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Western Oregon University
Interests: Geo 520, Geo 533
Recent Activity
I very much liked the Jones book. Barnd was a struggle for me at first, but I found his later chapters to be much more enjoyable and significant. I liked the Cox reading, after going back through it a couple of times throughout the term and understanding it better. I liked the first two chapters from Massey. I had a hard time understanding her ch. 13, and still need to catch up and read her last chapter- 15. The "Historic Canon" I remember being overwhelming. Perhaps if I went back to it now, it would be easier to get through. But back in week 2, I struggled with it. Overall, I think the readings were good, some could perhaps need additional or more explicit discussion, and perhaps outlining topics and how they intertwine from the very beginning may be helpful. As a visual learner, I always appreciate more videos/ graphics etc. I think there was a pretty good balance though! I always at least looked at the additional materials. If it was a longer article, I sometimes only had time to skim it. I would say I was probably most engaged with the videos. The podcast was okay, but more memorable was it's accompanying interactive video.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2018 on Assessing the texts at Geo/Politics
Like Jonathan and Matthew, I came to this class with little knowledge of what political geography is. I had preconceived notions about it due to the word "political". I was happy to find that it was completely different than I expected. Beyond that, I gained an important awareness of what actually happens at borders, the issues surrounding borders, the magnitude of meaning borders implicate, as well as knowledge about the development of borders and the modern state. My eyes were also opened to the various ways native people have been misunderstood, marginalized, and appropriated. I previously knew of the dark past of "discovery" and colonization on the continent, as well as stereotyping in the early 20th C., but neglected to consider the long term effects that still are in place today.
I prefer hybrid classes. As for managing participation, I had a "schedule" for myself loosely followed depending on personal and work obligations for the week. I had another class that the work was due on Mondays, so I worked on that over the weekend. Since this class work was due Thursdays, I typically chose to not work Wednesdays or Thursday mornings and did the work then. I would get my reading done during the rest of the week whenever I had the time. I typically do the blogs on Fridays, and check it out a few other times during the week out of interest in others posts/ to add to it again. Also, the "grading" method motivated me to treat course work as a to-do list, I just did everything in order, getting it done as it was due, with the mindset I would make my best attempt at each thing I did. I like getting "A"'s, and have a low-key goal of a 4.0 for my grad degree. But, the grading method in this class is great because I'm not stressing over whether I get an "A" on every assignment, and can put my energy into truly engaging in the materials instead.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2018 on Managing a hybrid course at Geo/Politics
I briefly scanned these articles. The Balkan Wildlife one looks as if it could be useful in my summative paper in looking at the costs of the creation of borders. It also goes along well with the recent Jones chapter where he discusses the disruption of natural habitats/ grazing areas. The Tohono O'odom article reminded me of another article I read recently. Its not specifically about borders, but is about oil drilling encroaching on the land and rights of the indigenous Gwich’in people living on the border of Alaska and Canada.
Marissa, I like your idea. You might think about expanding it to think about the states role or use of citizens v. non citizens, to explain why citizens have so many more advantages. Juneau, I think your idea is great. I agree organization may be a challenge. Perhaps think of the main points you want to address and create a tentative outline as a start. This should help you fill in the body of the paper.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2018 on Feedback on the Summative Essay at Geo/Politics
I will be focusing on Jones, and the costs associated with the arbitrary ordering of society through the creation of and enforcement of borders. I am concerned my topic may be too easy or obvious/ I may not be making as deep of connections between the readings as I might be able to. Also, I am concerned about getting it done- time is zooming by and I often have a hard time getting started writing.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2018 on Feedback on the Summative Essay at Geo/Politics
From what I remember from early in the course, this sounds like a reference to the work of Ratzel? Present day, I could see how the way in which people reference the state, could analogize it into a living organism. For instance, when people say things like "the government did that", "I dont trust the government", "the government enforces borders".... etc; the government is being identified as a thing that can act (rather than the more complicated notion of layers of humans making decisions which interact in various ways)- so in a sense it takes on an identity of a living organism.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics
I think Johnathan explains it very well. I will just add, the first comic really illustrates the constructed nature of borders. How some just don't make sense, and how easy it would be to change them- by simply drawing new lines on the map. The second comic is definitely a joke about how just crossing a line can improve life expectancy... but there is some truth behind this joke. Different parts of the world have higher or lower life expectancy based off of things such as the states wealth, access to healthcare for citizens, access to nutritious food, and prevalent lifestyles of citizens. This points to the wealth disparity between states, and how drastically different living on one side of a border might be than the experience on other side.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2018 on The arbitrariness of borders at Geo/Politics
Paul, you are correct that there are enormous costs to war. Not only in terms of money, but human life, environmental destruction, and of course as you allude to, the loss of opportunity in putting efforts towards other causes. I think this website offers a good breakdown of the many costs-
Toggle Commented May 25, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics
The graphic shows how violence affects long term food security, because it interrupts the planting cycle. Typically, when no conflict is taking place, crops could be planted, harvested, and stored. But conflict and violence could mean that crops never get planted, which eventually means people will run out of food, and starve if they do not find ways to adjust- such as moving somewhere else where there is food.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2018 on War and hunger at Geo/Politics
The Jones discussion about the Law of the Sea left me curious as to what the regulations are as to states claiming space, in outer space. I found this article interesting: Basically the treaty creates outer space as a common space. However, recent aims to extract resources in outer space has caused a stir in the interpretations of the treaty. In 2015 the US passed an act called the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. It ensures that US companies will have rights to whatever resources they find in outer space. Interesting. Are states going too far by making claims to resources outside of planetary territory?
Toggle Commented May 20, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics
It is obviously not practical when a border runs through a persons house. Sure on a map, the borders look neat and tidy, but the reality is that on the ground you will find situations such as this, as well as the issues discussed by Jones- previously unrelated groups of people, like from different tribes, or speaking a different language, suddenly forced together because of lines drawn on a map. This piece is more evidence of the constructed nature of borders, as this area of the Canada-US border is a "lasting legacy of a historical tug-of-war between the British and the United States over where the boundary should be" (Williams, 2016). In other words, state powers negotiated this line, basing it on their needs, rather than the reality of the environment.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2018 on Living along a border at Geo/Politics
Each group has their own "valid" claim to the land. -The Paiute; it is their ancestral land of which they still have a relationship with- that is protected by the federal government. - The government; has motivation to protect the wildlife and vegetation there from overuse, as well as an agreement with the Paiute. -The Bundy's; wish to have the freedom to continue there grazing practices as it is their livelihood. No matter whose claim is deemed to be "more valid", some parts of the population will be upset. The Bundy's and the Paiute's claim to the land and motivations of use of the land are completely at odds with one another... yet overlap as both claims could be seen as valid to different people. To bring in a popular culture example- I have been watching season three of "Fear the Walking Dead". There is a similar example of conflict over a ranch- but with no government oversight. The two groups have just decided to share the land to benefit them both.
I think Nikolai explained it very well. Another example I might give, is a small neighborhood situated around a community garden or park. The garden would essentially be the commons for the neighborhood. Everyone is able to use it freely, it is shared space- as opposed to a private fenced in garden used only by one family. In the time of commons, this shared space largely consisted of forest-land. But, as land began to gain more value (become a commodity), common space was viewed as wasteful due to its potential for profit through privatization. So in the neighborhood garden example, privatization would be one person taking control over the garden, fencing it in, and limiting access to it. Suddenly people who once used it freely, would now depend on the owner of the garden to either allow access, or provide products from the garden available to purchase.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2018 on The commons? at Geo/Politics
This video really made me reflect on my own assumptions. For example, our author Barnd- when going to the author visit, I envisioned someone who "looked" native... just based on his name and the book topic. But really... beyond the stereotypical, what does native "look" like? The variance in appearance of the people in the video reminded me that there is no definite "look". My grandma-in-law also says, "We do consider anyone with Native American blood as Native American regardless as to the amount of blood quantum", and "I know Lakota people who are stone white with blue eyes but are full-blood Lakota". So, in other words, "Indianness" refers to the stereotypical "look", but "Indigeneity" can refer to a claim of belonging to a culture- regardless of if one looks like they "belong" to that culture, based on social constructions of what that culture looks like.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2018 on Native space, identity and erasure at Geo/Politics
I randomly clicked through some older topics to get a sense of what was "current" at the time... and found this... ha, I was in the class that did that tour. Great class!
Toggle Commented May 11, 2018 on Civil Defense at WOU at Geo/Politics
The article about Oregon's foundation as a "white utopia" was really eye opening. I was aware that the state had some racist background, but was not aware of the extent or details. It is surprising how long this atmosphere lasted, but it helps explain some of the attitudes ("oh if you have children.... they might be black!" in hushed frightened voices) from some of my elderly relatives when I married my mixed race husband. My grandparents moved to Oregon, from Alaska around 1965 or so- so they would have been living in the midst of these attitudes and practices described in the article. I am aware that certain towns nearby, still have strong racist attitudes even today. Overall, this article is a good representation of what Jones was referring to as to who "belongs" and "who does not". Oregon had specific exclusion laws, and was actively promoting certain types of people to live here, and acting out against "others"- "We were building a new state on virgin ground; it’s people believed it should encourage only the best elements to come to us, and discourage others". Through this attitude, and laws, Oregon defined who "belonged", and repercussions of that have been long lasting.
Sacco's report on African migrants in Malta was really interesting. It added to the Jones reading by, one, giving a closer look at a specific instance of a place with immigration issues; and two, giving both the migrants, and the citizens of Malta, a "voice". Additionally, the comic gets at the issue of who "belongs" where, as Jones did in the recent chapter. We can see clearly, how complicated the issue of migration is from this comic. It is understandable why the Maltese would be reluctant to accept mass influxes of people, when the island is so small. I think overcrowding and availability of jobs is a real issue in such a small place. On the other hand, the frustration of the migrants is completely valid as well. They are held for months on end in inhumane conditions, to find out if they can stay, or will be deported. If they are deported, they face likely violence, and loose out on all the time, and money it took to get there in the first place (I was blown away at how much cash traded hands for smuggling). Then, if they can stay, most are stuck in a place they never intended to come to in the first place- with little prospect for a job, and living in slums. Overcrowding and few jobs is not the only fears of the Maltese, their objections are also racially motivated- seeing the Africans as "others" or people who don't belong. People who will upset the order of how things are. This is similar to the points made by Jones. It is interesting that the Mayor stated, "The Maltese have to understand that you cant say Malta is only for the Maltese". This shows even among Maltese, sentiments are complicated.
Firstly, I had never heard of WhatsApp before, so it is interesting that it is such a seemingly popular and well known tool. The story got me thinking. For one, when I think of migrants or refugees trying to escape difficult lives, I do not consider that many would have the means to have a cell phone. At least in my experience, cell phones are quite expensive... so it is surprising that it would be so common to have one. Then, I was also considering the migration experience of the past, before cell phones existed. People often would leave family and friends behind, and never talk to them again in their entire lives. This app allows people to stay in touch over vast distances, and maintain ties with their "roots". I would think this ability to connect would make the experience easier. Also, the idea that they can communicate en route during migration to offer warnings and tips, was interesting. Along with this, and the fact that the app is encrypted; seems like it would be beneficial in regards to making dangerous trips and avoiding violence at borders.
I agree with you Stephen, a united world government, one state, would be beneficial to humanity and nature, in many ways. However, I think getting there would take something drastic. Many are not willing to give up power/control/wealth to benefit the whole. This is why ideas such as this are made out to be "conspiracy's" for the general public, and we are pushed to continue selfish consumerist lifestyles to perpetuate the cycle of capitalism.
I do not think the state is falling apart, but I do think corporations have a whole lot of influence over state actions- particulary in capitalist societies.
I found this helpful in navigating a better understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict
Toggle Commented May 4, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics
The comics were interesting. I briefly began reading them like a Manga- right to left- so I was confused at first but quickly realized my mistake. The Glidden comic referred to a "Birthright" experience, which I had no idea what that was, and had to look it up. It's apparently a 10 day free trip to Israel for Jewish young adults. Over 300,000 have participated. Here is an interesting article about one persons experience, who states the American Jews were more militant towards the Palestinians than the Israeli's. The Sacco comic did a good job of illustrating the conditions of Palestinian refugee camps. The perspective was an interesting take ... from the point of view of an American journalist, who appears to care about the plight of the refugees; but at the same time is at a loss for words when asked questions such as what do Americans think about whats going, and what are Americans going to do about it. It also ends with the sense that while he cares, he would rather be comfortable- reading books, and taking hot showers. I think this is probably an accurate viewpoint. I personally, knew there was conflict on the middle east, but have neglected to pay attention to details. This is probably common. Many Americans likely know little details about the conflict, and at the end of the day, are caught up in their own lives and personal struggles to think very much about "what to do about it". I think the viewpoint in the comic, may have been Sacco's way of drawing attention to this apathy. And, the several mentions of "another room full of men", "with tales of woe" brings attention to the fact that the conflict has been going on so long, it has become normalized to just sit and talk about it. And, in regards to addressing the conflict- its all just been more talk. In general these comics gave me a deeper understanding of the issues discussed by Jones.
That was an interesting discussion last week for sure... I also felt that it was pretty uninformed to state that immigrants, and native populations tend to "keep with their own" in regards to relationships. Personal example of that not being true- my grandma-in-law descends from the Native American Ohlone people, who intermarried among Spanish (due to colonization) and Mexican people. She had a daughter (my mother-in-law), with a black man. And my father-in-law is white. Intermarriage is actually quite common.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics
Another random share- the Barnd Reading and his mentioning of Chinuk Wawa, as well as the several mentions on this tread about there being a gap in education regarding native peoples, made me think of this. There is a teacher I substitute for from time to time, who is actually doing great things with educating students about native populations. One time there was a lesson where students were learning Chinuk Wawa. Another time students were learning traditional crafts such as basket weaving. Also, there is a free summit for educators, in Grand Ronde in June, which will discuss incorporating native based curriculum if anyone is interested.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2018 on Open thread at Geo/Politics