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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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borders

Conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan

Armenia’s defence ministry said Azeri forces had launched an attack five minutes after the truce had been due to come into effect, with ethnic Armenian forces responding. Azeri forces were also bombarding a town, the defence ministry said.” SOURCE: BBC

There are many simmering conflicts around the world that are not fully resolved but that can intensify very quickly because the underlying issues remain tense even in periods of relative calm. The Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict centers around the ethnic Armenian enclave (Nargorno Karabakh) inside Azerbaijan. To make things more complicated, there is an exclave of Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan) to the west of Armenia.

There have been ethnic/political tensions is this region for generations, but the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the status quo, and there was a cease-fire called in 1994, but that has dissolved in the last few weeks. Now, Turkey and Russia are both seeking to resolve the dispute (or carry out their regional ambitions if you like to approach this more cynically). This shows how a border conflict between two countries can quickly become a broader that can polarize the international community as countries “pick sides” in the conflict. While this is a distressing bit of news for global security and peace, this is a excellent case study to explore many political geographic topics; enclaves, exclaves, borders, sovereignty, devolution, international conflict, etc..

Al Jazeera (10/14)-Updates: Turkey denies accusations, Russia calls for truce

*BBC-Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes

*VOX-The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, explained

*The Sunday Times-Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of breaking ceasefire

*The Jacobin Magazine-What’s Really Driving the Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict

GeoEd Tags: Armenia, Azerbaijan, war, borders, political.

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.

U.S. Trade Numbers

thailand-trade

“We offer a variety of resources on U.S. Export/Import Trade with the World with millions of free datasets.” Source: U.S. Trade Numbers

This data visualization tool is very reminiscent of the Atlas of Economic Complexity.  While the Atlas of Economic Complexity is better for exploring global trade patterns, this site adds a local impact to the global economy.  Users can explore the major port of entries and see what goods are entering or leaving the United States from particular cities as nodes in global transportation networks.  The permeability of borders are an economic necessity to take advantage of the economies of scale.

GeoEd TAGS:   statistics, transportation, globalization, industry, borders, economic.
Scoop.it Tags: statistics, transportation, globalization, industry, economic, borders, mapping.

Why Colombia has taken in 1 million Venezuelans

"Colombia is currently dealing with a massive wave of refugees coming from Venezuela. Venezuelans are fleeing their home because of a severe economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro. There are high inflation rates and there isn’t enough food available for people within Venezuela to even eat. Thousands of Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar bridge located at Cúcuta every day and Colombia doesn’t seem to be turning anyone way. This borders episode looks at why Colombia doesn’t turn away these refugees, the shared history of the two nations and how there may be a limit to Colombia’s acceptance of incoming Venezuelans."

Source: www.youtube.com

The Vox border series is one of Youtube series that is the most infused with geographic themes and concepts.  If you haven’t yet discovered this yet, this episode is a great introduction to current issues in both Colombia and Venezuela.  This is also a curious case because it gets so close to the line of what we consider voluntary and involuntary migration. 

 

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

Scoop.it TagsSouth America, Venezuela, Colombia, borders, migration, poverty.

 

Kosovo-Serbia land swap could end conflict – or restart war

“A land swap proposal between Kosovo and Serbia could end the last ethnic conflict of the Yugoslav Wars, or it could reignite it. The proposal involves swapping Serbian-majority district of Mitrovica in north Kosovo, and the Albanian-majority Presevo Valley, in southwest Serbia. The deal excludes 6 Serbian-majority municipalities within Kosovo.”

Source: bigthink.com

Land swaps are about fixing problematic borders–and we know that the world is full of problematic, contentious, and disputed borders.  Yet land swap are incredibly rare because it upends the status quo.  A few years back Belgium and Netherlands swapped some land, but more often then not, calls to simply give land to another country just because the land appears to be controlled by the ‘wrong’ country usually go unanswered.  This proposed swap is especially intriguing because (to an objective outside observer) it could benefit both countries and lead to a mutual recognition of their shared border.  This BBC podcast explores local impacts and opinions about borders, ethnic identity, and place.  

GeoEd Tags: borders, political, territoriality, unit 4 political, Serbia, Kosovo, Europe.

Scoop.it Tags: borders, political, territoriality, unit 4 political, Serbia, Kosovo, Europe.

Petition calls for U.S. to give Northwest Angle to Canada

"There’s a petition that calls for the United States government to adjust the border near Manitoba to give Canada the geographic oddity known as the Northwest Angle."

Source: www.cbc.ca

Enclaves and exclaves are often bizarre examples that test the normal rules regarding the political organization of space.  Historical quirks, landform oddities, competing national goals, and irregular demographic patterns mean that the world is filled strange little case studies about places that seem to defy our normal expectations.  However, the most enduring rule seems to be this: never voluntarily give up territory that you can easily control. 

 

GeoEd TAGS: borders, politicalterritoriality, USA, Canada.

Scoop.it Tags: borders, politicalterritoriality, USACanada.

U.S.-Mexico border: An interactive look at the barriers that divide these two countries

"What is along the nearly 2,000 miles of border that divides the U.S. from Mexico?"

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

This interactive map allows users to fly over the length of the U.S.-Mexico border.  At key locations you can see how the border is part of communities and an integral part of the economic and social of these cities.  Borders, while on the surface may seem to only divide, often unite people together.  All borders are semi-permeable and this interactive highlights some of the connections across this particular border that is perpetually under intense political scrutiny.   

 

GeoEd Tags: Mexico, Political, borders, North America.

Scoop.it Tags: Mexico, borders, politicalNorth America.   

Manila Times Gives China The Finger With Its Own “Nine Dash Line” Map

"The Philippines’ oldest newspaper recently made what could be considered a provocative gesture towards China regarding its notorious nine-dash-line."

Source: saigoneer.com

I’ve shared some more substantial resources about maritime claims in the South China Sea than this flippant political cartoon.  Still, this cartoon beautifully illustrates a geopolitical perspective quite powerfully.  As always, use your own discretion when sharing resources in your own classroom (my college students love this). 

 

GeoEd Tags: borders, Political, conflict, water, Philippines, China.

Scoop.it Tags: borders, political, conflict, water, PhilippinesChina.

  

Inside North Korea’s bubble in Japan

"Why North Korea has children’s schools in Japan. This isn’t a story about a physical border. North Koreans living in Japan experience a much less visible kind of border, one made of culture, tradition, history, and ideology. The result is a North Korean bubble in Japan whose members face fierce discrimination from Japanese society, leading the community to turn to Pyongyang for support. Now that community is being tested like never before. North Korea routinely threatens to destroy Japan with nuclear weapons, prompting a spike in Japanese nationalism. Japanese politicians are feeling increasing pressure to crack down on this North Korean bubble, creating a battleground in the most unlikely of places: schools."

Source: www.youtube.com

This episode of Vox borders offers some excellent insight into a cultural enclave that feels deeply connected with a totalitarian regime.  From the outside, this raises so many questions, but understanding the cultural, historical, political, and economic context shows how this peculiar community continues.  The entire series of Vox Borders is fantastic material, dripping with geographic content.   

Tags: North KoreaJapan, East Asiaborders, political, historical.

WordPress TAGS: North Korea, Japan, East Asia, borders, political, historical.

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