciprocity, they want to give back to each other as they can.  

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 30, 10:28 PM

" Whats Bolivia doing so right that McDonalds couldn't make it there?"

Food is not a commericial space here.

Morales, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in February, slammed U.S. fast-food chains, calling them a “great harm to humanity” and accusing them of trying to control food production globally.

“They impose their customs and their foods,” he said. “They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases.”

Even still, with one of the lightest carbon footprints in the world, cherished food practices and progressive food sovereignty laws on the books, Bolivia could still be a model to the rest of the world—the United States especially—for a healthier, more community-based food system.


What an insightful read. I never thought of considering our food a s a "commercial space" but that is essentially exactly what it is. Our food has been extremely commercialized. Products our pushed through advertisement continuously. Most of the foods in America are not even real food but food products, factory made. This is absolutely a role model country for how food should be consumed.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Feuding Over Food

Feuding Over Food | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
In the Caucasus, culinary nationalism is an extension of the region's long-simmering disputes.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

A nations food is often used to celebrate their national identity but it can also be used to highlight national rivalries. For example the Czechs reffer to their Slovak cousins as Halusky after one of their traditonal dishes. Culinary flashpoints can also arise when nations claim the same dishes as their own.  

Amanda McDonald Crowley's curator insight, January 28, 2013 10:19 AM
Seth Dixon, Ph.D.'s insight:

" "There is perhaps nothing more closely bound up with one's national identity than food. Specific local dishes are often seen as the embodiment of various cultures and many nations promote their food as a celebration of national identity. Sometimes, however, a country's cuisine can also be used to highlight national rivalries." 


This opening paragraph nicely shows how cultural traditions from a similar cultural hearth may have much in common.  However, since these groups are neighbors, the geopolitical relationship may be strained despite the cultural commonalities. "


Jamie Strickland's curator insight, January 29, 2013 2:36 PM

This is a great addition to include for my World Food Problems course this semester.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2014 3:30 PM

Azerbaijanis, Turks, and Armenian share a lot of the same foods. Instead of enjoying the similarities and cultural nationalism, they are disputing. Eat, drink and be  merry?

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Why leave the West for India?

Why leave the West for India? | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Rising numbers of people of Indian origin born in the West are moving to the country their parents left decades ago in search of opportunity and a cultural connection, reports the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan.


Since 2005, the Indian government has been encouraging people of Indian descent and former Indian nationals to return to India.  For many Indians living in the UK, there are more and better economic opportunities for them within India.   Migrants have many reasons for moving (including cultural factors), but the primary pull factor is most certainly India's ascendant importance in the global economy and rising IT industries. 


Tags: India, South Asia, migration, immigration, Europe, colonialism, unit 2 population. 

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

There is a rising number of Indian origin born in the west that are moving back to India. One reason would be India's economy is growing faster then the US and England's. India has many more opportunities for new wealth and it is attracting the young entrepreneurs as well. Another reason they are moving back is for cultural connection that they are not recieving where they are now. Many have said that they are looked at as different and not accepted and that is why they want to go back to India, so that they feel that acceptance. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 1, 2014 9:37 PM

As the article says, India is encouraging more people of Indian descent to return to India because of the opportunities that have become increasingly available within the country due to its  westernization . Aside from the corruption and poverty that are in India, the country has not seen any signs of these opportunities stopping.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, November 10, 2014 4:42 PM

With the rise in globalization and the IT industry, it is obvious that there is opportunity for success.  Many traveled to the US for economic opportunity, however many companies and IT departments are being outsourced to India, thus taking jobs away from the US.  

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 11, 11:16 AM

This phenomenon is a direct result of the rise of the Indian economy. Before the IT industry began to set up shop in India, returning to India was economically unfeasible. The development of the Indian economy has made India an attractive place to migrate to. If you are in the IT industry, there is more opportunity for you in India, than there is in the west. Culture is obviously another major pull for Indian immigrants. Throughout history populations have always sought to return to their native land. Especially first generation immigrants, who often never fully assimilate into the culture of their new nation.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India

McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
McDonald's plans to open the first in a series of all-vegetarian restaurants in India next year. But rest assured, in most locations around the world, meat will stay on the menu.


Many of the most successful global companies or brands use highly regional variations that are attuned to local cultural norms and customs.  The McAloo Tikki burger— which uses a spicy, fried potato-based patty — is the Indian McDonald's top seller.


Questions to ponder: What are the forces that lead towards an accelaration of human connectivity around the globe?  What are the postive impacts of this increased connectivity?  What are some negative impacts?  Are these impacts the same in all places?  Explain. 


Tags: Globalization, food, culture, unit 3 culture and SouthAsia.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In India 20-42% of the population doesnt eat meat, because of this McDonalds will be opening a vegetarian only resturant right near the Golden Temple which is a pilgrimage site sacred to Sikhs. This will be a prime location because the temple doesnt allow meat so this is a solution. It is amazing to see how big buisness like McDonalds will completely change in order to be able to thrive and succed in another country.

Lena Minassian's curator insight, April 9, 9:52 PM

When you typically think of a McDonald's, vegetarian is not what comes to mind. India plans on opening it's first vegetarian McDonald's since the majority of the population just simply does not even eat meat. There are already 271 of this restaurant in India already but they are looking for a new growth. Many Hindu's and Muslims don't eat pork, or cows because it is sacred to them. More chicken and vegetables will be served at this new restaurant and the older restaurants menus are 50% vegetarian. This is interesting to see because you do not think of fast food places being healthy at all. I think this is a great idea having different option for individuals who don't eat certain things. This is definitely going to be an attraction for not just people living in India but for tourists as well. It'll be a fun story to tell to say that you went to an all vegetarian McDonald's!

Jacob Conklin's curator insight, May 6, 3:50 PM

It is often said that food is one of the best identifiers of a culture. What better way to define America than McDonalds, right? However, fueled by globalization, McDonalds has moved to several different countries around the world, including India. For religious reasons, the traditional American menu wouldn't fit well in the Indian diet, as most hindu people wouldn't jump at the chance to eat a quarter pound of greasy cow. Globalization and a desire for economic profit has fueled a change in the McDonalds menu in India as well as other countries. In order to succeed in the global market, a comp any must be willing to change to appeal to a more diverse client base. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 10, 6:51 AM

McDonald's going vegetarian, would be a unimaginable concept in the United States. The United States like most western nations, is addicted to meat. The United States prefers hamburgers over salads. Our culture has been raised on that addiction. India is a far more vegetarian society. Twenty to forty two percent of the population of India classifies themselves as vegetarians. While not a majority, they are a sizeable minority within India. McDonalds is adapting its menu to fit with the culture of its consumers. For the Indian business model, this move makes sense. McDonalds presence in India speaks to increased global connectivity. The forces of globalization have brought the world closer together. There are few isolated areas of the world left to ponder. We are now living in an age of connectivity. Almost every major business is now located across the glove. The positive impacts of this trend are that we as westerners are exposed to diverse cultures and influences. The negative impacts are there are few unexplored regions of the world still remaining. The frontiers have all but disappeared.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Not all Olympic champions stand on the podium

Not all Olympic champions stand on the podium | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Tahmina Kohistani’s Olympics lasted exactly 14 and 42/100ths of a second.


This is a great article that highlights the Olympic successes that are underreported.  Due to geographic circumstances, simply competing is a remarkable accomplishment.  The women participants from Afghanistan and Iran are highlighted in this article. 

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The olympic games have become only about the podium winners in the media, if you dont win you dont matter. Tahmina Kohistani was the only female athlete from Afghanistan to compete in the games back in 2012. It is an amazing feat in itself that a female from Afghanistan even managed to get to the games never mind partacipate. She didnt win, she finished last, but it was her personal best time and the fastest she had ever run the 100 meter. But because she was not up on that podium none of that matter and many people did not even know she had run the race.  

lelapin's comment, August 11, 2012 1:27 PM
great article indeed. Thanks for turning the spotlight away from the podium, for a change.
Kendra King's curator insight, February 28, 11:12 AM

The coverage of the Olympics after opening ceremonies is heavily centered on the medal count and I don’t actually see a problem with that. Reason being is that the story, that supposedly never got coverage, was something I remember commentators speaking about when the Afghanistan team walked out on stage during the opening ceremonies thereby showing how “politics and social culture” are intertwined. Her journey qualified her as a “champion” right away and people saw that. Secondly, when there is a ridiculous amount of events and people to cover, one needs to pick and choose. Since the point of the Olympics is to win, it isn’t surprising that the most coverage is given on the metal winners. There are stories outside of Kohistani’s in which someone who didn’t make it to podium was covered (i.e. winter Olympics regarding Ryan Bradly or Jonny Wier). Typically when that happens though, the person is from our own country. What I think is wrong with the coverage is the huge focus on just our country. While the Olympics is a time where patriotism surges as we root for our own team, it is a symptom of a large problem. Americans are too America-centric in general. Just looking at the normal daily news cover in the states is a clear indication of the issue and I think that is why some of the more analytic pieces that show “politics and social culture” are generally under reported

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Meagan's Geoography 400 |

"BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war."

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Because Belize was once a British colony english in the countries first language. That is quickly changing however with the immigaration of mexicans into Belize and Spanish is quickly taking over the lanuage. The country of Belize is no stranger to immigrants and they welcome them, even already seperating land in preperation. 

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, April 16, 4:26 PM

I find it really interesting that so many immigrants are so welcomed by politicians, who actually pay immigration fees just to gain votes.  It's also intriguing that politicians "give away" land, and that so many people are moving away from cities, while the rest of Central America is moving into the cities. this is kind of an odd tactic, atleast from the view point of an America, because if an American politician did these things for immigrants, most Americans wold absolutely refuse to vote for them.  However the issue of immigration and locals being "too proud" to get governmental help, whereas immigrants will "stand in line", seems to fall right into place with how many view immigration in America, so it's relatable.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2:18 PM

It's interesting to compare and contrast the reaction of Belize's English-speaking population to an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants with that of the United States. I enjoyed reading that the welcoming of immigrants by the ruling political system has done much to lessen racial tensions, with the various ethnic groups scattered along the political spectrum. This contrasts sharping with the American political spectrum, where there is a clear racial divide between conservatives and liberals. Americans could learn a lot from Belize in this regard, although the transition has been far from smooth in the nation. Although Spanish is now taught in schools as a result of the reality of the immigration wave in the country, there is some push-back from English speaking groups. Many employees of service industries are losing their jobs to those who can offer bilingual services, as well as some other economic changes as a result of the influx of new immigrants. However, the degree of this tension is a lot lower there than it is in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes up in the future; it could very well serve as a helpful model for American politicians.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, October 4, 11:49 AM

You won't BELIZE this link.... get it.

I'm hilarious.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests

Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
The proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York caused outrage when it was announced two years ago. Now days after the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the facility opened last night to no opposition.


This is an intriguing swing based on the initial reaction a few years ago about this Islamic cultural center.  Why the fervor 2 years ago?  Why the silence now?  These are worthwhile questions to explore with our students. 

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In my opinion trying to stop the building of this was awful. American prides itself on being the land of the free and that includes freedom of religion regardless of what the horror that took place on 9/11. What was done on 9/11 can not be blamed on a whole population, race, or religion when it was the doing of one group. The rest of these innocent people who were are part of the United States of America were just as affected as the rest of us and it is good to see that this building was allowed to happen in peace.

Emma Lafleur's curator insight, February 3, 2013 11:02 PM

I wrote an essay two years ago, before Park51 opened, about the controversy surrounding it. Later, when I heard that it had finally opened, I was relieved. There were so many problems that the Islamic center faced because there was a lot of tension due to the center's proximity to Ground Zero. The Muslims need a place like this, especially close to Ground Zero to portray how it was terrorist groups that committed the terrible crimes and attacked the country and not the Islamic religion. In recent history, the US has had many problems with many Middle Eastern countries based on differences in beliefs, and the acceptance and tolerance of this cultural center portray how people can overcome these differences and not profile people based on religion, race, and ethnicity.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 6:49 PM

The outrage over the "Ground Zero Mosque" several years ago was incredibly senseless and entirely discriminatory. This mosque was not on Ground Zero ans was in fact several blocks away, the only reason this became an issue is that select news sites (Fox) built up the issue relying on many Americans' Islamophobia in order to help their ratings and further the political cause of a select few. This is shown to be true as now no one is concerned at all as the story is "old". The actions of our biased media is disgusting at times.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 6, 11:06 AM

This was a very interesting development.  Even more interesting was the reaction by many of the public.  On first glance, I guess it is understandable for one to say that it is "odd" developers decided to build a Muslim "mosque" within blocks of the 9/11 attacks.  Then after a little research you should be able to rationalize the situation and put it in perspective.


For beginners, it is not a "mosque" but a "community center" of sorts.  Secondly, I would ask critics whether they think a Christian church should be allowed in Oklahoma City, considering Terrorist Mcveigh of the 90's bombed buildings there.  Just because a certain "type" of individual commits a crime does not mean every person associated with that person's ethnicity or religion should be outcasted. One would think that this behavior would have been destroyed after the "mongolian" camps of California in the 1800's and the Japanese internment camps of the 1900's.  It is amazing that America being such a "civilized" country continues to react in such "savage" ways.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Meagan's Geoography 400 |

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).


Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

For the first time ever Saudi Arabian girls in private schools will be allowed to play sports, this comes at a time when they are trying to increase womens rights. The girls must still follow the  rules of Shariah, they must dress decent, and women teachers will be given priority in supervising the sports. Female athelites are still banned from registering for sports clubs or league competitions.however.   

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 4:24 PM

I was happy to see an article like this. It's about time that these women are being given equal opportunities. Although they have a long way to go this is a step in the right direction. Saudi Arabian girls are being allowed to have sport related activities within their private schools. This did surprise me a little just because Saudi women's rights are very limited but this is a simple improvement just to the general health and well being of these girls. Two females competed in the last years summer Olympics representing Saudi Arabia and their efforts were not shown on Saudi TV. These women competing has opened a few doors to allowing more than just men to engage in these activities. Usually sports were only for the elite women who could afford gym memberships or attend well known colleges. Even though women cannot compete internationally or sign up for clubs or leagues this is a step in the right direction.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 4:47 PM

This is an interesting article about slowly allowing women in Saudi Arabia to participate in sports. While playing soccer or swimming or running may not seem so important to us in the West, it is a big deal for Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws in the Middle East regarding women's rights, and so even a very partial and gradual allowance for women to engage in sports is a big step. It shows perhaps a slight softening of adherence to Shariah law, which would hopefully eventually allow women more freedom in the realms of education and work, as well as in everyday life. 


Too often are people quick to judge and characterize other cultures or religions by the most extreme examples. While it is true that laws in Saudi Arabia are extremely restrictive to women, progress such as this, though small, may well act as a stepping stone for increased freedoms for women. People outside of Saudi Arabia and Islamic culture must realize that this kind of progress does happen and is, in fact, happening right now. To simply dismiss Saudi culture as misogynistic and oppressive is to write the whole culture off. While progress is slow and less than ideal, we should look to Saudi Arabia's Islamic neighbors and see that many of them are not so oppressive to women. Allowing Saudi women to participate in sports, therefore, may be setting up the country to increase women's rights and join its relatively more liberal neighbors. This is certainly a sign of positive change, and one that should not be ignored. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 6:28 AM

I was quite shocked to hear of this story. There is no denying, that this is a step forward for the women of Saudi Arabia. However, women are far from free in this country. The activates still have to be in accordance with Islamic Law. The strict dress code also remains in effect for the girls. The Sports themselves, must be overseen by women teachers. I would not call this initiative the Saudi equivalent of title nine, but it is a step forward. Every little inroad, is a step towards more equality. The government of Saudi Arabia appears to be at least slightly altering its view of women. Hopefully this will be the first step in movement to gain Saudi women more rights. In generations to come, hopefully Saudi women will look back on this development as the start of a cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia.     

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Walmart bribed Mexico officals $52,000 to have the zoning maps redrawn before it was published in the newspapers. So when it was published it showed the allowed area drawen in for the building of the new walmart. The building created uproar from the people. They were upset from the congested traffic and created months of hunger strikes and sit ins that made Mexican media. 


James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 2014 1:17 PM

(Mexico topic 9)

It is troubling to discover how bribery still continues to promote special interests at the expense of others and their own interests. Though other articles I have commented on discuss the improving economy and politics of Mexico, this one clearly shows an area that needs much more attention.

   Despite this, all of the fuss (though justifiable) may be slightly over-exaggerated in my opinion. Just look at the photo above: the WalMart is at least somewhat set back from the pyramids, BUT the smoke and smog from other industries fills the air right up to and all around the pyramids themselves. I think this is just as much, if not more, of an injustice to the cultural site. While one can choose whether or not to enter a store, it is impossible not to breathe in the polluted air and have one's view limited while visiting such a place.

   Lastly, although bribery is certainly something I deeply frown upon, perhaps it is slightly less "wrong" than it would be in other countries like the US. Since Mexico's government and its departments have a reputation (at least from what I've heard) of being corrupted, perhaps the only way to build a store is to offer a bribe. It would be interesting to see if this was the case with other store locations throughout Mexico.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 2, 8:50 PM

Clearly it is horrible what Walmart did, but what about everyone else in this scenario? Walmart was able to damage public history and jeopardize the traffic safety of Mexico because they figured out the going price for those concepts was: a couple mayors, some INAH official, and an Urban Operations official (see article for in-depth explanations of how each was bought off). All of whom bypassed their duty to the public. See I am not surprised by the corporation’s actions. The corporation is acting for its own self-interest like many corporations have historically done. In fact, compared to the East India Company of 1800 (which had its own standing army) this is tame (see below article). I would prefer companies not to operate as such, however a company will act in such a manner so long as it is permitted. Deterring such actions falls on the fault of the officials who were so easily bought off.


Yet, whose job is it to police a corporation? At one point, the article mentioned that when the Mexican investigation found nothing wrong with Walmart they, “chided protesters for failing to present any specific proof.” I’m sorry, but it isn’t the protesters job to go out and find proof. That is the job of an investigator, whom I might add didn’t do a good job given the evidence the New York Times was able to amass. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for Mexico, they probably aren’t that apt at forensic banking because they are a largely agrarian society who only relatively recently is being introduced to the corporate world. Looks like there is a whole new specialty that Mexico will need to learn soon due to globalization. I say Mexico needs to learn this also because it is mainly their job to monitor their people. I understand that this is an American company so on some level they will have to monitor their people. However, majority of the people involved in this were in Mexico. Thus, Mexico will need to deal with their side of justice and also start developing environmentally usefully laws under the new corporate rule (i.e. ones that protect historical artifacts even when the “proper” licenses have been secured.)


I am not looking to just pick on Mexico’s corporation problems either because we all know the United States has their fair share of corporate issues. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Walmart could have bought off people in the United States too. Think of all the tainted deals that occurred in the subprime mortgage crisis. We aren’t even sure because no one actually went after them! At least in the case of Walmart there is an investigation going on again. It will be interesting to see what the end result is though. Most times, it isn’t near what a company should get. In the United States some are literally able to get away with murder. Just look at GM's latest court dealings. I hope Mexico can do a better job than the United States when it comes to handling corporate investigations in the future.  



Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2:32 PM

This article shows the "forced globalization" of Mexico.  I thought it was interesting how Walmart de Mexico would use such cutthroat means to build a "intermediate sized store".  Yet the Walmart officials in Mexico realized that being not too far from a major tourist attraction would help business.  There were many groups who tried to stop it from happening, but they could not stop the store from being built.  This article shows how corporate Globalization is ruthless, and it doesn't care about disobeying laws.  This article also shows that if a company is big enough, it can, in effect do whatever it pleases.  In the United States on the other hand, this type of bribery could never have happened. 

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt

Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Protesters upset over an American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Libya, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.


The idea of anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East and Northa Africa on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 was initially quite shocking. As always, a greater understanding of the cultural context and timing helps explain (not necessarily justify) the situation. The video produced by "Sam Bacile" that has sparked the controversy is truly reprehensible and as cultural insensitive as it gets. Still, the protests, by blindly lashing out at the United States embassy, only exacerbate the cultural problems. 

UPDATE: This public gathering of Libyan's in Benghazi to apologize for the death of Chris Stevens is quite poignant.  


Questions to Ponder: How does one single YouTube video impact geopolitics?  Culturally speaking, what makes this such a powerfully charged issue?  Will this issue become fodder for the election? 


Tags: MiddleEast, political, culture, Islam, religion.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Protestors were upset over an American made video denouncing Islam and attacked the United States Consulate in Libya and demonstrators stromed over walls of the United States Embassy in Cario. The video was insensitive and sparked anger throughout many. With the way the internet reaches and how social media works many more people in far reach areas are able to view these videos and create problems like this.

Don Brown Jr's comment, September 18, 2012 6:33 PM

This video effects geopolitics in the region in a number of ways as the US may find itself bearing the brunt of the Islamic world reaction from this video since the producer was a American. The fact that Jewish donors provided funds for the film will likely further strain relations between Israel, the United States and the Islamic countries. Likewise in the upcoming 2012 election how both parties choose to address this while trying to appeal to “Christian” voters will add another layer of complexity to this issue.
This video is a clear example of just how interconnected the world we live in today really is and how a single actions can affect many others creating unforeseen consequences. Hopefully the lesson that can be learned from the “Innocence of Islam” U-Tube trailer is that people need to be more cultural sensitive when it comes to displaying public information that can be easy diffused around the world. The largely negative reaction from the global Muslim community has shown us that we cannot afford to be ignorant or cultural incentive to others in an increasing globalized and connected world. However another lesson that both the US, Libya, Egypt and the world at large should take note of is that nations should not become the focal point of acts of violence due to the actions of a few individual whether it is a terrorist or Sam Bacile. We in the West need to take into account that in the Muslim world there isn’t really a separation between church and state like there is in the here so religious matters affect every aspect of society. We should also take into mind that this was also the case in Europe not to many centuries ago, remember the Middle Ages and the inquisition.
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 10:31 AM

On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th in the United States, anti-U.S. protestors attacked Benghazi due to their anger toward an American-made YouTube video that denounced Islam.  It is amazing to see the impact that one single Internet creation can have.  It shows the power that particular media and social outlets such as YouTube and Facebook have.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2:18 PM

I remember reading about this, and I had hoped at the time that tensions between the US and much of the Islamic world might have improved by now. However, that has sadly not been the case; violence in Iraq and Syria have continued to breed bad blood between the West and North Africa. The attack in Benghazi helped to give conservative groups the necessary ammunition to continue their attacks on Islam and certainly did not help public perception of the faith, breeding further hatred within our own country. Although many Libyans congregated to apologize for the violence, the region has not stabilized and anti-US sentiments are still rampant in pockets, much like they are throughout the region. The legacy of this attack has had serious ramifications for US-Muslim relations, and I can only hope that the situation does indeed change in the next 3 years, much like I had hoped they would within the previous 3.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple

Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple | Meagan's Geoography 400 |

Below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of bones dating to the 1480s.


In the 1970s, construction workers unearthed numerous archaeological finds as the subway was being constructed.  The Mexican government decided to clear the several block of old colonial buildings to reveal the Templo Mayor, the ancient Aztec religious center.  Not coincidentally, the Spaniards built their religious center in the same place.  During the colonial era, the indigenous residents who spoke Spanish in Mexico City still referred to this portion of the city as la pirámide.  Today more finds such as this one are continuing to help us piece together the past of this immensely rich, multi-layered place filled with symbolic value. 


Tags: Mexico, LatinAmerica, historical, images, National Geographic, colonialism, place and culture.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This is so interesting! When you think about Mexico today we often think only about the drugs and wars and mass poverty that has consumed much of it. To think abou the true history of Meixco from the Aztecs that we are still unearthing today and learning from is amazing. Things like this helps us learn so much more about the past and tie things together. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 26, 2014 10:00 PM

While the Aztec' civilization has been gone for a very long time, there are still traces of it resurfacing today. With the uncovering of the bones, it shows that the Aztec temple was very much in the heart of Mexico City has still has more secrets to uncover

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2:39 PM

This article shows just how varied the cultural landscape of Mexico is.  Unlike the Native populations in the US, the Aztecs had a large, flourishing civilization that was described by the first conquistadors "to match the glory of any major city in Europe."  When the Spanish eventually conquered the Aztec Civilization, they built right on top of the ruins of the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.  The way that Mexico City is layered right on top of the old Aztec city, means that many human remains and ancient buildings are buried right below the modern city.  This is what makes Mexico City different than any city in the United States or Canada, the cities in these two countries were not built over massive cities that pre-dated them.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 11, 10:07 PM

This seems to be quite a large sacrifice that was discovered. And while it may be just that, it seems more like a mass execution, possibly performed by the Spanish when they battled with the Aztecs and put at the foot near the Aztec temple to send a message that their God could not save them.  If it is a sacrifice, its a pretty large one.

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid

Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
January and February are sweet times for most Chinese — they enjoy family reunions during the spring festival, which this year fell on January 23, and they celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is well-liked in China.


Gender roles in cultural norms change from country to country.  What also needs to be understood is how the demographic situation of a given country influences these patterns. 

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

It is hard for Chinese women to attract men once they reach a certain age in Beijing it was reported in 2009 that there was 800,000 women 27 and unmarried and the number was rising. Many mothers of these women even argue with them or try to set them up with men they dont like. In the US women are getting married older and older and it is viewed as socially acceptable mainly because they are focusing on their carrers and making sure they are settled first. 

Marissa Roy's curator insight, December 5, 2013 1:32 PM

It is interesting to see this as in American culture, marrying in your 20s is not a necessity anymore, it's almost unexpected. With so many men to choose from, these girls have time to find a man. The culture is going to shift as these ladies get married later in life.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 14, 2014 9:13 PM

Being 27 years old and unmarried in China considers you to be an old maid? I had to do a double take when I saw this. In the United States, 27 years old is around the average age a couple decides to get married. In China, Valentine's day is a really well liked holiday. Therefore, you would think that there would be excessive amounts of marriages, especially around this time. However, we know about the one child policy put into place at China. I can imagine that this might play a role because of the gender imbalances. As horrible as this sounds, in China, they call the women who are thirty and single "leftovers". During the season of the Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, the "leftovers" just get questioned about their relationship status or go to matchmaking parties. However, the "leftovers" are said to have three good things; good career, good education and good looks. This is interesting because if they had all these good qualities, why would they still be single at 30 years old? As the article continues, we talk about true love and believe it or not, some "leftovers" still believe in true love and that they may experience that one day.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:14 PM

The fact that success relatively young women are seen as leftovers in China is a completely foreign idea to me.  n the United States we are seeing that more and more women are marrying later in life after they have received an education, higher education and have been established in a career.  Emily Liang is an extremely successful women who should be proud of her accomplishments, yet has to declare herself as "divorced" in order for men to think something isn't "wrong" with her.  It is extremely obvious that the role and view of women in China is significantly distorted. 

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

How did Pakistan get it's name?

How did Pakistan get it's name? | Meagan's Geoography 400 |

"The name of the country Pakistan has a fascinating history - it is essentially an acronym!  Prior to 1947, the country now known as Pakistan was a British colony. In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to the region under a new name, Pakistan. The name had been developed by a group of students at Cambridge University who issued a pamphlet in 1933 called Now or Never."


In a country with such great ethnic divisions, a common religion is a powerful nationalizing force.  As the capital city of Islamabad's toponym powerfully states (the house or abode of Islam), religion remains an important element of national identity for Pakistanis.   

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to this region and named it Pakistan. The name was created by a group of students at Cambrige University and used the names of their homelands. Punjab, Afghania  Kashmir, Iran ,Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan is an acronym! 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:28 AM

This article is very interesting as it explains the origin of the name Pakistan. Like many people I assumed that the name had to do with some old ethnic group but in reality its something of an acronym. Interestingly enough Pakistan is incredibly diverse and really only held together by the common Islamic religion. Names which are acronyms are more common place in government plans or cheesy infomercial products rather than the names of countries.     

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 28, 3:15 PM

Pakistan is simply abbreviated from it's nations or nations that border Pakistan. P stands for Punjab, A stands for Afghania, K stands for Kashmir, I stands for Iran, S stands for Singh, T stands for Tukharistan, A stands for Afghanistan. However, there is no "N." Instead we classified the last letter as Balochistan but because "stan" is the Persian pronunciation for "country." Pakistan decided to abbreviate "N" as a silent so they can successfully abbreviate "Pakistan" instead of "Pakista."

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, November 9, 3:03 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, primarily for how ridiculous it is. Most of us figured there was some decent reason (like the neighboring 'Stan's) for why  and how Pakistan got its name. Nope, there really wasn't any good reason to name it Pakistan, it is an acronym. One that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.