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Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent

Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent | Social Studies | Scoop.it
She's the second consecutive New York beauty queen to take the Miss America title, but she's the first Indian-American to wear the national crown.

Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 16, 2013 1:17 PM

Quoting directly from the article, "Racists took to Twitter to lambaste the pageant for picking an Indian-American."  This got me the thinking about the topic from multiple perspectives.  First of all, the United States is becoming increasingly diverse as the white population's fertility rate is slowing and this is seen as emblematic of that shift.  But does disagreeing with the pageant's evaluation of beauty make all of the critics racists?  Certainly not; although I'm sure their was a strong racist undercurrent to the much of the criticism, the pageant seeks to quantitatively measure and rank beauty.  The idea of beauty is culturally constructed and varies based on the cultural milleu of the individual; there is perhaps nothing more subjective in the world, and the criteria for beauty has changed over time, and certainly various across space as many culture value different attributes.  Why is anyone arguing about the bias in the selection process of Miss America when the process is inherently subjective and based on the cultural preferences of the judges?  Maybe the real question is this: why is anyone evaluating the worth and importance of women in society based on evening gown poise and swimsuit appearance?              

Linda Alexander's comment, September 16, 2013 11:55 PM
I agree with your overall assessment, Seth, but do feel the twitter feed is worthy of further examination. I also noted that this winner, for a change, is advocating for girls in the STEM fields and appears to be quite different from the norm. She looks different, thinks different and acts different. Is that another reason for the unsettling discomfort that sparked the racists remarks? Yes, but sorry, but the world really is changing folks, so deal with it. Anyhow, it's a step in the right direction when beauty is not defined by age-old standards, thinking and behavior. However, at the end of the day, I don't particularly like beauty contests either and didn't watch this one....
Alison Antonelli's curator insight, September 25, 2013 7:32 PM

I think this is really cool. That is something to be extremely proud of, to be the first Indian-American to win Miss America.

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Latinos 'Not Just A Chapter In US History' - NPR

Latinos 'Not Just A Chapter In US History' - NPR | Social Studies | Scoop.it
Latinos 'Not Just A Chapter In US History'
NPR
Playlist; Download. The new PBS series Latino Americans takes a look at the 500 year history of Hispanics in North America, and how it's shaped their identities today.
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Jared Diamond: Why societies collapse

This talk (based on his controversial book, Collapse) explores the economic and environmental causes behind why a society that is overextended might collapse or recede from a golden age. Jared Diamond uses multiple historical examples such as classical Mayan civilization and Easter Island as well as modern societies such as Rwanda and Haiti, to argue that unsustainable management of the environmental resources might lead to short-term economic successes, but the environmental degradation may threaten the long-term economic viability of the economic system. This talk ties agricultural patterns, economic practices and political policies that can strengthen or weaken a society and the book looks to the past to assess the challenges of the present and future. This TED talk brings geographic concepts and spatial thinking to many of contemporary global issues.


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The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart

The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart | Social Studies | Scoop.it

"What could be simpler than the Middle East? A well-known Egyptian blogger who writes under the pseudonym The Big Pharaoh put together this chart laying out the region’s rivalries and alliances. He’s kindly granted me permission to post it, so that Americans might better understand the region. The joke is that it’s not a joke; this is actually pretty accurate."


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BandKids13-14's comment, August 28, 2013 9:50 AM
Did anyone else notice that both Al Qaeda and the U.S. are FOR syria rebels, and against Assad?
Avonna Swartz's curator insight, August 30, 2013 11:13 AM

Interesting and (as it says) terrifying.

Todd Parsons's curator insight, September 2, 2013 10:06 AM

So we should have peace in the Middle East in maybe 7.59 billion years when the sun goes all red giant and we all burn up anyway. However, in the meantime...check out this cool chart of friends and foes. It all makes sense now, yah?

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Guns, Germs & Steel

Guns, Germs & Steel | Social Studies | Scoop.it

This video (like the book with the same title) explores the course of human history to find the geographic factors that can help to explain the global inequalities between societies. Jared Diamond’s answer lies in the military strength (guns), superior pathogens (germs) and industrial production (steel) that agricultural societies were able to develop as the critical advantages over hunter/gatherer societies. The raw materials at the disposal of the societies inhabiting particular environments partially explain the economic possibilities before them. Diamond hypothesizes that the orientations of the continents play a critical role in the relative advantages among agricultural societies (East-West orientations allow for greater diffusion of agricultural technologies than North-South orientations since the growing seasons and ecology are more compatible), giving Eurasia an advantage over Africa and the Americas. The Fertile Crescent had native plant and animal species ideal for domestication, which then diffused to Europe. Societies that have more developed animal husbandry develop a resistance to more powerful germs. Consequently, when two societies come in contact those with the best resistance to the worse diseases are more successful. Similarly, industrial production depends on an agricultural surplus since specialization requires that some workers not needing to produce their own food to work on technological innovations. Societies that had agricultural advantages were able to invest in technologies (primarily steel) that would enhance their advantages over other societies, as seen during colonization. Societies that had the best environments had access to large plant eating mammals suitable for domestication and the most productive grains would be poised to produce more dangerous guns, germs and steel—the key resources for economic dominion resulting in global inequalities.


Diamond’s critics argue that the ‘geography hypothesis’ is environmental determinism that does not properly value human choices into the equation. Still, the core of this book is the search for connections between the themes of Geography with a spatial framework and the video is available via Netflix, public libraries and many other outlets.


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Emily Bian's curator insight, October 3, 2014 5:16 PM

I found this just browsing the suggestions, and I was like "Whoa! We learned this in class!" So I thought that it was really neat. 

Diamond's theory is an example of environmental determinism, because he claimed that the environment and where people lived affected the people, and that's why not everybody is equal. 

I personally agree with his theory, because it makes a lot of sense when I watched the movie/episodes.

             I believe in enviromental determinism but not to the extreme level, for example if someone is from a hot place they are lazy. I believe that people have choices and can pave their own way but the enviroment can limit them. This would for sure help future aphug students because it introduces human geography in the world history context. 

 

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A Review of Jared Diamond's "The World Until Yesterday"

A Review of Jared Diamond's "The World Until Yesterday" | Social Studies | Scoop.it
Should we look to traditional societies to help us tweak our lives? Wade Davis takes issue with the whole idea

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 18, 2013 12:29 PM

Jared Diamond is famous for his work in writing Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Collapse.  His latest work, The World Until Yesterday, he encourages modern readers to examine the traditional societies for insights on how to improve the human condition.  In this book review by Wade Davis, he critiques this approach and suggests that we should see indigenous societies as reminders that our modern lifestyle is not the only way.


Tags: book reviews, folk cultures, indigenous.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 2015 9:21 PM

As a member of the Western world where technology and modernity are at the forefront of the way we live, the author of the article made a refreshing point. I quote, “The other peoples of the world are not failed attempts at modernity, let alone failed attempts to be us.” This quote was incredibly interesting because far too often our society views others against our standards. Yet, as the author points out, who is really to say this is the correct way of living? I personally don’t have an answer, but I do admire the work of Boas mentioned in this article as he actually tried to live within a culture and judge it without prior “prejudice.” Yet, most people aren’t about to live in another society just to better understand them. Furthermore, with our world becoming increasingly interconnected more and more information becomes disseminated and more technology and modernity occur. So those who don’t partake are seen as alien. Now as Diamond’s newest book tried to show, different isn’t bad. To Diamond, some aspects of more traditional indigenous people are actually better than ours. Unlike the author, I don’t find this offensive and maybe I don’t because I am taking into account the forces of globalization. The author, was offensive because Diamond should have realized that living another way is the point. Not that blending the two should even be considered. Yet, in a world where everyone is becoming so interconnected, I don’t think purely isolated cultures can stand. Furthermore, nor do I think it is bad to pull the good from one culture and apply it to another. What I find more disturbing is the fact that Diamond isn’t truly an expert on any region outside of Guinie. So, honestly what authority does he have to be advising on those matters? Yet again we see the good and bad of globalization, one doesn’t have to move outside of ones out area to obtain second hand information (enough to write a book). Yet, one can at least look at the information to see that other cultures do have value and can stand up for those good aspects (even if it may be a superficial understand) as it does give food for thought. In this instance, I think what Diamond did was good because it reminds the people who overlook tradition to pause and see there is good.