Articles in Cultural Geography
The previous post on murder rates in Brazil featured a Wikipedia map of homicide rate by country, based on a 2011 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). That map, reproduced here, is less than ideal, as its highest category lumps together countries with hugely different homicide rates, ranging from 20.1 per 100,000 in Kyrgyzstan to …
Brazil is noted for its high murder rate. In the Wikipedia map posted here, Brazil falls in the highest homicide category, with more than 20 slayings a year per 100,000 people. This figure significantly exceeds that of the United States (4.8) and vastly exceeds those of such countries as Japan (0.4) and Iceland (0.3). Yet Brazil is hardly the most …
Global overpopulation has recently returned to the public spotlight with the publication of Inferno, the latest offering from novelist Dan Brown, author of the 2003 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. A mystery thriller on the surface, Inferno is ultimately a piece of demographic fiction. As one reviewer notes, “The specter of a catastrophically overpopulated Earth, its desperate people grasping and …
An earlier GeoCurrents post mentioned Finns among the nationalities deported by the Soviets before and during World War II. As it turns out, the situation in the Finnish borderlands is rather more complicated than that. The territory between St. Petersburg and Helsinki is home to a number of ethnic groups whose histories range from cultural and linguistic assimilation to population transfer to outright ethnic cleansing.
(Note to readers: My recent blog post on television and fertility in India has attracted some attention, including a detailed critique on the blog Challenging Civilization. This post is my response to this critique.)
First, I would like to thank Tom Smith at Challenging Civilization for taking the time write a thoughtful critique of my blog post on television and fertility …
Today’s post takes on a recently published article by Mark Pagel, Quentin Atkinson, Andreea Calude, and Andrew Meade entitled “Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia”, published in PNAS. First, Asya Pereltsvaig examines the article from a linguistics point of view, and then Martin Lewis considers it from a cartographic perspective.
Several earlier GeoCurrents posts examined the history and geography of culinary vocabulary, particularly words for ‘cheese’, ‘onion’, and ‘tea’. It has become clear that the distribution of such words in European languages tells a story of both common descent and borrowing. But a completely different picture emerges if we examine words for ‘cucumber’ (see map on the left). Here, areal patterns are more conspicuous than those of language-family relationships.
Russian cuisine, as can be expected, is a multifaceted phenomenon, varying with time, space, and social class. Like much of Russia’s material and intellectual culture, Russian cuisine finds itself at the crossroads of West and East, having soaked up influences of neighboring peoples—Ukrainians, Tatars, peoples of the Caucasus and of Siberia—as well as of Western cuisines, chiefly that of France. Traditional Russian cookery, which is the focus of this post, goes back to the customs of the medieval period.
An impressive map of China’s per capita GDP by prefecture, reposted here, appeared in late 2012 on the website Skyscraper City, posted by user “Chrissib” Cicerone. According to the map, the two poorest parts of China are in southern Gansu province, an area demographically dominated by Han Chinese, and in southwestern Xinjiang, an area demographically dominated by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, …
As the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings—Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, killed by police, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19—have been identified as immigrants of Chechen origin, it’s worth taking a look at their homeland, Chechnya, and its bloody history.
When it comes to people who speak French at home, California has only the third largest population of all U.S. states. California’s francophone population shrank by about 4% between 2000 and 2005. But historically, the situation was quite different, as French used to be an important and widely spoken tongue in the state.
Like the Samaritans, the Karaites accept only the Five Books of Moses (the Torah) and the Book of Joshua, and their identity as Jews has been questioned on a number of occasions. Unlike the Samaritans, the Karaites celebrate Passover on the standard date, though their observance of the holiday is quite distinctive.
Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter on March 31 this year, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar; Orthodox Christians will celebrate this holiday on May 5, in accordance with the Julian calendar; and Jews celebrated Passover on March 26. But one group, the Samaritans, will observe Passover on April 23, even though they are not considered Jews by Israeli rabbinical authorities. Who are the Samaritans?
A striking map depicting endangered languages around the world can be found at the website of the Endangered Languages Project (ELP), the public portal of the Endangered Languages Catalogue (ELCat) helping raise awareness of and gathering data on endangered languages. This data has been compiled by linguistic research teams at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Eastern Michigan University in a project supported by a National Science Foundation grant.
A map has recently been published depicting how welcoming different countries are to foreigners. It is based on data for 140 countries, compiled in a new World Economic Forum report on global travel and tourism competitiveness, to estimate the attitude of each country toward foreign visitors.