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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Bad TV Maps

“If you have been on social media this week, you have seen screenshots of this week’s CBS News broadcast on Syria, which in fact displayed a map of Iran. Many jokes were made, many tweets went viral. As connoisseurs of hilariously wrong TV news maps, this is nothing. Kids’ stuff. We have dug deep into our collection, gathered lovingly over the years, and now invite you to follow along on a tour of the world according to TV news.”

Source: static.nytimes.com

News organizations are in the business of prioritizing speed and accuracy, but sometimes those priorities come into conflict.  These are but a few of many examples of poor cartography in media.  While this isn’t all there is to geographic illiteracy, this is certainly one of the most obvious to the general public. If only there were the only element of geographic illiteracy in media coverage. 

 

Tagscartography, media

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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

 

 

National Geographic Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

“Before it could publish an issue on race, the magazine first had to look at its own history. ‘Some of what you find in our archives leaves you speechless,’ writes editor Susan Goldberg.  The 1916 caption of the picture of these aboriginal Australians described them as ‘savages who rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.'”

Source: www.npr.org

This is both incredibly obvious, and remarkably shocking.  I don’t think that any academic geographic should be surprised that for generations, National Geographic’s goals to describe the world’s people and it mission to sell magazines made its coverage a product of the cultural norms of the times, the magazine producers and subscribers.  Still, this open honesty coming from National Geographic about National Geographic’s past is a breath of fresh air that is quite encouraging, even if some still think that National Geographic’s issue and cover miss the mark.

Questions to Ponder: Are there some voyeuristic tendencies we might exhibit as well learn about, or discuss other cultures?  How do we highlight culture differences without making making those with different cultural practices seem as innately ‘other’ or ‘less than?’    

Tags: National Geographic, race, racismmedia

How Bollywood stereotypes the West

Hollywood’s view of India can be insensitive – but Indian films present clichés about the West, and about Indian emigrants too, writes Laya Maheshwari.

 

Nostalgia for the colour and vivacity of India turns into a snobbish belief that ‘Indian culture’ is inherently more fun and cheerful than the drab and lifeless world in France, the US, or the UK. The rule-conforming nature of Western society is seen as antithetical to ‘living it up’, which our exuberant protagonists are wont to do. Western weddings cannot match up to Indian ones; nor is Western food anywhere as tasty as Indian food. People residing in Western societies are just not as street-smart as our Indian protagonists.

 

Tagsculture, India, South Asia, media

Source: www.bbc.com

The path of the solar eclipse is already altering real-world behavior

The highly anticipated event is casting a long shadow online.

 

The upcoming solar eclipse is poised to become the “most photographed, most shared, most tweeted event in human history,” in the words of one astronomer. Millions of people will watch it, potentially overwhelming the cities and towns along the eclipse’s path of totality.

According to Google, interest in the eclipse has exploded nationwide in the past few months, mirroring national media attention. The county-level search data above, provided by Google, paints a striking picture: Interest in the eclipse is concentrated in the path of totality that cuts through the middle of the country, receding sharply the farther you go from that path.

 

Tags: Sunspace, media

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Long-time Iowa farm cartoonist fired after creating this cartoon

“Rick Friday has been giving farmers a voice and a laugh every Friday for two decades through his cartoons in Farm News.
Now the long-time Iowa farm cartoonist tells KCCI that he has been fired. Friday announced Sunday that his job was over after 21 years in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.”

Source: www.orrazz.com

There are some intriguing layers connected to the politics of agribusiness in this story.  First off, the political cartoon highlights a pithy truth–that while the ‘traditional’ farmer is a lucrative position, in the global economy, there are corporations that are amassing fortunes in agribusiness.  The second connection is more telling–the newspaper company felt compelled to fire the cartoonist as for voicing this perspective as the newspaper advertisers flexed their pocketbooks to change the direction of the news being reported.  

 

Tags: agriculture, food production, agribusiness, foodeconomicindustry, scale, media

Combatting FGM

“The United Nations Development Programme started to advocate against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) back in 2003 when it was taboo even to speak about it. In 2008, the practice was banned. The government of Egypt has institutionalized the adoption of FGM abandonment; while prevalence rates remain high (namely among older women), the response of younger girls and mothers of new generations to FGM abandonment campaigns is much higher.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This is always a difficult topic for me to talk about in my college classes since it is such a sensitive topic.  However, because it touches on so many taboo topics, that is the very reason that that practice of FGM has continued in many African and Middle Eastern countries.  See the map embedded in this article to know which countries have the highest prevalency rates.  Some are concerned that through relocation diffusion, international migrants can bring this practice to areas such as Europe. Western efforts to eradicate FGM are usually ineffective and sometimes backfire (the author in the linked articles feels that the term mutilation, while accurate, is counterproductive).

 

Tags: culture, gender, media

The Best News You Don’t Know

I’ve covered massacres in South Sudan, concentration camps in Myanmar and widespread stunting in India, but it’s also important to acknowledge the backdrop of global progress. Otherwise, the public may perceive poverty as hopeless and see no point in carrying on the fight — at just the point when we’re making the most rapid gains ever recorded.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The world is winning the war on extreme poverty, but most Americans think that poverty is getting worse. Doom and gloom can dominate media coverage because a horrific tragedy gets better rating than slow incremental improvements.  The general public is often ignorant of the measurable improvements going on in the world today.  No, the world isn’t perfect, but it is getting better. 

 

Tags: mediapoverty, development, economic, perspective.

DON’T PANIC — Hans Rosling showing the facts about population

Source: www.youtube.com

Over the years I’ve shared many video clips featuring Hans Rosling and the Gapminder resources (click here for archived links).  For many this is going to but a rehash of previous videos, but this in the 1-hour long version of global population data (2016 Population Reference Bureau).  Clearly he is a proponent of lowering fertility rates–here he paints the optimistic view that population growth growth and development can be balanced in a future that is more ecologically and economically sustainable.  

 

Tagspopulation, statistics, media, models, demographic transition modeldevelopment.

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