Introduction: One of our learning goals in GEOG 2305: Fundamentals of Geography is to appreciate the relevancy and application of geography to everyday living. To that end, I ask that you seek out and find news articles that relate to our course materials each week, and produce a short reflection that summarizes the news article and fits it within the contexts of our geography course materials for that week. You’ll find that our world is continually being shaped by geographical phenomena in profound ways.
Below, please read the following carefully, as an introduction to this geographical news exercise:
When we covered geographies of state power, we learned that states rely on a set of rather arbitrary assumptions: among other things, we learned that state governments assume they have sovereignty over their territories and well-defined boundaries; that they have a permanent population of citizens; and that the state government is viewed as legitimate, both by its own citizenry and by other international entities (e.g., other states and/or supranational organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, etc.).
For this Geographical News Assignment, seek out articles relating to boundary disputes between states, territories, and separatist state-like territories in our contemporary scene. To do so, select from ONE of the following topics and investigate it:
- Ethiopia/Sudan boundary dispute over the Tigray region;
- Rojava Autonomous Zone AKA “Autonomous Region of North and East Syria”;
- Poland-Belarus Border Crisis;
- Western Sahara;
- North Korea/South Korea;
- India, Pakistan, and China in Kashmir;
- Armenia-Azerbaijan border conflicts;
- Senkaku Islands/ Diaoyu Islands
Cite the news article(s) in a consistent Citation Style of your choice. MLA, APA, and Chicago all are appropriate. Now:
- In 250-400 words, summarize the article(s)’ content and explain why you think it fits into the materials covered in our PowerPoint / other class materials. Your summary should be in your own words, and avoid long quotations from the news article. Similarly, your explanation as to why it fits within the context of our course materials should be original writing.
- Proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Remember that every piece of writing you produce should serve you in some way. In this set of assessments, you’ll be learning new things about our contemporary world, sure, but you also have an opportunity to hone your written communication skills. The skills you develop now will help you in any professional field you choose to pursue now or later in life.
- Upload your Word Document to Turnitin, available on Blackboard.
There are many ways you can go about searching for news items. Google News Search is a decent place to start, but be sure to check the date and place of publication, as the search algorithms often present older material first. I encourage you to explore your options! Sure, MSNBC, Fox, and CNN all cover diverse topics and are ubiquitous in our lives. For international or regional topics about physical geographies, however, they often lack depth and scope. Below are some free (at least limited access) English language news websites you may wish to consult that cover a range of topics and often have long-form journalism. They’re by no means the only sources out there, and I encourage you to explore further. I share them with you, however, because I don’t want you purchasing a subscription to paywall news sites (though if you’re already a subscriber to an outlet like The New Yorker, The Economist, NYT, Washington Post, etc., feel free to use them!). Note, too, that many paywalled sites offer a few free articles a month.
The Conversation (US): https://theconversation.com/us .
The Conversation is a useful website for materials that are intellectually rigorous, but written for lay audiences. All articles are written by academics specializing in their article’s topical focus, and are intended to reach a broad audience.
The Conversation (Global Perspectives): https://theconversation.com/global.
Like its US counterpart, The Conversation: Global Perspectives Edition is a useful source of intellectually rigorous yet accessible articles, but with a more explicitly international focus.
Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/
This site does engage in a specific agenda. However, its coverage of border crises and conflicts in international settings focuses on the protecting refugees and vulnerable individuals, and it provides a useful reference for contextualizing border disputes within a regional/global and humanitarian framework.
BBC (UK): https://www.bbc.com/news
Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/
There are numerous other sources, especially available at regional scales. However, be aware that some sources may exhibit significant bias! This is especially the case for regions disputed by the Russian Federation or its allies; Rojava; and the India/Pakistani conflicts in Kashmir.
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