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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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culture

How language shapes the way we think

"There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world — and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language — from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian — that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. ‘The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is,’ Broditsky says. Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."

Source: www.ted.com

Sense of direction, numerical concepts, gendered traits, even the colors that we perceive with our own eyes…all these are shaped by the language(s) we speak.  If language shapes how an individual shapes their own worldview, a cultural group’s worldview is also powerfully impacted by the language that frames how they think.  

 

Scoop.it Tags: languagecultureTED, video.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, TED, video.

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Why no-one speaks Indonesia’s language

Bahasa Indonesia was adopted to make communication easier across the vast Indonesian archipelago, but its simplicity has only created new barriers.

Source: www.bbc.com

Linguistic diffusion faces many barriers, and an island state like Indonesia faces cultural centrifugal forces.  Adopting a national language might be good political policy, but culturally, that doesn’t ensure it’s viability.  This is a great case study for human geography classes that touches on many curricular topics.

Scoop.it Tags: languageculture, diffusion, Indonesia.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, diffusion, Indonesia, SouthEast Asia.

The Sling Shot Man

This is the story of a man who makes sling shots and shoots them like an expert marksman.

Source: www.youtube.com

While I don’t think that the folk/popular dichotomy is the most important way to conceptualize differences in culture traits and groups, it is still how many textbooks arrange their cultural chapters.  Given that, I love showing this clip–this man is the embodiment of folk culture and his story shows the elements that differentiate folk culture from popular culture. 

Scoop.it Tagsculturerural, folk culturethe South,

WordPress Tags: culture, rural, folk culture, the South.

Classifying languages is about politics as much as linguistics

CROSS the boundaries of the former Yugoslavia and you face a few hassles.

Source: www.economist.com

The linguistic differences between languages can be slight, but if politics and identity are involved (as they invariably are), these small linguistic differences can seem massive.  "Languages" can occasionally be dialects with their own armies.  

 

Scoop.it tags: languageculture, borders, political, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, borders, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

The Japanese art of (not) sleeping

"The Japanese don’t sleep. This is what everyone – the Japanese above all – say. I first encountered these intriguing attitudes to sleep during my first stay in Japan in the late 1980s. Daily life was hectic; people filled their schedules with work and leisure appointments, and had hardly any time to sleep. Many voiced the complaint: ‘We Japanese are crazy to work so much!’ But in these complaints one detected a sense of pride at being more diligent and therefore morally superior to the rest of humanity. Yet, at the same time, I observed countless people dozing on underground trains during my daily commute. Some even slept while standing up, and no one appeared to be at all surprised by this.

The positive image of the worker bee, who cuts back on sleep at night and frowns on sleeping late in the morning, seemed to be accompanied by an extensive tolerance of so-called ‘inemuri’ – napping on public transportation and during work meetings, classes and lectures. Women, men and children apparently had little inhibition about falling asleep when and wherever they felt like doing so."

Source: www.bbc.com

If you subscribe to Edward Hall’s Cultural Iceberg model (video), we can readily see, touch, or experience many parts of a society’s culture; what they wear, the ways the communicate, the food they eat, etc.  Beneath the surface, though, are the less obvious cultural traits that aren’t so easily observed.  These aspects of culture, such as the beliefs, values, and thought patterns of a society, are critical to understanding differing cultural traits.

 

Questions to Ponder: In this article about sleep in Japan, what elements of external culture (above the surface) are present?  What elements of internal culture (beneath the surface) are present?  How do the cultural traits beneath the surface shape the cultural traits that are above the surface?    

Scoop.it Tags: culturecultural norms, labor, JapanEast Asia.

WordPress TAGS: cultural norms, culture, labor, Japan, East Asia.

Displacement from Gentrification

Source: www.youtube.com

How does gentrification displace longtime residents?  How does the community change during the gentrification process?  What are the impacts to residents (current and former) of the gentrification process?  This is one young man’s story about gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission District. 

 

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic

Every Culture Appropriates

The question is less whether a dress or an idea is borrowed, than the uses to which it’s then put.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

A while back a prom dress causes an uproar, and a backlash to the uproar (as you can imagine political leanings heavily influence the cultural perspectives as demonstrated by the difference between the New York Times , Fox News and the social media reactions on the same topic).  This article pulls pack from the immediate issues that fan the fans, but asks some of the broader questions about cultural diffusion and cultural appropriation.  

 

Tags: popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms.

 

What Anthony Bourdain Understood About Cities

The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

Source: www.citylab.com

At the APHG reading last week, it felt as if everyone was in shock and mourning Anthony Bourdain’s passing.  I felt so amazingly thick, but I was dying to ask "who?"  Judging by everyone’s reaction, I think I’m the only geographer who has never watched any of his shows and was feeling the shame.  I quickly checked out Parts Unknown (on Netflix) and the appeal of his work was immediately evident; it is more about place than it is strictly about the food.  Food is simply his portal into understanding the people, culture, and politics of a given place.  Some say that his approach brings an anti-colonial flair to urbanism and travel, but as I’m a newbie to his work, I’m just going to start appreciating it now as we mourn his loss.

 

Tags: cultureworldwide, diffusion, urban, urbanism, place, food,

 colonialismvideo, media

 

 

At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack

“Chapulines [grasshoppers] have become a snack favorite among baseball fans in Seattle. Follow their path from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Safeco Field. To many, the insect might be a novelty – a quirky highlight for an Instagram story from a day at the ballpark. To those in Mexico consuming them for centuries, they are a building block of nutrition.”

Source: www.espn.com

Eating insects is incredibly nutritious; raising them is cost effective and environmentally sustainable. And yet, the cultural taboos against entomophagy in the West are barriers to the cultural diffusion of the practice.  At some baseball games and high-end restaurants, grasshoppers are sold as a novelty item.  What I especially enjoy about this ESPN article is that it covers the cultural production of the chapulines in Mexico and follows the story to the consumption of the grasshoppers in the United States.  

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, foodMexico, economic, agriculture.

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