This is a flippant, silly video (with some language that you might not want young kids hearing), but it shows that the speakers of the same language can still has some have some significant barriers to understanding each other. Dialects of a same language have different pronunciations but also distinct vocabulary that is often place-specific. Dialects and accents create variety in cultural geography that makes traveling around the world enticing and exhilarating because there is always something else to learn about this crazy Earth.
Global fertility rates have been steadily dropping since 1960 and South Korea is probably the best example to use to discuss the rapid shifts in this trend (Bloomberg article “The Global Fertility Crisis” and NY Times article “End of Babies” are a good global overview that came out recently). Above is the 2019 NCGE presentation that shows how to use the National Atlas of Korea in the APHG classroom using population as the prime case study (here are the powerpoint, slideshare, and PDF version). Below is a post previously published here with supplemental resources on this exact topic for greater context.
South Korea is the world’s first country to have a total fertility rate below 1 (in 2019, it dropped to 0.98). It may not be the largest population of the 86 declining populations (114 countries have TFRs above replacement level), but it makes for an incredibly important case-study to explore emerging demographic patterns because in the coming years, it probably won’t be the only country with a TFR below 1.
South Korean governments at multiple levels have implemented some pro-natalist policies (tax-benefits, cash incentives, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc.), and the TFR continues to drop. The economic reasons for this demographic decline make it a textbook example of a highly-developed economy where raising children is very expensive in a post-industrial, overwhelmingly urban context. However, I think more time should be spend investigating the cultural patterns that led more and more young adults to either postpone child-rearing or skip it all together. In South Korea, as in other countries, marriages are becoming more infrequent, but the social stigma associated with raising a child out of wedlock remains very strong (only 2% of births are to unwedded mothers). Many women returning to the workforce find that child-care options are limited they struggle to find the same wages that they had before they started a family. Even before without children though, women in South Korea are confronted with the highest gender wage gap among OECD countries. As reported in the WSJ, “South Korea has a strong economy, fast internet—and a big gender gap.” Korean work culture expects long hours, after hours social gatherings, and other practices that make it difficult to workers, but especially women, to find a manageable balance between having a career and a family. Many corporations are reluctant to hire/promote/mentor women that might conceivably conceive and leave the company.
Today, many Korean families see having no children as the only way to survive/improve their quality on life given the economic and cultural context within which they are operating. The government has been pouring millions of dollars to reverse this pattern but the fertility rate continues to drop. The video below gives an introduction to the issue.
This video provides a more in-depth look into the issue (turn on the closed captioning)
Good resources to understand South Korea’s Declining population:
National Atlas of Korea: Population Projections.
QZ: South Korea’s birth rate just crashed to a new alarming low
CityLab: South Korea is trying to boost its birth rate. It’s not working.
“Data from IMF, World Economic Outlook, April 2019“
There are many stories in this video in the nearly 40 years of economic history of South America since 1990.The two most important stories portrayed (or at least the most dramatic) in the animated chart are decline of Venezuela’s economy and the rise of Chile’s. This video can act as a primer to get students to consider the regional context of economic growth as well as the differing historical, political, and geographic context that leads to distinct results in any given country.
“Explore the Masters of Tradition story map. Discover the rich diversity of cultures and artistic traditions that enliven our nation. Meet extraordinary artists from across the country who have been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor for excellence in the folk and traditional arts. Together they represent a remarkable portrait of America’s diverse cultural heritage.” SOURCE: ESRI
This is an excellent StoryMap that to shows examples of local and indigenous cultures that are being practiced by some in the United States. The NEA Fellowship also shows how preserving local and indigenous cultural traits in the face of popular cultural influences is difficult and is seen as a national priority and part of a treasured cultural heritage. Also, read this article on how to plan a good storymap.
“On balance, people around the world are more accepting of refugees fleeing violence and war than they are of immigrants moving to their country, according to a new analysis of public opinion data from 18 nations surveyed by Pew Research Center in spring 2018.” SOURCE: Pew Research Center
We know that there are diverse perspectives on migration in our own country, but it is important to remember that our country’s conversation is also a part of a global conversation. As many developed countries are trying to limit some of the permeability of their borders, and as economic migrants seek to improve their economic opportunities, the immigration debates become more central to Since there has been As the Pew Research data shows, in North America, the immigration discussion and the refugee discussion have converged, where in countries such as Greece they are very much different conversations.
Questions to Ponder:
- Why might the immigration and refugee assistance questions elicit a greater distinction in European countries (such as Germany, Italy, and Greece) then it did in North American countries (such as the U.S. and Canada)?
- What are some impacts of the convergence of the political conversations surrounding immigration and refugee assistance for the United States and its policies?
% who support taking in refugees:
🇪🇸 ESP 86%
🇳🇱 NED 83
🇩🇪 GER 82
🇸🇪 SWE 81
🇫🇷 FRA 79
🇲🇽 MEX 79
🇨🇦 CAN 74
🇬🇧 UK 74
🇦🇺 AUS 73
🇬🇷 GRE 69
🇯🇵 JAP 66
🇺🇸 US 66
🇮🇹 ITA 56
🇵🇱 POL 49
🇿🇦 SA 48
🇷🇺 RUS 41
🇮🇱 ISR 37
🇭🇺 HUN 32https://t.co/8yTIWXgRRi
— Pew Research Global (@pewglobal) October 26, 2019
“After Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, tweeted in support of protestors in Hong Kong, he found himself at the center of an NBA-wide controversy concerning everyone from Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to the Chinese government. The tweet has been deleted, but the debates on China’s role in the NBA continue.” SOURCE: The Ringer
This has been an interesting last few weeks for NBA commentators, as the most important topic of conversation in basketball circles has been (surprisingly) about the Hong Kong protests and China’s response to them. The origin of the story is lengthy, but some NBA employees tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters and the Chinese government, the Chinese Basketball Association, and Chinese media platforms did not like it one bit.
China is a massive market that the NBA has been nurturing since Yao Ming’s playing days, and it is almost too tantalizing a market to ignore. The NBA is now discovering that there is a price to pay to do business in China, and we are watching this tension between a league with a history of politically outspoken players, coaches, and general managers. Many are backpedaling (like LeBron James and Stephen Curry) as China keeps flexing.
In a similar vein, the new DreamWorks movie Abominable has a scene that shows the 9-dash line of the South China Sea. Vietnam and Malaysia have both pulled the movie from theaters in their countries. This is just another recent example of soft power being used to promote a political perspective through business connections.
“There are a few ways to tell if you’re looking at an authentic, high-quality aloha shirt. If the pockets match the pattern, that’s a good sign, but it’s not everything. Much of understanding an aloha shirt is about paying attention to what is on the shirt itself. It’s about looking at the pattern to see the story it tells.” SOURCE: 99 Percent Invisible
An article of clothing is a product of the culture that made it and the place that it is from. If a place has a complex cultural history, with series of migrations that have shaped the place, then the cultural artifact might have a rich product as well. Such is the case with the Aloha shirt from Hawaii.
“This is a collection of ‘persuasive’ cartography: more than 800 maps intended primarily to influence opinions or beliefs – to send a message – rather than to communicate geographic information. The collection reflects a variety of persuasive tools , including allegorical, satirical and pictorial mapping; selective inclusion; unusual use of projections, color, graphics and text; and intentional deception. Maps in the collection address a wide range of messages: religious, political, military, commercial, moral and social.” SOURCE: Cornell University Library
This is a fantastic collection of historical maps. I especially enjoy the rhetorical and overtly persuasive quality of the maps in this collection. Too often, we assume that maps convey data and information from a strictly neutral position. Just like every news article, how the information in a map is arranged, selected, and framed is helpful in evaluating the usefulness, important, and accuracy of the information that is being presented.
“For all our current interest in identity politics, there’s no corresponding sense of identity linguistics. You are what you speak—the words that run throughout your mind are at least as fundamental to your selfhood as is your ethnicity or your gender. And sometimes it’s healthy to consider human characteristics that are not inborn, rigid, and outwardly defined. After all, you can always learn another language and change who you are. And the more languages you know, the more you appreciate how hard it is to label another person, because each mind contains its own unique collection of words. An individual who wrestles with a difficult language can learn to be more sympathetic to outsiders and open to different experiences of the world. This learning process—the embarrassments, the frustrations, the gradual sense of understanding and connection—is invariably transformative.” SOURCE: Time
In pop culture and the media, race and gender are usually touted as the most important part of a cultural identity, but in the APHG CED, language, religion, and ethnicity are the ones explicitly mentioned. This article calls for a more nuanced understanding of how language opens up the world and is a part of identity. It uses a few examples to show how language shapes our world as well as our perceptions of the world: 1-the politics of monolingual presidents and 2-Chinese men selling lingerie in Egypt (trust me, the examples actually work).