The Revenge of Geography

An excerpt from a piece in the Wall Street Journal by Robert D. Kaplan:

As a way of explaining world politics, geography has supposedly been eclipsed by economics, globalization and electronic communications. It has a decidedly musty aura, like a one-room schoolhouse. Indeed, those who think of foreign policy as an opportunity to transform the world for the better tend to equate any consideration of geography with fatalism, a failure of imagination.

But this is nonsense. Elite molders of public opinion may be able to dash across oceans and continents in hours, allowing them to talk glibly of the “flat” world below. But while cyberspace and financial markets know no boundaries, the Carpathian Mountains still separate Central Europe from the Balkans, helping to create two vastly different patterns of development, and the Himalayas still stand between India and China, a towering reminder of two vastly different civilizations.

Technology has collapsed distance, but it has hardly negated geography. Rather, it has increased the preciousness of disputed territory.

Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm, is author of the forthcoming book The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, published by Random House. The Wall Street Journal piece is adapted from his book.

A History of the World in Twelve Maps

History of the World in 12 MapsA new book by published in Great Britain by Allen Lane (part of Penguin Books) takes a look at the personal biases, values, and ideologies that shape maps. The book, A History of the World in Twelve Maps by Jerry Brotton, a professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary University of London, considers maps ranging from early world maps to the 21st-century Google Maps. The book was reviewed in The Guardian  and The Telegraph, and Brotton was interviewed on the BBC.

Journal of Geography, September-October 2012

Journal of Geography CoverArticles

  • Integration of Geospatial Science in Teacher Education, by Peggy Hauselt and Jennifer Helzer
  • A Sustainability Initiative to Quantify Carbon Sequestration by Campus Trees, by Helen M. Cox
  • Writing in Undergraduate Geography Classes: Faculty Challenges and Rewards, by Lynn M. Patterson and Vanessa Slinger-Friedman
  • Experiencing Blues at the Crossroads: A Place-Based Method for Teaching the Geography of Blues Culture, by John Strait

Book Review

  • Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity, reviewed by Katrinka Somdahl-Sands

Journal of Geography, a peer-reviewed journal which covers innovative approaches to geography research, teaching, and learning, is published six times per year. The journal is just one of the benefits of membership in the National Council for Geographic Education. Why not join today!

Geography and the Olympics

From a San Antonio Express-News column by Michael O’Rourke: “As the athletes from more than 200 nations entered the Olympic Stadium in London last week, I couldn’t help but feel my knowledge of global geography was a bit lacking … Vanuatu? Tuvalu? Nauru? I was a tad embarrassed when my daughters would ask, ‘Where’s that, Daddy?’ I couldn’t get to Google fast enough.”

Read O’Rourke’s complete column, “Olympics Parade of Nations Reveals Lack of Geographic Knowledge.”