In the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, (many of his photos appear in this earlier series), O’Sullivan joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were composed of soldiers, scientists, artists, and photographers, and tasked with discovering the best ways to take advantage of the region’s untapped natural resources. O’Sullivan brought an amazing eye and work ethic, composing photographs that evoked the vastness of the West. He also documented the Native American population as well as the pioneers who were already altering the landscape. Above all, O’Sullivan captured — for the first time on film — the natural beauty of the American West in a way that would later influence Ansel Adams and thousands more photographers to come.
“In [recent years], the South’s 150-year reverence for the Confederacy was shaken. Public officials responded to the national mourning and outcry by removing prominent public displays of its most recognizable symbol [the flag]. It became a moment of deep reflection for a region where the Confederate flag is viewed by many white Southerners as an emblem of their heritage and regional pride despite its association with slavery, Jim Crow and the violent resistance to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Just a few more links that I’ve added to the article, Cultural Meaning in Moving Monuments. Right now, many people are calling for the removal of all memorials that honor the Confederacy and the call for the removal of all Confederate monuments is in full swing.
The protests in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017 were all about Confederate statues, and they were never about monuments all at the same time. This video from HBO’s Vice news has some f-bombs, but frankly, that isn’t the most disturbing content of this unflinching look into the Alt-Right/White nationalist protests and the subsequent counter-protests. Despite the graphic display of violence, overt racism, and coarse language, I find the video incredibly illuminating and insightful. It is hard to sanitize and sugar-coat the facts and still give an accurate portrayal of these events.
As I said, it’s about the statues, but not truly. At stake is the control over public space and the normative messages within the cultural landscape. Who decides what history gets etched into our public squares? Who’s heritage? What are the meanings within this landscape? Even 20 years ago, the thought of marshaling political power in Southern cities and states to remove Confederate statues was unthinkable what these symbols meant is different then what they were mean today. Modern southern politicians are seeing that supporting them vigorously is the new lost cause. Could we have a cultural landscape that has no public memorials to the Confederacy in 25 years? The call for the removal of all Confederate monuments is in full swing. What would that say about the society that restructured the landscape? The cultural landscape isn’t just a reflection of society; it also shows political, ethnic, cultural and economic struggles to as “who we are” and what our communal values are continually get remade.
The symbols of the Confederacy have long been venerated by some as symbols of southern heritage, but implicitly a white heritage. Today, many are seeking to create public spaces that foster an sense of inclusion of African Americans into that definition of “who we are” in the public places. In May 2017, New Orleans removed some of their Confederate statues, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a powerful speech that contextualizes (one perspective on the) historical meanings embedded in these statues. I find his perspective to be the most appropriate for a South that respects all of its citizens and honors its past.
FURTHER READING: Geographer Jonathan Leib gives a fantastic analysis of the competing politics of the juxtaposition of Confederate statues and Arthur Ashe in Richmond, VA. Some geographers (Derek Alderman and Joshua Inwood) in an op-ed argue that this is the time for the Trump administration to explicitly repudiate white nationalism.
I added some links to this old article to include a fifth example, that of Charlottesville, VA.
“Are you interested in what’s happening in your global community? Explore economic, social, political, and environmental issues through the lens of geography. By exploring human influences and patterns, you can better understand the world around you, make predictions, and propose solutions to current issues. In this course, you will investigate geographic perspectives and analyze historical and current patterns of migration, population, political organization of space, agriculture, food production, land use, industrialization and economic development.
In addition, you will learn helpful strategies for answering multiple-choice questions and free response essay questions on the AP Human Geography test. Each of the seven modules in this course aligns with the concepts in the Advanced Placement* Human Geography course.
This course is specifically designed for students who are interested in learning more about the AP Human Geography course before enrolling, supplementary support and exam review, and for use in blended learning classrooms.”
This isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested in a 14 week online course about AP Human Geography offered through the University of Texas, you might want to consider this. It’s free (or $49 for a validated certificate to be included). For a program that offers a full Master’s degree, Elmhurst College offers one with an emphasis in AP Human Geography.
Technological innovation and automation are transforming entire industries. As self-driving trucks hit the road, what could possibly go wrong?
What jobs can be automated? This is a question I ask all of my students because job disruption is something that every future wage earner should consider as they plan out their careers. Would you be outsource-able? Could technology render your skill set unnecessary in the future? What are the impacts of creative destruction on the economic, cultural, and political characteristics of a place? How would those changes impact regions?
North Korea – a country hard to illustrate by numbers and those available are based on estimates. Accordingly, this graphic intends to give an overview on relevant aspects of a country hardly known by outsiders. Overall, we know little about the isolated northern part of the Korean peninsula and what we know is mostly disturbing: The DPRK’s government headed by Kim Jong-un has recently launched another missile test, adding up to 14 tests only in 2017.
Besides that, the country is estimated to be among the most militarised on the globe with more than a million active soldiers and an air force counting 944 aircrafts in total. Thus, North Korea is ranked 23rd (out of 133 countries) for military spending which approximately amounts to $7.5 billion per year. According to the CIA, young adults are obliged to spend several years in the military service, women around seven and men even ten years.
But above all, North Korea is a country that is desperately poor. Out of an estimated 25,115,311 inhabitants, only 36 percent of the population has access to electricity and the GDP per capita amounts to $1,700 – similar to that of South Sudan.
“So how gorgeous is Norway? From its majestic wildlife, captivating Northern Lights shows, and snowy mountains, to its vivid landscapes, and mystifying fjords, Norway is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Plus, opportunities for hiking, kayaking, glacier climbing, fishing, and skiing are endless! If Noway wasn’t already on your travel bucket list, I bet it is now!”
My wife lived in Norway for 18 months, and her love for this country is infectious. The stunning physical geography leads to some equally magnificent cultural landscapes that were forged in a very rugged, inhospitable environment for early human settlers.
“The Last of the Free Seas is the title of this fantastic map of the Great Lakes made by Boris Artzbasheff. It was published in Fortune Magazine in July 1940.”
The inland waterways were absolutely critical to the demographic and economic development of the eastern part of the United States, especially from 1820-1940. Before World War II, Great Lakes shipping exceeded the tonnage of U.S. Pacific Coast shipping (see hi-res map here). World War II and the beginning of the Cold War led to a consolidation of naval power for the United States and its allies, greatly expanding Pacific shipping trade and spurring fast-developing economies countries.
Great Lakes shipping dramatically declined, in part because steel production has gone to lower-cost producers that were connected to the U.S. economy through the expanded trade. Some could see irony since the steel warships created from the Great Lakes manufacturing enabled expanded Pacific and Atlantic trade that led to the decline of Great Lakes manufacturing and regional struggles in the rust belt. Still, more than 200 million tons of cargo, mostly iron ore, coal, and grain, travel across the Great Lakes annually.
This deindustrialization clearly is a huge economic negative but the environmental impacts for lakeside communities has been enormous. Industrial emissions in the watershed and shipping pollution in the lakes went down as waterfowl populations returned and more waterfront property became swimmable again. Still this map of the environmental stress on the Great Lakes shows they are far from pristine.
Federal maps help determine who on the coast must buy flood insurance, but many don’t include the latest data. Maryland is now making its own flood maps, so homeowners can see if they’re at risk.
Geographic themes are overflowing (it was an unintended pun, but I’ll just let that wash over you) in this podcast. I suggest playing a game early in the year/semester called “find the geography.” What geographic theme/content areas will your students find in this podcast?