Geography Education
2.0M views | +136 today
Follow
Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. 'Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan's integration into the global educational and economic environment,' said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

more...
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, October 29, 2018 3:39 PM
In this article it is explained how Kazakhstan is to switch from a Cyrillic alphabet to a Latin one. Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Narzarbeyeu signed a decree stating the switch of the country's alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin. Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan have already switched theirs. Kazakh was written in Arabic in the 1920's until it was switched to Latin. In the 1940's the Latin alphabet was replaced with a Cyrillic one. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 31, 2018 3:29 AM
The culture of Kazakhstan has had so many different regions influencing it over the years it has affected and changed its language, writing, and culture overall. The originally wrote in san script (Arabic influence) then in Cryillic(in influence from Eastern Europeans south Eastern Europeans  Now to Latin (under western cultural influence). 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 3:42 PM
Kazakhstan's President has signed a decree to switch the official alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin. They are just one of several ex-soviet nations who has switched to the Latin alphabet. It will be extremely hard to do and will take a lot of time, but it is not the first time Kazakh has been changed. Originally it was written in Arabic, switches to Latin in 1920 and in 1940 replaced by the Cyrillic one. Think about why they want to change to a Latin Alphabet. Are they attempting to move away from Russia's sphere of influence to become more involved with the west?
 
Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

Geography textbook changed after Crimea row

Geography textbook changed after Crimea row | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A geography textbook that prompted a complaint from the Ukrainian embassy for showing Crimea as part of Russia is changed.
Seth Dixon's insight:

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  

 

Tags: UkraineRussia, geopoliticspolitical, Kazakhstan.

more...
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 15, 2018 7:00 PM
This image shows how inaccurate textbooks can be. Winston Churchill said "History is written by the victors" this quote shows that the history that is told in textbooks is not always the most accurate. This case with Crimea shows that the textbook is inaccurate which in this case the textbook company acknowledged and corrected but errors in textbooks so often go unfixed, and if they do get fixed, many children are still learning from the old version of the textbook depending on which school district they are in.  
Douglas Vance's curator insight, March 20, 2018 3:57 PM
This article shows how describing international events like territorial changes can cause significant international backlash should the event in question be described in ways that do not respect the views of the bereaved party. In this case, the textbook failed to provide sufficient context that highlighted the Ukrainian position that the territory was illegally seized by Russia. This show that how an issue is described can shed significant light on which side that person appears to be taking. 
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 22, 2018 3:19 PM
(Russia) The Oxford University Press was forced to revise a textbook because of their description of Crimea. The original edition had an illustration showing Crimea in a different color than Ukraine, explaining that Crimea is owned by Ukraine but voted to become part of Russia. Readers believed this did not reflect the history of Crimea's annexation, when pro-Russian Crimeans took over the peninsula and held an illegal referendum. The new edition spends more time discussing the annexation and explains that Crimea legally belongs to Ukraine but is under Russian control.
Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.

The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.

The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."


Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.

more...
Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 3:24 PM

It is amazing what irrigation can produce.  The border between China and Kazakhstan is a perfect picture of land with irrigation and one without supplied water.  Eastern Kasakhstan has farmland but it is only subsidized by natural rainfall whereas on the greener Chinese side of the border it is supplemented with water by the farmers.  Great picture!

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 5:00 PM

Seeing such a striking difference between two countries that are so close together is strange and thought-provoking. Knowing a little bit about the two countries can make a world of difference, though. In this case, we have China and Kazakhstan, two countries located in East/Central Asia. Kazakhstan borders China to the west, along the northern part of its western border. Much of China's inland land use is devoted to agriculture, as the majority of its industry is located near its coast. This is evident by the amount of green space seen in the satellite image above. With well over a billion people to feed, China needs to make use of as much of its arable land as possible. Kazakhstan, on the other hand is a much smaller country with much less land devoted to agriculture. Its farmland is mostly large and industrial, as a result of Soviet-era farming and is rain-fed rather than irrigated, like China's.

 

Knowing the history as well as the economic strengths of a country can therefore be useful in interpreting satellite images such as the one in this article. A lack of knowledge about China and Kazakhstan's economy and history may lead to an assumption that the Chinese are just better farmers than the Kazakhs. This is of course not necessarily true, but what is true is that China has a much larger and more immediate need for agriculture than does Kazakhstan and so devotes more of its land, time, and energy to farming. Likewise, it shouldn't be assumed that Kazakhstan has no need for agriculture at all. Instead, its history has largely influenced its economic strengths and needs, and the result is a country that looks very different from China. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 5:41 PM

It's crazy to see how much human influences can reshape the landscape, or how things we tend to think of in more abstract terms- like national boundaries- can be very physical in nature. I liked reading about the differing agricultural approaches the two nations take, and being able to see the physical manifestations of those two different approaches so obviously. It's impressive to think that China is able to support such a massive population- one in every 5 people alive on the planet is Chinese- with so little land, and the consequences are plain to see in the image above. Increased irrigation efforts leads to the unnaturally bright green patches in the middle of a relatively dry area, serving as a symbol of man's attempts to bind mother nature to his will. Although not always successful, such attempts appear to be working well here. In contrast, Kazakhstan's population demands vary wildly from that of China's, and its solution for feeding its people can therefore take a more natural, backroads approach, with food production concentrated in a few areas. I wonder what other international borders can be seen so neatly with the naked eye.

Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn


Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
more...
Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 2014 2:03 PM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:57 PM

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 7:43 PM

This article is interesting because it shows that as Russia could potentially gain land, it could also lose parts of the country as well.  I thought the Brooklyn Beach point was funny due to Putin's argument that wherever Russians live should be Russia (Crimea).  I don't think the United States would ever let this happen though, even if it is just a single part of NY, the US would never let Russia back onto the North American Continent after buying Alaska from them back in the 1800s.  I also thought it was an intriguing point to state that China could try to make a move at getting Siberia from Russia.  I personally don't think that Russia would willingly give up a resource rich region of its nation to China easily, and if China wanted to buy the region, I'd bet Putin would make them pay a pretty penny for the area.  The fact that Russia is such a varied nation, especially in the south of the nation, is not surprising due to winning the land from the Ottomans, and the best thing Russia could do, in the case of Chechnya would be to let them go.  This way the country could achieve a lasting peace, rather than always fighting campaigns against the region, which as a result, will make the people hate the Russian government even more.  However, I do not think Putin will allow his country to decrease in size, Putin only wants increases.

Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse | Geography Education | Scoop.it
It's been 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. How has religious freedom fared in this part of the world?
Seth Dixon's insight:

The collapse of the former Soviet Union was one of the biggest political events of the 20th century with long-reaching cultural ramifications.  The generations of state-sponsored atheism followed by a variety of new political policies has meant that religious freedoms vary greatly in the regions that were once a part of the USSR.  This article gives a good breakdown of all the former SSR’s and the state of religious freedom today in each of them.    

 

Tags: religionChristianityIslam, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, AzerbaijanGeorgia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan.      

more...
David Stiger's curator insight, October 22, 2018 3:20 PM
For post-Soviet countries, power and fear might be freedom's greatest challenges. On one hand, there is a dominant religious institution -  Eastern Orthodox Christianity - seeking to grow its influence and power. This might be a goal for a religion that is not popular elsewhere around the world (many Americans only know of Protestants and Roman Catholics, completely oblivious to the third major branch). They may see their geographic location as especially important - serving as a home-base of spiritual operations to launch evangelical missions, build coalitions, and influence national policies that shape society in a way their particular brand of Christianity approves of. On the other hand is fear of extremist groups which have resorted to terrorism to achieve their objectives. Countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan have all placed restrictions on minority faiths, such as Muslims and Protestants, requiring these groups to register with the state. Geographically, the Islamic world, which is in a constant state of turmoil, lies directly south of the post-Soviet Union, making Islam a key focus as immigrants and ideas easily flow into the region. This need for state approval is a form of control which clearly hampers independence and freedom of expression.  The irony in all of this is that fear of extremism leads to more extreme measures of security. This toxic process will only sow discord, distrust, and animosity between sub-populations leading to civil unrest.  




Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 10:49 PM
It is not surprising to me as a history major that they is still suppression of religious freedom in many former soviet territories. The more westernized countries have less of an issue than the countries farther from the west. This is partially due to them wanting to join Nato which requires religious freedom for joining. The more Islamic countries to the south seem to have the most difficulties with religious freedoms (as do a majority of Islamic nations). Russia would also have some problems from years of atheism being forced by the communist party. Somehow the Eastern Orthodox religion was able to hold on through out it all, but they seem to be the only;y religion openly accepted in Russia.  
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 2:45 PM
After years and years of suppression under the Atheistic USSR, many would not be unreasonable to have believed that when the USSR fell they would be able to practice their religion however they would like. Unfortunately, nothing changes in a day and when fear is a tactic learned from their former occupiers. Many countries still use the growing terrorism in the region to suppress their own citizen's rights to religious freedom.  Countries such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are of great concern where Religious minorities, mainly Muslims, are rounded up and registered, monitored during religious practices or severely restricted. It is not a surprise that this is happening is former-USSR countries, but you must understand it takes time for deeply rooted behaviors to change. 
 
Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

The Strategic Importance of the Caspian Sea

"Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Eugene Chausovsky examines the Caspian Sea's large energy reserves and its conflicting maritime boundaries."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world's largest lake went from having just two countries on its shores to five. Dividing the maritime borders has been especially difficult since the Caspian Sea has rich energy reserves and this lake will remain a place of strategic interest for many regional powers.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom.    


Tags: borders, political, geopolitics, Central Asia, energy, resources, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russiaeconomic, water.

more...
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 7:37 PM
This video discusses the Caspian Sea and it’s importance to the countries that surround it. The body of water is significant because of it energy resources that are underneath and surrounding it. However many of these reserves remain untouched because of conflict with the surrounding countries even though discussions about how to disperse the land have been discussed for 20+ years
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 29, 2018 2:18 AM
The Caspian Sea in landlocked with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. The Seas strategic importance lies with its large energy resources because it contains large volumes of oil and natural gas reserves. It is estimated that the Caspian contains 48 billions barrels of oil. Many of the oil reserves have not been tapped because there are disputes among the five countries surrounding the sea. They do not know where to mark the maritime borders and how to split up the energy resources. Negotiations to establish maritime borders have been under way for nearly two decades. They have not agreed on any proposals that accommodate all five states. I believe that there has not been an agreement because all five states probably want the most they can get and ae reluctant to give up anything less than what they believe they deserve.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 11:53 PM
The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water that is surrounded by five different countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Its importance can be linked to its natural resources. With an abundance of oil and possibly natural gas all countries have had disputes over their respective maritime borders. These disputes occur as many of the oil reserves are untapped and thus a great source of economic potential. No proposals have been accepted by all five states and with other interests such as Europe looking to trade it will likely take a while to be settled.
 
Scooped by Seth Dixon
Scoop.it!

Alluvial Fans

Alluvial Fans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
When streams emerge from mountains, they often spread out and deposit sediment in a distinctive pattern known as an alluvial fan.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In dry areas of interior drainage (such as Central Asia and the Great Basin in the U.S.), the human settlements are often clustered along the foothills of the mountains near landforms called alluvial fans.  Take time to analyze this image (and this one as well); in alluvial fans and the agricultural patterns that people create on them, we can see some striking geometric and spatial configurations that show how human settlements are highly dependent of the physical environment.   


Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, Kazakhstan, Central Asialandscape.

more...
Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:29 PM

these are the fascinating geographic anomalies. its amazing the civilizations that rise up on earth, but are totally alien to us, even in the age of instant communication.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 5:02 PM

An interesting little piece of Kazakhstan geography here. I find it fascinating that not only are these unique to deserts due to low vegetation but that they become perfect for agriculture (an irony of sorts I suppose). I also rather enjoy how the agricultural areas are spread out like a fan like the water runoff from the mountain. One key feature I didn't notice until I read it was the railroad that goes right through the fields to reach the town on the outskirts of the Alluvial fan. I am particularly curious to how many areas actually use this to make the desert a hospitable place for habitation (since it is usually a bad idea due to lack of water and food). It would also have been more interesting if the culture of the people who inhabit these places was discussed since it would likely be different in other places since they are only relying on 1 main water source. Geographically and historically I can imagine that places like this would have also been key strategic locations especially when traversing the arid areas.

brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 8:41 PM
Alluvial fans are an example of the type of physical geographies that can occurs in places with mountains and desserts. They also help with agriculture as they typically end up being flat lands and there is plenty of groundwater for irrigation. This in turn also helps the economy of the areas who use alluvial fans to their advantage. 
Rescooped by Seth Dixon from Regional Geography
Scoop.it!

Will There Be a Central Asian Spring?

Will There Be a Central Asian Spring? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Kazakhstan may not be ripe for revolution, but the West is making the same mistakes it made in the Arab world.


Via Amarji, Seth Dixon
more...
Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 6:36 AM
It is sad to see Western nations ignoring Kazakhstan's drift into dictatorship as it ignores all democratic ways of governance. Since the current leader in charge is friendly with the west, powers like NATO do little to intervene. The hypocrisy behind it is that we did and said much more in Syria and Egypt where similar events took place.
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 12, 2012 4:44 AM

It bothers me that this is being over looked by our government.  If they are going to stand up and back the resurgance in Syria and Egypt then why are we not doing it here to?  All it would take would take is a backing from our government, but due to the ties that the have with the West, we are not stepping in.  This shows complete hypocrisy on our part. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:36 PM

I couldn't view this article for some reason. It wanted me to subscribe to something.