Human Geography
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Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name.

Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name. | Human Geography |
The Independent's concerns over Hindu nationalism led to a change in policy.


The city has been officially known as Mumbai since 1995 when it was renamed by the far-right regional party Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently holds national office in India. Shiv Sena advocates the use of the Marathi language, which is dominant in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital. Marathi speakers have long referred to the city as Mumbai, after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city's patron deity.

Shiv Sena had argued that the previous name, Bombay, was an unwanted relic of British colonial rule in India. That name is believed to be an Anglicized version of the city's name from when it was occupied by the Portuguese — "Bom Bahia," which means "good bay." Both Bombay and Mumbai are now used interchangeably by locals during casual conversation.


Tags: culture, India, South Asia, colonialism, place, regions, language, toponyms.

Via Seth Dixon
Matt Manish's curator insight, March 29, 7:52 PM
Personally, I find it very silly that a single newspaper in England is taking on the role of bringing Mumbai back to its original colony name. If Mumbai is the official name of the city then news being reported about that city should be in reference to Mumbai, not Bombay. The goal of this newspaper should be to educate its readers about the stories it is reporting on and not confusing them by using an old name for the city of Mumbai. This also seems a bit ridiculous to me because there is not a large margin of people trying to bring the old name of Bombay back to this city. It is only this newspaper trying to bring about this name change, which I feel makes their articles more confusing for their readers.
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 8:04 PM
This highlights a significant part of decolonization.  When colonial powers like Great Britain, France, etc. took control of lands in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, they gave places new names.  This enforced their legitimacy as the colonial power in places by chipping away the local identity and replacing it with their own.  After colonization, many countries renamed places in the language of that region, stripping away unwanted remainders of colonial rule and reinstating their own local and national identity.
Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Human Geography |

"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.

Via Seth Dixon
Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:24 AM

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 12:00 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 12:41 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.

Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Welcome To Geography!

"Lets start off the new school year in style! This is a re-imagining of an older resource designed to introduce the subject to new students in a highly visual manner.  Feel free to use & share it."

Via Seth Dixon
Mirta Liliana Filgueira's curator insight, August 24, 2014 11:59 PM

Introducción a la Geografía.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 3:29 PM


Sally Egan's curator insight, November 3, 2014 6:10 PM

This is a great introduction to the subject of Geography. Covering both the content, Fieldwork and investigation and teh tools and skills of the subject.

Rescooped by Laura Szabo from History and Social Studies Education!

What Would A World's Fair Look Like Today?

What Would A World's Fair Look Like Today? | Human Geography |
Fifty years ago, the New York World's Fair laid out a dreamlike future for the planet. What would a world's fair look like if we held one today?

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 23, 2014 9:30 AM

If video killed the radio star and Netflix drove Blockbuster out of business, then the World Fairs as true Global events were undone by television.  The very idea of gathering in one place much like the Olympic Games to see the great innovations ahead of us even feels old fashioned.  Televised global coverage rendered the global coverage of the fair a little less magical and the event lost its sizzle.   

Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Why Finnish babies sleep in boxes

Why Finnish babies sleep in boxes | Human Geography |

"For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 30, 2014 3:58 PM

This is a fascinating article that can be a great case study to share with students to allow them to analyze the factors that can improve infant mortality rates.  In Finland the government provided oversight to improve infant mortality rates, pre-natal care and promote good parenting in a way that has had tangible results.  

Tags: Finland, medical, population,demographic transition model, unit 2 population.

Gillian Campbell's curator insight, July 31, 2014 6:04 AM

It's certainly an interesting one.....

Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Changing How We Think About Africa

Do you speak African? Well, neither do the 1 billion people on the continent.Africa is home to 54 different nations, more than 2,000 languages and four of the world's 10 fastest growing economies, but is often painted with a sweeping stroke of doom and gloom. In this week's Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan exposes popular misconceptions about the African continent.

Via Seth Dixon
Laura Szabo's insight:

This short video is full of with examples and statistics that show that many of the 'doom and gloom' perspectives and ways of thinking about Africa are outdated (at best).  Here are some good facts to update how we talk about Africa. 


Tags: Africa, perspective.

ThePlanetaryArchives - BlackHorseMedia - San Francisco's curator insight, March 11, 2016 6:23 PM

This short video is full of with examples and statistics that show that many of the 'doom and gloom' perspectives and ways of thinking about Africa are outdated (at best).  Here are some good facts to update how we talk about Africa. 


Tags: Africa, perspective.

Denise Klaves Stewardson's curator insight, March 21, 2016 3:07 PM

This short video is full of with examples and statistics that show that many of the 'doom and gloom' perspectives and ways of thinking about Africa are outdated (at best).  Here are some good facts to update how we talk about Africa. 


Tags: Africa, perspective.

Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 24, 5:12 PM
This video combats many misunderstandings about Africa, the biggest one being that many people view Africa as one nation instead of 54 unique nations. It also talks about how some African countries are on the rise and that women have a large role in many governments in Africa. The video aims to take away the stigma of war and poverty that goes along with Africa. 
Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Regional Geography!

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia | Human Geography |
Abd al-Wahhab argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessi...

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 3, 2014 4:15 PM

This is a very interesting article that links the issues that ISIS pose with Saudi Arabia's current ambivalence about whether to back ISIS are repudiate them.  Much of Saudi Arabia is split on the topic.   

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 4, 2014 4:32 PM

units 3 & 4

MsPerry's curator insight, September 18, 2014 12:22 PM


Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

A wide-angle view of fragile Earth

A wide-angle view of fragile Earth | Human Geography |
In this image-filled talk, Yann Arthus-Bertrand displays his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat -- stunning aerial photographs in his series "The Earth From Above," personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project "6 billion Others," and his soon-to-be-released movie, "Home," which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 14, 2014 2:38 PM

I've linked galleries of the artistic, aerial photography of Yann Arthus-Bertrand several times before.  In this Ted Talk, you can hear what motivates his artistic vision and the global perspectives that he wants to bring to the fore.  You can also watch the 90-minute video 'Home' that he discusses in the talk here.    


Tags: images, art, worldwideTEDenvironment, video.

Diane Johnson's curator insight, August 25, 2014 10:07 AM

Useful for Human Impact DCI!

Rescooped by Laura Szabo from Geography Education!

Why caste still matters in India

Why caste still matters in India | Human Geography |

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."

Via Seth Dixon
Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 8, 2015 9:18 PM

I agree that until there are more jobs created for the people of India, the slower the caste will fade out.  Over time it will fade out eventually, but the creation of jobs and more social interaction will help the process move along faster.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 15, 2015 2:51 PM

It was interesting to read about Modi's run for prime minister- I recently read a TIME magazine article about him, his original platform, and his subsequent work in office- and to see so much of Obama's run for office in Modi's struggle. Modi's support among his own caste, traditionally one that has been discriminated against in Indian society, is not at all different from Obama's support among the African American community. It goes to show that, for all our differences, people are a lot more alike then we'd care to think. Beyond that, it was interesting to see how much power the old caste system continues to hold in Indian society, much like the issues with race that Americans continue to struggle with within our own society. Appeals to different castes have been employed successfully by politicians and other forms of media; I once read that the most popular Indian films are often love stories revolving around "forbidden love" between two members of different, opposite castes. In a society that is so rich and complex, with hundreds of different languages and beliefs, it is so easy for lines to be drawn and for differences to be focused upon in a negative light. Happily for India, it has come a long way to address these problems and to move forward. While not perfect, India's future looks bright.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:34 PM

i dont understand how a country like india that is mostly modern and on the world scale can still have such an ancient system of labeling people be such a prominent practice in their society, i hope modi gets elected so he can start to eliminate this