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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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cultural norms

Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips

Baseball in South Korea is more than a game. It’s akin to a religion. American missionaries first brought the sport to the peninsula in 1905, and the country absolutely loved it. Today, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) features 10 teams and a unique sporting culture all its own. The city of Busan and its hometown Lotte Giants have a particularly passionate fan base. From the hitters’ flashy bat flips, to the team’s famous “cheermaster” and its unlikely American super fan, consider this is your crash course on the joyful madness that is Lotte Giants fandom.

Source: www.youtube.com

If a sport (or other cultural practice) diffuses to a new place, is it going to look exactly the same as it does in the original cultural hearth? The bat flip is the go-to difference between Korean and American baseball, but there are other differences.  Maybe, or like baseball in South Korea, it can have a culture all its own. This is an interesting story that shows how the diffusion of cultural traits around the globe doesn’t have to lead to a more bland cultural mosaic. As cultural traits are reterritorialized into new places, they add vibrancy to the cultural fabric of the institution/sub-culture that they’ve adopted.

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

Pakistan’s traditional third gender isn’t happy with the trans movement

For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira or third gender culture. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient culture.

Source: www.pri.org

Sometimes our assumptions about a society, and how they might react to cultural issues are just that…assumptions.  I for one was very surprised to learn that Pakistan had a a traditional third gender. 

 

Tags: culture, developmentpodcast, genderPakistansexuality, South Asia, religion.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

“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.”

Source: www.splcenter.org

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.  

 

Tags: monuments, the South, architectureracecultural norms, landscape.

Jordanian parliament repeals rape law

“The Jordanian parliament voted on Tuesday to abolish a provision in the penal code that allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims – a move that is being hailed as ‘historic’ by activists and locals. Article 308 permit[ed] pardoning rape perpetrators if they marry their victims and stay with them for at least three years.  The controversial provision has for decades divided Jordan between those who believe the law is necessary to protect women’s ‘honour’, and others who see it as a violation of basic human rights.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com

Cultural norms and political practices are so often intertwined that understanding local laws means that one has to understand the cultural context within which they were created, and in this case, the cultural processes that led to a political will to change them.  

 

Tagsculture, cultural norms, gender, MiddleEast, Jordan, political.

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

Lots of countries show off their public-housing projects, but few are quite as devoted to them as Singapore, where four-fifths of the permanent population live in subsidised units built by the government, most of them as owner-occupiers. The city-state’s suburbs bristle with HDB towers, painted calming pastel hues. This vast national housing system surprises visitors who think of Singapore as a low-tax hub for expatriate bankers and big multinationals. But HDB is a linchpin of economic and social policy and an anchor for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has led Singapore since independence. It is also a tantalising but tricky model for Singapore’s fast-urbanising neighbours to follow.

Source: www.economist.com

Singapore is such a fascinating case study.  Over 90% of the Singapore’s land is owned by the government and the American ideal of independent home ownership is seen as antithetical to cultural norms.  The government heavily subsidies young couples to live near their parents and create tight-knit communities with homelessness was eradicated (that’s the optimists’ perspective).  This is all well and good for young, straight couples that choose to support the ruling political party, but critics often point out that the housing focus has also created a paternalistic component to the government that is much stronger in Singapore than in other countries.  This article nicely goes with the 2017 APHG reading professional development talk entitled “The Geographies of Home” that focused on Singaporean and Japanese examples.    

 

Tag: Singapore, urban, neighborhood, economicplanning, housing, cultural norms.

Entomophagy: Bugs in the system

IT WOULD once have been scandalous to suggest the merits of eating insects; these days, it has become old hat. Western-educated entrepreneurs will sell you protein bars made from cricket flour. TED talks extol entomophagy’s virtue. Top-end restaurants in the West’s largest cities tout insect-based dishes.

Source: www.economist.com

While it might make economic, nutritional, and environmental sense, I’m sure that many are squeamish at the idea of insects primarily because in violates many deeply ingrained cultural taboos.  The main reasons listed in the video for promoting the production and consumption of more insects:

  1. Insects are healthier than meat.
  2. It is cheap (or free) to raise insects.
  3. Raising insects is more sustainable than livestock.

 

Questions to Ponder: Would you be willing to try eating insects?  How do you think this idea would go over with your family and friends?  What cultural barriers might slow the diffusion of this practice?    

 

Tagsfoodculturediffusion, economic, agriculture.

Why do women live longer than men?

Despite the social inequality women experience, they live longer than men. This is the case without a single exception, in all countries.

Source: www.weforum.org

The question “why do women live longer than men?” is both biological and cultural.  This means that 1) gender as a cultural construct that influences behavior is a mitigating factor and 2) sex, as a biochemical issue, is a separate set of determining factors.  Estrogen benefits women because it lowers “bad” cholesterol) and “good” cholesterol, but testosterone does the opposite.  Women are more likely to have chronic diseases, but non-fatal chronic disease, but men are more prone to the more fatal chronic illnesses.  For the cultural reasons, men are less likely to seek treatment, adhere to the prescribed treatment, commit suicide, and engage in more risky behavior.  While these may read like a list of gendered stereotypes that don’t apply to all, when looking at the global data sets, these trends hold  and are more likely to be true.  How masculinity and femininity is constructed certainly shapes many of these factors and deserves some discussion. 

 

Tags: culture, population, mortality, development, cultural norms, statisticsgender

Hijab: Veiled in Controversy

Hijab is an Islamic concept of modesty and privacy, most notably expressed in women’s clothing that covers most of the body.

Source: www.nationalgeographic.org

What is the geography of the hijab?  Covering one’s head pre-dates Islam in the Middle East but many associate this practice strictly with Islam and only for women. Read this article (with teaching tips and supplemental resources) for more context on this cultural and religious practice.

Tags: Islam, perspective, religion, culture, National Geographic.

Why Eating Chinese Food on Christmas Is a Sacred Tradition for American Jews

“[Jews] will not go to Mile End on Christmas because [they] happened to feel like fried rice; they will go to proudly proclaim their Jewish-American identity. They may or may not enjoy General Tso’s Chicken, but if they are eating it on Christmas, their prime motivation is not the general’s sweet, spicy deliciousness, but rather the knowledge that they are doing something that in some adapted way reinforces their Jewishness.”

 

Tags: Judaism, culturecultural norms, food, seasonal.

Source: www.tabletmag.com

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