SED 741 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Blending History and Geography - how do we teach geopolitically?
Maps are fun - as we can see in this fantastic array of maps at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/12/40-maps-that-explain-the-world/?lines and http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/13/40-more-maps-that-explain-the-world/?hpid=z4.
These maps are not only fun, but they are instructive - they make it clear that learning geography and teaching geography is no longer JUST learning about where places are in the world. Today, geography must incorporate an understanding of how geography influences the cultural, religious, and political realities of nations, regions, and continents. Consider these definitions:
- Traditionial interpretation of geography: the study of
land, places, and the people in those lands.
- Contemporary intepretation of geography: the study of geopolitics - the influence of geography, culture, ethnicity, and religion on the
especially the domestic and foreign policies, of a nation.
Thus, teaching geography in our classrooms requires us to teach students:
- to learn to read maps by thinking about how and why maps
shape our perceptions of geography and our world; and
- to think about geography in geopolitical terms.
- Maps of War - excellent annimated, 90 second maps of "The March of Democracy," "History of Religion," "Imperial History of the Middle East," "Iraq," "WWII," "Terrorism" at http://www.mapsofwar.com/
- Rethinking Schools Map Game at http://www.rethinkingschools.org/just_fun/games/mapgame.html
- For a fun, map quiz of the United States, see http://www.ilike2learn.com/ilike2learn/unitedstates.html
- For a fun, map quiz of Africa, see http://www.maps.com/games/africa.aspx
- Find it in Europe at http://www.maps.com/games/quiz-eur.aspx
- WWI Caricature Maps at http://users.humboldt.edu/ogayle/hist111/WWICaricatureMaps.html
What we need to know about maps:
- Maps can be fun.
- Everyone can make a map.
- All maps are selective and represent a point of
- Every map is a view of the globe - to show one
view accurately, you must distort another.
- It is important to ask questions about maps.
- Maps should be analyzed in geopolitical terms.
Questions to Think About When
- For what specific purposes do you think the map was created?
- Who do you think would use this map?
- What is accurately reflected in this map?
- What is inaccurately reflected in this map?
- What story is told in this map?
- What cultural assumptions or biases are reflected on the map?
- What is at the center of the map?
- What is left in the margins of the map?
- What is entirely left off the map?
- Does the map emphasize the needs and goals of a certain class of
- Are quality of life issues reflected in the map?
- How would you change the map to better fit your needs and
Expanding the Boundaries of Our World: A
Facing the Future - an incredible web site that provides
of lessons that link geopolitical issues specifically to global
and poverty. See http://www.facingthefuture.org.
The attached handout will give you an idea of what is available at that
To order the Peter's Projection map and the 4-page teacher's guide
as well as other map projections, see http://www.petersmap.com
call ODT, Inc. at 1-800-736-1293. FAX to 413-549-3503.
Have your students use several great study tools available on the
- Teachable geopolitical map resources: