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.
In Week 11, you are introduced to Geographies of World Religion. I want you to use this Geographical News Assignment to explore how World Religions intersect with contemporary events around our globe, ranging from migratory movements to conflict.
Therefore, I provide a list of topics, below, that are fundamentally produced out of religious identities and intersect with other axes of human identity, including (but not limited to) political affiliation, ethnolinguistic identity, or national identity. Although the news events you pick may not directly address the religious roots of these conflicts, my intention is to demonstrate how one aspect of cultural identity—religious affiliation—can intersect with other aspects of cultural identity. Your task is to select one of these topics/themes and find a news article published between 2014 and 2020 as the basis for your summary/analysis:
- Hindutva movement in India
- Ma Ba Tha movement in Myanmar
- Uyghurs and Xinjiang
- Rohingya refugee crisis
- Azawad separatist movement
- The Papacy and the Environment
- Chechnya, Ingushetia, and the Russian Federation
- The aftermath of Sri Lanka’s Civil War (1983-2009)
- Cite the news article(s) in a consistent Citation Style of your choice. MLA, APA, and Chicago all are appropriate.
- 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.
Note that many articles published on topics concerning religious identity are not news items at all, but rather opinion pieces. You may wish to comment on what you think the author’s point of view is in your summary, or at the very least keep the idea of authorial bias in mind as you search for news articles.
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.
BBC (UK): https://www.bbc.com/news
The BBC is the UK’s nationalized news service. It consistently covers US politics from the perspective of a major U.S. ally and trade partner.
Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/
Science Daily is a repository for news events around the world relating to the environment and science more broadly.
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