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Hawaiian Shirts

aLOHA

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.

GeoEd Tags: 99pi, podcast, culture, migration, colonialism, unit 3 culture.

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Persuasive Maps

Awakening
The Awakening” was created by Henry Mayer in 1915. It is considered one of the most striking of the ‘suffrage maps,’ which played a major role in the successful fight for women’s suffrage in the U.S. 

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.

GeoEd Tags: cartography, visualization, mapping, art.

The Case for Embracing Linguistic Diversity

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“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).

GeoEd TAGS: culture, language, media.

Indonesia ‘discards’ its capital Jakarta for a new one, but we can’t just dispose of cities

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Indonesia’s government is advancing plans to relocate the country’s capital more than 1,000 kilometres away, from Jakarta on densely populated Java island to Borneo. At a time when modern consumer societies are awash in disposable products, the relocation plan seems to exemplify global society’s tendency to throw things away once they can no longer be used. In other words, Jakarta is a ‘disposable city.’ The situation with Jakarta is only the latest case of a country shifting its capital from an unmanageable urban context.”   Source:  The Conversation

This article, while on the surface is about forward capitals, and Jakarta’s plan to change it’s capital city,  is truly about unsustainable urban land use practices.  Relocating a capital is a part a a fix to alleviate the pressures on the government, but it does not solve the ecological problems of the city itself.  This article is a plea to push for more sustainable urban initiatives.

GeoEd Tags: Indonesia, megacities, urban ecology, SouthEast Asia.

 

The Perfect French Baguette

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While there are few symbols as quintessentially French as the baguette, its status – and quality – have been uncertain in recent years. Beginning in the 1950s, bakers began looking for shortcuts to make baguettes more quickly: relying on frozen, pre-made dough. ‘Those bakers at that time were happy,’ said Bouattour, as he led me past the fresh loaves at his Arlette & Colette in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. ‘But it killed our profession.’ In an attempt to save traditional French baguettes from widespread industrialisation, France passed Le Décret Pain (‘The Bread Decree’) in 1993, establishing that, by law, an authentic baguette de tradition must be made by hand, sold in the same place it’s baked and only made with water, wheat flour, yeast and salt.”  Source: BBC

Technological advancements and economic practices would have altered French baking practices, but to halt the change cultural purists took political steps to preserve the old cultural traditions.  The running of bakeries, and the winners of the prize for the best Parisian baguette have been bakers who come from immigrant families. Bakers with Middle Eastern, North African, and West African backgrounds are now key participants of shaping the most French of cultural goods.

Questions to Ponder: Why have bread-making practices become politicized in Paris?  How have immigrants changed French cultural practices?  How have French cultural practices changed immigrants?

GeoEd Tags: culture, food production, France, food, technology, migration, diffusion.

The Displaced: Venezuela

The country of Trinidad and Tobago is only 7 miles away from Venezuela, which is currently in the midst of a political, agricultural, and economic collapse.  As 10% of Venezuelans have left their country, an estimated 40,000 have fled to the small, neighboring island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  The Trinidadian government and people have done much to aid Venezuelans, but can only do so much and are feeling stretched beyond their capacity to assist the  Venezuelans who can be called refugees or economic migrants, depending on how you see this situation.

I believe that this is the first in the BBC’s new series, The Displaced and look forward to seeing more.  Not surprisingly, when reading the Youtube comments on this, many from Trinidad feel that this reporting did not convey an accurate portrayal of the situation, that most of the Trinidadians that are welcoming to migrants and not xenophobic.  I believe, to some extent, that the BBC is judging the Trinidadian government much as it would a large, developed country with a far greater capacity to accommodate an quick demographic influx.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Venezuela, borders, migration, refugees, poverty.

United States of Alaska Map

If the title of this post is confusing, it’s because the map is completely unconventional (and I love it).  True, it is not the title of the map, but it could have been.  So often we see a map of the United States with the 48 contiguous states prominently displayed and Alaska and Hawaii scaled down, and stuck in a corner somewhere.  Well, this map ingeniously inverts that paradigm.

Alaska

If the inset (and the insult) are too subtle for you, here is the meme that brought this to my attention.

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Questions to Ponder:

  • Describe the quality of the main map compared to the quality of the inset maps.
  • Why would the cartographer take the time to make this map?
  • Why would someone purchase this map?

How to Read a Topo Map

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“A topographic map is designed to show the physical features and terrain of an area. They’re different from other maps because they show the three-dimensional landscape: its contours, elevations, topographic features, bodies of water, and vegetation.” SOURCE: Backpacker.com

This article gives a nice introduction to topographic maps, explains how to read them, and why they are useful.  While I love digital maps and the features that are offered through GIS, old school paper maps still play a vital role in helping us navigate this world of ours.  This additional article from CityLab, shows how you can lie with maps (and it’s not just with a sharpie).

Tags: mapping, physical, cartography, unit 1 geoprinciples.

Migrants in the United States

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” Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.”  Source: Pew Research

The percentage of residents in the United States that are migrants (born in a country other than the United States) has been rising since the 1970.  This is much higher than the global average of 3.4%, but not surprising given how economic pull factors are reshaping global demographic patterns.  High-income countries attract more migrants; so the demographic impact on the global patterns of migrants is profound.  High-income countries have 14.1% of their residents coming from other countries, where middle and low-income countries average between 1 and 2% for their percentage of migrants in their populations.

Questions to Ponder: What are some of the demographic, economic, cultural, and political impacts of these statistics?  How might this impact certain regions?

Tags: migration, USA, population.

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