Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy with the trans movement

Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy with the trans movement | Geography Education |
For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira or third gender culture. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient culture.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Sometimes our assumptions about a society, and how they might react to cultural issues are just that...assumptions.  I for one was very surprised to learn that Pakistan had a traditional third gender. 


Tags: culture, developmentpodcast, genderPakistansexuality, South Asia, religion.

David Stiger's curator insight, 11 November 2018, 22:11
From an outsider's perspective, cultures are often hard to pin down. This became clear again when trying to comprehend Pakistan's third gender community. Not to be confused with the more modern transgender community, the third gender - or Khawaja Sira - is manifested in the traditional roots of Islam. It seems like a religiously accepted mode of existing to transcend gender. Because Khawaja Sira falls under the precepts of Islam, it is therefore tolerated but not necessarily embraced. What is interesting is that because there are rules and traditional codes outlining how a Muslim can be Khawaja Sira, there a good deal of hostility towards the modern Western notion of transgender - referring more to a person who "transitions" from the gender of their birth to a gender they more strongly identify with. One would think that Pakistan's third gender community would be more open and understanding of the West's transgender movement. This is not the case. When a Westerner is traveling in Pakistan and notices a third gender option, the person should not assume Pakistan is a bastion for liberal-minded progressives. Instead, Pakistan is just being Pakistan. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, 14 December 2018, 18:55
A topic to discuss. People who don't agree with the beliefs or rights of people in the LGBTQ community will talk about how this is a new issue. That it is the new generation that is creating these ideas.  But multiple genders and sexualities have been around for hundreds of years in many different ways. There are Native American tribes whose people had "two-spirits". Those people fulfilled the third gender ceremonial roles for their communities. In this story, they discuss Khawaja siras are "God's chosen people", the third gender people who can bless or curse anyone. But "God's chosen people" are also greatly discriminated against in society. You see the contradictions that society puts on people who don't conform to what is supposedly right.
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China's Xi Jinping agrees $46bn superhighway to Pakistan

China's Xi Jinping agrees $46bn superhighway to Pakistan | Geography Education |
China's President Xi Jinping has signed a deal with Pakistan promising $46bn (£30.7bn) of investment.

China plans to inject some $46bn - almost three times the entire foreign direct investment Pakistan has received since 2008. Many say Mr Sharif's penchant for "thinking big" and China's increasing need to control maritime trade routes may well combine to pull off an economic miracle in Pakistan.

But there are questions over Pakistan's ability to absorb this investment given its chronic problems with militancy, separatism, political volatility and official corruption.

China is worried about violence from ethnic Uighurs in its mostly Muslim north-western Xinjiang region and fears hard-line separatists could team up with Uighur militants fighting alongside members of Pakistan's Taliban.

Chris Costa's curator insight, 30 November 2015, 14:59

$46 billion is a substantial amount of money- in fact, it is a larger sum than all the aid Pakistan has received since 2008, all from a single nation. The project will undoubtedly help the struggling Pakistani economy, proving a much needed injection of cash, business, and will hopefully put the nation's power shortages to an end. With all the motions being set into place, the agreement could shock the Pakistani economy into life, fulfilling its goal of one day becoming an "Asian Tiger," and perhaps bringing to an end the decades of religious militants and extremism that has shaped the nation at home. For China, this is yet another show of strength to the rest of the world, further cementing its place as the regional power in Central, South, and Southeastern Asia as India falls further and further behind China in terms of sheer growth. The move allows China to surpass the US as the undisputed number 1 provider of foreign aid in Pakistan, and provides the nation with much-needed access to the Indian ocean, allowing it to engage in greater amounts of trade, as well as giving it a foot hold in the region, along with its military base in Africa. China is slowly creating a military ring around itself, flexing its economic and military muscles. For both parties, this is a great move- it will be interesting to see what such a move will have in store for the West.

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Complex International Borders

More complex international borders in this follow up to part 1
In this video I look at even more enclaves and exclaves."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video (like part 1) shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated.  Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video) on these complex borders:

Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, video.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, 8 April 2015, 02:13

Borders seem to be a problem whether you live in one continent or another, everyone wants power and control but not everyone can gain it. This video focuses and goes into depth about enclave and exclave borders, showing the irregularity of the borders in different areas that causes conflicts and problems. An example of a problem that the citizens have to deal with is that some villages can not leave due to the road blocks due to the borders. I can not imagine not being able to leave a certain area for all that time, I would go insane and I imagine those people are as well. International borders power has to be split somehow and not everyone can always come to an easy decision because parts of the land are claimed but the people do not have any control of it. Irregular borders cause more trouble than they are worth in my opinion. The final interesting fact about this video was that you learn that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are the two locations that have the most irregular border, these places must have the most conflict and problems. These borders are in places such as Germany, South Asia, China, Belgian, Sweden and Central Asia.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, 17 December 2015, 22:17

A fascinating look into the complexity of borders. It is always important to keep in mind when looking at maps that the borders are neither permanent or defined as it exists in reality. Borders on world maps are rough estimations of what the borders actually are for they can't depict precise details on such a large scale. Furthermore regional/local maps sometimes do not whether as to conform to the border misconception unfortunately. In Central Asia as defined int he video the border were primarily a result of the Soviet Unions attempts to divided ethnic minorities reducing their power (primarily Stalin). As a result the countries after the collapse proceeded to claim the ethnic groups which created enclaves within each-other. As long as these groups are on peaceful terms this kind of thing isn't an issue. Unfortunately it does make the peoples lives in the enclaves slightly more difficult due to having to cross the border twice to see the rest of your country. This kind of thing was even done to the Jews in the first century AD who like the Russians wanted to eliminate or at least reduce attempts at revolution by the local populace. Hopefully Central Asia has or will make the lives of these enclaves easier.

David Stiger's curator insight, 29 October 2018, 00:56
I think it's fair to say that people in general take maps for granted. The devotion and reverence for the written word - specifically the published written word - prevents people from realizing that much of the world is a social construct. Geographically, borders are social constructs - sometimes loose agreements between different groups of people to establish territorial boundaries in order to claim resources. This video, which speaks to the complicated reality of territorial enclaves and 'exclaves,' illustrates how borders are social constructs. They can often be illogical, awkward, and highly disputable. Examining the several exclaves and enclaves shared between Armenia and Azerbaijan is evidence of the geopolitical mess that disputed borders create.  What is most fascinating about this case is the assessment of how Joseph Stalin tampered with international borders as a geopolitical strategy in order to sow instability and weakness. This strategy allowed the the Soviets to more easily conquer and subjugate foreign peoples - all in the name of proletariat revolution. 
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7 awful conflicts that were under-reported in 2014

7 awful conflicts that were under-reported in 2014 | Geography Education |
Sadly, there was plenty of mayhem and violence that didn't make newspaper frontpages. Here are some awful conflicts that merited more attention.

Tags: conflictLibya, Yemen, Assam (India), the Sudans, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Kenya

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, 23 January 2015, 17:14

Current events, course resource, could be applied to just about every unit!

Lena Minassian's curator insight, 10 April 2015, 02:36

This article struck me because of certain topics overshadowing really important ones. This talks about seven horrible conflicts and tragedies that have occurred that went unreported. These issues needed attention and media this day in age is focuses on unnecessary issues rather than discussing issues like these. One of the conflicts was in Pakistan. They experienced a terrorist attack on a school by the Taliban and many children were slaughtered and many of those children were the kids of military personnel. This has been an ongoing conflict and has even had numerous airstrikes involved. This terrorist outbreak has caused more problems and the fighting still continues. A second conflict is in Assam, India. This conflict has been a clash of between ethic groups. This conflict has gotten so bad, numerous people have left their homes and people have been massacred causing it to become a terrorist operation. Conflicts like these need our intention and there are way too many cases like this going unnoticed. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, 26 October 2015, 19:05

It is sad to see the state of Libya following the optimism that surrounded its revolution and the toppling of the dictatorship that had ran the nation for decades. Despite the high hopes of the West and the Libyans themselves, the nation has devolved into civil war between the coalition government and an alliance of former rebel groups and militant Islamic extremists. Violence has gripped the nation ever since, a sad story of an incomplete revolution that occurred without a plan set for the future. One must only look at the Benghazi attack to not that the hopes of the US to secure another ally in the region have turned out to be entirely unfounded, as the people remain divided. The lack of coverage of this story in Western media suggests that the story is perhaps too depressing for American audiences, or that the major news networks don't want to dwell on another failure of the US in its involvement in the region. I hope that the violence ceases soon, as there has been far too much bloodshed already for the Libyan people.

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Gender Empowerment and Education

"In this exclusive, unedited interview, 'I Am Malala' author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education."

Seth Dixon's insight:

For younger audiences, hearing someone their own age discuss educational opportunities (or the lack thereof) based on gender can leave a profound impression. Today, Malala is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (deservedly so), as she's become an icon in her own right as she champions developmental opportunities for girls in cultures that historically have not had equal offerings for young women.  Watch this documentary to see who she was before she was thrust into the international spotlight, and hear her father's perspective.  Some, however, only see this as Western hypocrisy.    

Tags: developmentpoverty, gender, Pakistanmedia.

analise moreno's curator insight, 15 October 2014, 01:01

This was one of our focuses last chapter. I totally agree with this because woman and as well as men deserve education they need education to have a successful life. I like how she describes this so well and thoroughly she talks about what she wants and needs in her life.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, 21 May 2015, 21:10

unit 3 or 6

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, 26 May 2015, 01:42

Summary: In this interview, Jon Stewart talks with Malala Yousafzai, a girl who outwardly fought for women's education, and in doing so, was shot by the Taliban. Even now, she continues to fight for women's equality and their right to education, after she won her Nobel Peace Prize. 


Insight: In this interview, the main topic is gender equality, and how it can lead to better education for women, which, in turn, gives women more power. Although developed countries, especially in Western Europe, already display high gender equality, more developing countries, especially in the Middle East, have hardly anything close to gender equality. Even with low amounts of gender equality, people like Malala and advocates in Western countries are striving towards this goal of gender equality.

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India and Pakistan Reunited

"It’s rare that a video from a brand will spark any real emotion--but a new spot from Google India is so powerful, and so honest to the product, that it’s a testament not only to the deft touch of the ad team that put it together, but to the strength of Google’s current offering."--Forbes

Seth Dixon's insight:

True, this is a commercial--but what a great commercial to show that the history of of a geopolitical conflict has many casualties including friendships across lines.  This isn't the only commercial in India that is raising eyebrows.  This one from a jewelry company is proudly showing a divorced woman remarrying--something unthinkable for Indian TV one generation ago. 

Questions to Ponder: How does the Indian media reflect the values and beliefs of Indian culture?  How does the Indian media shape Indian culture?  


Tags India, borders, political, Pakistanmedia, gender, popular culture.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, 14 December 2015, 20:11

The most intriguing commercial that shows the differences and consequences of what happens between two nations. It shows hurt and feelings no human should have to go through. The biggest thing with this is how that after so much time apart two different people of different religions or countries can come back together and remain friends after so long of conflicting issues.

MA Sansonetti-Wood's curator insight, 27 January 2016, 02:29
Seth Dixon's insight:

True, this is a commercial--but what a great commercial to show that the history of of a geopolitical conflict has many casualties including friendships across lines.  This isn't the only commercial in India that is raising eyebrows.  This one from a jewelry company is proudly showing a divorced woman remarrying--something unthinkable for Indian TV one generation ago. 

Questions to Ponder: How does the Indian media reflect the values and beliefs of Indian culture?  How does the Indian media shape Indian culture?

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, 31 March 2018, 23:44
This emotional video only makes sense to those who have the political context, however, its story is one that is not uncommon in the region. The video depicts and old man and his granddaughter discussing his life before he and his family moved after the partition. It shows his granddaughter using google to send his a surprise for his birthday. 
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Bootlegging in Tribal Pakistan

Bootlegging in Tribal Pakistan | Geography Education |
In Pakistan's tribal areas, alcohol bootleggers, lured by enormous profits, have created clandestine delivery services to evade recent crackdowns by the Taliban and the police.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This 2010 New York Times video shows in a poignant way how the past and the present, the global and the local comibine to create underground cultural practices among the wealthy in Pakistan. 

Tags: Pakistan, popular culture, SouthAsiaglobalization, culture, Islam.

Jess Deady's curator insight, 5 May 2014, 01:48

Alcohol bootleggers have been getting shutdown by the police force. Without this service, the bootleggers would be out of business and probably in jail. This is like prohibition in the U.S. and those who sold alcohol were fined and also arrested. The same thing is happening here where the bootleggers are trying to make huge money by selling something thats outlawed.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, 10 September 2014, 19:36

Interesting to see this happening in other areas of the world besides the United States during the times of prohibition.  If there is a will there is a way.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, 14 December 2015, 16:57

this makes sense. even in regions controlled by Muslim extremest people are people and they want their booze. this is a perfect example of the reason why you cannot punish all people of a certain group for the actions of a few.

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The 10 Stories You Missed in 2012

The 10 Stories You Missed in 2012 | Geography Education |
2012 has had many stories around the globe have grabbed the headlines with their shocking tales.  Some of the most important shifts in the world however are incremental processes that happen slowly...

This article from Foreign Policy shares some great global stories that may end up impacting the coming years as well:  

1) India and Pakistan start trading more

2) Brazil becomes an immigration destination

3) Inuits strike it rich

4) A tropical disease nearly eradicated

5) The copyright wars go 3-D

6) The end of the Indian call center (Philippines)

7) Hong Kong fights back

8) Moscow on the Med (Cyprus)

9) Oil discoveries in Central Africa

10) Island dispute between Iran and UAE

Kristen McDaniel's curator insight, 4 January 2013, 14:57

What was missed in the news?  Take a look at some of the stories from around the world!

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The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet

The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet | Geography Education |
In the dusty triangle where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet, there is more than one war going on.

Geopolitically, there is a fascinating confluence of competing interests at this border.  This is "the scariest little corner of the world." It's a dangerous place that is often beyond the authority of any of state.  It also represents (depending on how you divide the world up) at the intersection of the three major regions in the area: Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.      

Tags: Afghanistan, political, borders, MiddleEast, SouthAsia, Central Asia, unit 4 political.

Cam E's curator insight, 4 March 2014, 16:35

A meeting of different worlds at a border. I can't imagine the things one would see or hear living or growing up on a border of conflict such as this. Refugees are a common site, and no authority can dominate the others, making the area effectively lawless.

Maria la del Varrio's curator insight, 13 December 2014, 20:19

This note talk about the place in the desert where three hostile countries confront each other on the infinite war.

Matt Danielson's curator insight, 31 October 2018, 03:17
This lawless  region with no government control seems it can be a dangerous region, but also a region were Afghanistan's people can attempt to seek a better life. It reminds me in some ways of the border region with Mexico and the Us. How smugglers try to sneak people in, and deportations occurring, and criminals taking advantage of this situation.  
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How did Pakistan get it's name?

How did Pakistan get it's name? | Geography Education |

"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.   

Jason Schneider's curator insight, 28 March 2015, 19:15

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, 9 November 2015, 20:03

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.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, 14 December 2015, 23:47
Until reading this, I thought this was another country that had a "stan" name just like the rest. I never knew that Pakistan received it's makeshift name my a bunch Cambridge University students. It is composed of lands taken from homelands: Punjab, Afghania,, Kashmir, Iran , Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and balochistaN.
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Pakistan: Flood impact to worsen unless aid increases

Pakistan: Flood impact to worsen unless aid increases | Geography Education |
Pakistan’s monsoon floods have devastated millions of lives, but one month on, the international response remains sluggish, raising fears of a worsening humanitarian situation.


With the strong concentration of the population living in floodplains, the seasonal monsoons will always be a major struggle for South Asia.

Via CGIAR Climate
Meagan Harpin's curator insight, 16 October 2013, 01:45

Pakistans monsoon floods have devastated millions and international response remains slow. They are not coming forward to provide funds and about 850,000 people live in shelters because of the flooding. Three million acres of crops were destroyed, a third cattle lost and half a million homes lost. Because so much of the population lives in the flood plains the monsoons are a constant struggle for South Asia. 

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, 21 October 2013, 17:53

The flood impact in Pakistan has already been a devastating one, and it is only going to continue as time passes.  The flood has not been a center story for media coverage which has made the problem even worse.  Many people do not know that Pakistan is battling a flood, so aid has not increased.  Pakistanis are still recovering from a 2010 flood, which makes the current situation even more difficult.  Why is the international response so small?

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Burka Avenger is the Muslim Female Superhero We've All Been Waiting For

Burka Avenger is the Muslim Female Superhero We've All Been Waiting For | Geography Education |

"The Muslim world doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to female empowerment. With a lack of of strong, independent female role models, young women in the region have few places to look in popular culture for guidance. Until now.

Meet Burka Avenger, the game-changing Pakistani cartoon that, for the first time, has flipped the status quo on its head with its female superhero protagonist, who fights crime in her magical burka."

Tags: Pakistangender, popular culture, SouthAsiaglobalization, culture, Islam.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, 27 May 2015, 14:05

This superhero is more than just something to bring joy to children in Pakistan. This hero empowers women to think they can be strong like the Burka Avenger.

Chris Costa's curator insight, 30 November 2015, 14:51

This is an awesome, heartwarming story, and I highly recommend people to watch the trailer for the show offered on the website- it seems very cool, and like something kids will actually want to watch (unlike a great deal of educational television). For a nation that is plagued by such a great deal of bigotry and gender inequality- with female infant mortality rates contributing to a gender distribution of 108 men to 100 women- it is so good to see a program such as this being released from Pakistan. Young Muslim women are so deprived of positive and powerful female role models, allowing for the continued systematic abuse and mistreatment of women in many parts of the Middle East, including Pakistan. This show looks promising, from both a critical and humanitarian perspective, although I fear for the lives of its creators and that its showing will be suppressed in the very nations that need it the most. Terrorist organizations and religious extremists fear education and empowerment more than any army, as only those two factors can truly combat these movements effectively, and they will show no mercy should they ever be given the chance to cease the production of this program. I applaud its creators for their bravery, and hope that they are able to get their message across.

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India-Pakistan border Ceremony

Fascinating footage of a traditional ceremony that takes place on the Pakistan India border. From the BBC
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a fascinating political display that shows a degree of cooperation, but is made into a sports-like event because of the geopolitical tension/passion between these two South Asian neighbors.  They have 'toned down' the overtly display of hostility in recent years.  Some love this border ceremony and others fear that they are playing with fire, fanning the flames of nationalism that only exacerbates the tension.  Just last year, this border checkpoint was the site of a terrorist attack that killed 50.  Click here for more information about the border tension in the Pakistan/India/China borderland.  

Tags: bordersgeopolitics, political, territoriality, video, India, South Asia, Pakistan.

Taylor Doonan's curator insight, 30 March 2018, 22:51
This video shows a ceremony that takes place on the India-Pakistan border and how precisely things need to be done to keep the peace. The two flags are lowered at a slow pace to ensure they are being lowered at the same pace, for if one were to be lowered before the other it could cause an international dispute. 
Nicole Canova's curator insight, 2 May 2018, 01:20
This is a really interesting display of hyper-nationalism and masculinity that has been taking place at the India-Pakistan border for years. On the surface, it seems like simply an entertaining, friendly competition. However, many are concerned that this tradition does nothing but enforce the tension between the two countries.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, 12 December 2018, 20:24
This event is interesting. Its almost reminds of me of two football teams staring each other down and chanting before a football game.  There is alot of tension between the two countries and some thing there is always a lingering possibility of war. This can seem to some as a way to be macho and "battle" without actually going to war. 
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-stan by your land

Central Asia is full of lands whose names end in -stan. A certain powerful North American country has a related name. How? It's not your standard explanation...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video (with a similar style to CGP Grey's videos) charts the cultural and geographic impact of one of the most important toponyms, -stan.  It also alludes to the fascinating history behind the name of Pakistan.  

TagsCentral Asia, language, toponyms, historicalPakistan, culturediffusion.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, 25 February 2018, 22:37
This video comes at your fast and might need to re play it a couple of times to get the full gist of it. However, how it explains why all of the Stan's are there in Central Asia makes a lot more sense now. We have to look at the linguistic orgins of the word stan and the video traces that then connects it the rest of the current world.  Stan is formed from the old Iranian root *sta- "to stand, stay," and means "place where one stays," i.e. homeland or country. Names such as Afghani-stan, Tajiki-stan, Hindu-stan are formed by adding this suffix. So by seeing that root of origin it makes sense that other countries have -land in it or states like we have here. It is always interesting how words and languages change over time and we lose track of the original meanings and we also take for granted it does not sound like something we know that it must be different or just wrong. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, 14 March 2018, 18:44
My original reaction to this video was that the names of almost all countries are completely unoriginal, very literal, and pretty boring.  We are all just saying “place” of whichever group occupies the country.  I liked the fact that this video pointed out that when Westerners think of the ending “stan” they associate it with foreignness and often it can be used in a racist way.  However, as the video points out, the word state, stead, and land come from the term -Stan.  This shows how languages evolved and spread from Central Asia and the Middle East, all the way to North America.  It also shows how names can cause conflict.  For instance, if you live in a Turkmenistan, but do not consider yourself to be Turmeni, it is almost like you live in a country that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your background.  At the same time, places like Kurdistan use the term to describe themselves as independent and the land of the Kurds, but this cannot be recognized because technically they are a part of Turkey.  Pakistan’s name is interesting because it is an acronym for all of the regions of the country and also means “pure land”.  This video shows how one basic word can impact language and physical geography all over the world.
James Piccolino's curator insight, 24 March 2018, 13:56
This is genuinely one of the most interesting things I have learned so far in this course. It answers questions I did not even know I was pondering. It is a little like looking at a board and suddenly being handed a pair of glasses, everything becomes so much clearer and makes so much more sense. It is an insight to a culture I rarely get to be exposed to, as it goes for many others.
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A liter of acid can destroy someone's life

A liter of acid can destroy someone's life | Geography Education |
Almost 10 years ago, a young Pakistani woman was held down by her mother-in-law while her husband and father-in-law threw acid on her. Some 150 operations later, Bushra Shafi is working as a beautician in a hair salon in Lahore, started by a hairdresser who was moved to help victims of acid attacks when one of them came into her salon and asked simply: "Can you make me beautiful again?"
Seth Dixon's insight:

Like any form of violence against women, this is not entirely representative of the region in which this found.  But this type of crime is much more prevalent in South Asia than in any other region. 

TagsSouth Asia, development, Pakistangender, culturepodcast.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, 24 April 2015, 16:19

It is absolutely mind-boggling how any human being could do something like this to a fellow human.  What is even more sad is how the Pakistani government essentially treats it as a non-issue with very few prosecutions of the perpetrators.  But luckily this sad story has a silver-lining.  A salon owner has opened her doors to acid-victims, not only to try and fix their scars, but also by employing them as beauticians.  It's a sad and evil story that has spawned a very positive and beautiful situation.  We need more people like the salon owner in this world.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, 18 November 2015, 17:57

Does this have to do with the Dowry? Is this the area where the brides family pays the grooms family so the brides family gets rid of her and the grooms family gets her so the brides family pays installments and if the installments are not fulfilled then there are accidental fires. This was not accidental though but I wonder if the installments were met.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, 20 November 2015, 21:43

The BBC's Shaimaa Khalil thought she knew the "typical" victim of an acid attack in Pakistan. "I think before I spoke to women who were victims of acid attacks, it was easy for me to generalize and assume they were from poorer backgrounds and largely uneducated," she says.....

It so easy to paint a whole culture with a broad brush but once again these attacks do not define their culture. This article with all its sadness had such a positive message of hope and survivial.

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The Most Complex International Borders in the World

"In this video I look at some of the most complex international border. Of course, there are more complex borders in the world, but this video looks at some of my favourites."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated.  Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video):

Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, video.

ELAdvocacy's curator insight, 3 October 2014, 14:40

There are so many reasons our immigrant students come to the United States.  Some stories are so complex and painful it can be extremely difficult for Americans to understand.

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, 4 October 2014, 03:21


Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, 6 October 2014, 10:39

The Most Complex International Borders in the World

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Indian Independence and the Question of Partition

The partition of 1947, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan, was one of the most volatile events of the twentieth century. Partition coincided with the end of British colonial rule over the subcontinent, and Indian independence was overshadowed by violence, mass displacement, and uncertainty.

The scholars in this video were interviewed for the Choices Program curriculum, "Indian Independence and the Question of Partition". For more information, visit the Choices Program.

Jess Deady's curator insight, 5 May 2014, 01:44

Cant watch this because of privacy settings?

James Hobson's curator insight, 11 November 2014, 17:45

(South Asia topic 4)

[And yes, the video does still work]

Diversity is ironic in the sense that it can both hold a nation together, and create hard division. India contains bits of both scenarios. Religious diversity was a splitting factor, from which Pakistan and Bangladesh seceded. On the other hand, physical geography is likely a factor which holds the nation together; tropical and Himalayan resources combine to form a strong economic dynamic, for example. Just as in the United States and Chile, different climate zones lead to advantages and the strength of 'not putting all your eggs in one basket'. This is just a scratch on the surface of this far-reaching and ever-important topic.

Melissa Marie Falco-Dargitz's curator insight, 23 November 2014, 17:01

The artificial creation of Pakistan for the Muslim minority in India upon the end of British colonial rule was one of the most violent events of its time. Huge numbers of people were displaced and friends and families were ripped apart.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Burka Avenger

"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I first learned of the Pakistan's new animated TV series the Burka Avenger last week from an NPR podcast and eagerly wanted to know more.  Some are hailing the Burka Avenger to be Pakistan's answer to Wonder Woman, fighting for the rights of the oppressed.  There has also been a lot of criticism concerning the role of the burka juxtaposed with this heroine.  For many, they see the burka solely as a symbol of female oppression and feel that a heroine shouldn't be donning the clothing of the oppressed (my opinion?--C'mon, it's the logical masked outfit for a female superhero trying to be incognito in the tribal villages of Pakistan).  I find this pairing of traditional gender norms and clothing coupled with pop culture's superhero motifs to be a fantastic demonstration of how cultures mesh together.  Globalization doesn't mean all cultures are the same; we often see highly localized and distinct regional twists on global themes.

Tags: Pakistangender, popular culture, SouthAsiaglobalization, culture, Islam.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, 19 November 2014, 17:45

There is something to be said about how film and the media can be used as an effective tool to touch on broad cultural ideals. On a related note, I will be attending a conference soon in Boston on social studies education and one of the seminars I will be going to is how to use SciFi movies in the classroom. Ideals like equality, fighting oppression and free speech are timeless and span many cultures, in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is that area's media outlet to discuss key social topics to young people.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, 6 April 2015, 21:25

A modern day Batman/Superman, Burka Avenger, with great graphics and an in-depth plot. The television shows the Pakistanis children watch are the same type of shows that I watched growing up, and the shows that the modern day children of today’s youth are watching. The cross-cultural relationship seems so different, but at the roots it is the same. The kids in this show have friends, pets, enemies, a hero, a conflict; everything that an American television show would feature.  Whether the kids are facing a bully, a school closure from a villain, or a life peril from another villain, there undercover school teacher is there ready and willing to save the day. Everybody needs a hero to look up to, so this show is great for the Pakistani youth. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, 6 May 2015, 15:06

I think this is wonderful.  It also reemphasizes the reality that all children are born without preconceived notions of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is evil.  An American child might look at this and automatically think that the lady in the Burka is a "villain", due to American media and propaganda.  I can't help but think of the backlash that would surround this cartoon if they ever tried to put it on American airwaves.  

Suggested by KochAPGeography!

Cartography And Conflict

Cartography And Conflict | Geography Education |
A newly issued Chinese passport featuring a map that lays claim to disputed territory with several neighboring countries is only the latest case of cartographic aggression.

"Maps, like statistics, can lie — or at least tell only one side of the story. As often as not, they can belie the level of actual governmental control or the ethnic and social realities on the ground. And competing views over 'who owns what' invariably fuel nationalistic fervor."

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, 16 October 2013, 02:22

Maps can lie, or at least only tell one side of a story. China sparked an international uproar over their new passports that features a map of China. The map includes territories claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Flo Cuadra Scrofft's curator insight, 24 March 2015, 05:23

The article points out various cases in which cartography has been used not to show geographical data and the boundaries of different countries, but had rather been used to show political ambitions. Some examples are the map of Guatemala that included Belize as part of it, which dates from a decades-old territorial dispute between the two countries; the recent approved Chinese passport, which includes a map of the country that contains territory claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan; and the different maps published by Peru and Chile that included different sea borders, an issue that dates back from more than 100 years.

Reflection- as the article says, "maps, just as statistics, can lie". It is crucial for people not only to know how to interpret maps, but also to be aware of their source and the history behind a map drawn in a different way. I think maps, in order not to be misleading, should show updated information of the boundaries between countries, and should not, by any means, show the territorial desires of a particular country.

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History of the India-Pakistan Border

History of the India-Pakistan Border | Geography Education |
The weird, violent history of the Indo-Pakistani border.


Geography rarely makes sense without the added lens of history.  This fantastic article chonicles the history of the geopolitical conflict between India and Pakistan, centering on the disputed Kashmir region.  This border is tied into colonial, cultural, political and religious layers of identity.  As one of the great unresolved issues of the colonial era, this standoff may loom large as India becomes increasingly significant on the global scale.     

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, 16 October 2013, 02:07

This article chonicles the history of the conflict between India and Pakistan, focusing on the disputed Kashmir region. The violence over the border is spurred by religion and political issues. But with India increasingly becoming bigger in a global scale what does that mean for this conflict with Pakistani? 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, 13 November 2013, 00:41

Colonialism rears its ugly head again, this time not in Africa but in India/Pakistan..but with the same result.  Borders drawn arbitrarily did not work in Africa, nor did it work in India.  It just casues the people there to try and work out and fix problems that the former colonial rulers casued.  They tried here to do it so that there was a land for the Muslim population to have a nation on the subcontinent and not subject to Hindu majority rule.  However Britain never looked at what would happen with a area that had a Hindu leader with a Muslim population.  He wanted to be independant, but the Muslim population wanted to go to Pakistan, so he went to India for help...sound is..much like the Northern Ireland/UK/Republic of Ireland debate..there is no easy answer and it looks like we have to try to fix colonialism's problems again.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Pakistan Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs

Pakistan Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs | Geography Education |
Documented by an aid worker, millions of spiders took to the trees to spin their webs after heavy floods inundated Pakistan in 2010.


Besides being an aesthetic wonder, this image is a great way to start a discussion about so many distinct issues. The floods of 2010 devastated the human population, killing over 2,000. These same floods also altered the ecosystem as spiders have needed to adapt to their new inundated landscape as well. For the human population, this has had the shocking benefit of lowering the incidents of malaria since the spiders have more effectively limited the mosquito population. Interconnections...geographic information are a spider web of interconnections between nature and humanity.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, 12 December 2014, 19:29

Intense flooding occurring in December 2010 left 2,000 people dead in Pakistan. The flood waters left both the people, and the insects, with no where to go. Spiders, trying to escape from the flood waters, climbed into trees and bushes in order to avoid drowning. Almost every type of vegetation was covered in webs, making the landscape appear as though it was planed in cotton candy trees. While definitely peculiar, the massive amounts of spider webbing averted a mosquito crisis. While something positive did come from this occurrence, most of the trees were killed since their leaves were smothered by the webbing and unable to collect sunlight. Now the landscape contains little to know shade for the people living their. 


When observing geographies, it is important to understand not just the people, but the other organisms that affect a place, and how they too can make an effect. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, 16 December 2014, 13:19

These floods damaged the ecosystems in Pakistan. It also manipulated the natural order of things. With he heavy floods lots of mosquito were attracted by the water and then millions of spiders followed for food. What resulted are these remarkable images. For those who suffer from arachnophobia this may their worst nightmare but it has an odd beauty to it.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, 14 December 2015, 19:37

After floods devastated Pakistan many of the animals and people had to adapt to some new surroundings. Spiders took to the trees and made webs of massive size. The spiders created a better environment because not only were the spiders eating the mosqitos and the bugs but they were also eating the disease malaria contributing to a more healthy and stable environment.