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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Author

sethdixon

I am a geography professor at Rhode Island College.

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

“Though unrecognized by the international community, the country benefits from a strong social contract between government and citizens.”

 

Drop a pin on a map of eastern Africa and chances are it will not land on a healthy democracy. Somalia and South Sudan are failed states. Sudan is a dictatorship, as are the police states of Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In this context tiny Somaliland stands out. Somaliland was a British protectorate, before it merged with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form a unified Somalia. It broke away in 1991, and now has a strong sense of national identity. It was one of the few entities carved up by European colonists that actually made some sense. Somaliland is more socially homogeneous than Somalia or indeed most other African states (and greater homogeneity tends to mean higher levels of trust between citizens). For fear of encouraging other separatist movements in the region, the international community, following the African Union, has never obliged [to recognize Somaliland]. Nation-building on a shoestring helped keep Somaliland’s politicians relatively accountable, and helped to keep the delicate balance between clans.

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

Source: www.economist.com

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Choosing a Map Projection

“Cartographers at National Geographic discuss how they select an appropriate map projection for the September 2012 magazine map supplement. –World maps usually center on the land, with the Pacific Ocean divided as bookends. To show each ocean as a whole with the least distortion for our ‘Beneath the Oceans’ supplement map, we used a map projection called an interrupted Mollweide centered on the Pacific.”

Source: www.youtube.com

There is no one perfect map projection that fits all circumstances and situations. Think of a situation in which this map projection would be an ideal way to represent the Earth and in another situation that same projection would give you an incredibly limited perspective.  This video provides good insight into how to choose a map projection for a cartographic project. Here is National Geographic’s lesson using this video.

Tags: cartography, K12, geospatial, NationalGeographic, water.

English–Origins and Roots

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

Source: www.youtube.com

English has obviously changed much over the years, but this video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European, using the English as the main example.  This other TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat–Germanic, perspire–Latin).   

 

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

Globalization, Trade, and Poverty

What is globalization? Is globalization a good thing or not. Well, I have an answer that may not surprise you: It’s complicated. This week, Jacob and Adriene will argue that globalization is, in aggregate, good. Free trade and globalization tend to provide an overall benefit, and raises average incomes across the globe. The downside is that it isn’t good for every individual in the system. In some countries, manufacturing jobs move to places where labor costs are lower. And some countries that receive the influx of jobs aren’t prepared to deal with it, from a regulatory standpoint.

Source: www.youtube.com

There are many of the 35 videos in the Economics crash course set that touch on geographic issues, but I’d like to highlight episodes 16 and 17 especially.  Many see globalization as the path to economic growth and others see the process of globalization as what has created poverty.  In many ways both have a point as demonstrated in the 16th episode of this crash course.  In a follow-up video, they explain the difference between wealthy inequality and income inequality.  This video also has a nice layman’s explanation of the GINI coefficient and how it measures inequality.   

 

Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty, crash course

 

Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border, and an island. But the two countries are very different today: the Dominican Republic enjoys higher quality of life for many factors than Haiti. I went to this island and visited both countries, to try and understand when and how their paths diverged.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is an exciting debut for the new series “Vox borders.”  By just about every development metric available, the Dominican Republic is doing better than Haiti, the only bordering country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the DR.   

 

Questions to Ponder: How does the border impact both countries?  How has sharing one island with different colonial legacies shaped migrational push and pull factors?

 

Tags: Haiti, Dominican Republic, video, poverty, development, economic, labor, migration, political, borders.

How Bollywood stereotypes the West

Hollywood’s view of India can be insensitive – but Indian films present clichés about the West, and about Indian emigrants too, writes Laya Maheshwari.

 

Nostalgia for the colour and vivacity of India turns into a snobbish belief that ‘Indian culture’ is inherently more fun and cheerful than the drab and lifeless world in France, the US, or the UK. The rule-conforming nature of Western society is seen as antithetical to ‘living it up’, which our exuberant protagonists are wont to do. Western weddings cannot match up to Indian ones; nor is Western food anywhere as tasty as Indian food. People residing in Western societies are just not as street-smart as our Indian protagonists.

 

Tagsculture, India, South Asia, media

Source: www.bbc.com

‘It’s Our Right’: Christian Congregation In Indonesia Fights To Worship In Its Church

A Christian congregation outside Jakarta built a new church legally, but Muslims in the area object to it. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled to allow worship at the church, but it remains sealed.

 

Vocal Muslim citizens opposed construction of the church and pressured the local government to cancel the permits. The local government acquiesced to the demands. But the church group went to court, and won. On an appeal, they won again. Finally, the case went all the way to Indonesia’s Supreme Court — where the church group won a third time, in 2010. But to this day, the congregation can’t worship there.

Indonesia, with its mix of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian citizens, has long had a reputation as a country that embraces religious diversity. Andreas Harsono, the Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, sees things differently.

 

Tags: Indonesiaculture, religion.

Source: www.npr.org

Singapore passport becomes ‘most powerful’ in the world

Historically, the top ten most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Since early 2017, Singapore has tied for number one position with Germany. For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world. It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy.”

 

Tag: SingaporeSouthEastAsia, politicaldevelopment.

Source: www.channelnewsasia.com

Who else is high on the list of the most powerful passports in the world?  This tier system is based on the number of visa-free entries available to the holder of the visa:

1. Singapore

2. Germany

3. Sweden

3. South Korea

4. Denmark

4. Finland

4. Italy

4. France

4. Spain

4. Norway

4. Japan

4. United Kingdom

5. Luxembourg

5. Switzerland

5. Netherlands

5. Belgium

5. Austria

5. Poland

6. Malaysia

6. Ireland

6. USA (that’s tied for 19th for you competitive sorts)

6. Canada

7. Greece

7. New Zealand

7. Australia

When Rich Places Want to Secede

At the core of Catalonia’s separatist movement is an argument that a country’s better-off regions shouldn’t have to pay to cover their less productive counterparts.

 

As a relatively rich region with its own independence movement, Catalonia’s not alone: A small set of secession movements in historically productive areas, most visibly in Europe, say they’d be better off on their own, and more are pointing to Catalonia’s example to regain momentum.

The common wisdom used to be that separatist movements mostly came from weak minorities that rallied around racial or ethnic injustices. “With globalization, that changed significantly,” said Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, a professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics (LSE). “Virtually everywhere in the world,” movements have swapped out the “identity card” for the “economic card.”

Inequality between regions is baked into the entire concept of modern nationhood—if subsidizing poorer parts of a country were motivation enough to split off, every region would have done it by now. Plus, there are economic perks to staying together: Trade is easier across internal borders, and diversified regions diffuse risk.

 

Tags: Cataloniaeconomic, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

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