Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Featured

The Bizarre World of Thomas L. Friedman

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2014 | 85 Comments

The February 26th print edition of the New York Times featured an intriguing opinion piece by columnist Thomas L. Friedman entitled “Don’t Just Do Something. Sit There.” Here Friedman invokes a scheme of global geopolitical division that he evidently developed with his former co-author Michael Mandelbaum, a professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins. This three-fold scheme, designed to replace …

State-Level Secession Movements in the United States: Northern Colorado and Jefferson

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2013 | 30 Comments

The intense political polarization of the United States is most clearly reflected by the dysfunctional nature of the federal government. At a more local scale, it is seen as well in the growing movement to create new states by splitting existing ones. Most of these cases involve the desire of people in rural, conservative counties to secede from the more …

Explaining the Rapid Rise of the Xenophobic Right in Contemporary Europe

By James Mayfield | July 22, 2013 | 258 Comments
Copyright James Mayfield

The last three decades have witnessed a remarkable rise in xenophobic, deeply conservative, and even extreme right-wing parties across much of Europe. Whereas thirty years ago most xenophobic parties failed to even pass the 5% minimum voter threshold that is typically required to enter government, they now constitute as much as ~28% of the parliament in countries like Austria, and arguably have reached the ~70% level in Hungary. Hoping to understand these surprising changes in the European political climate, this post will briefly analyze the characteristics of the xenophobic right as of 2013, underscore the diversity of xenophobic parties, and try to explain some of the patterns encountered when the far-right takes hold, as well as their exceptions.

Regional and Ethnic Patterns in the 2013 Iranian Presidential Election

By Martin W. Lewis | June 28, 2013 | 2 Comments

The recent Iranian presidential election revealed some interesting geographical patterns. The election itself seems to have been reasonably free, although it was undermined by the previous disqualification of reformist candidates. Hassan Rouhani, widely viewed as the most moderate and pragmatic of the six candidates, won election handily. As can be seen in the Wikipedia map posted here, Rouhani took a …

India’s Plummeting Birthrate: A Television-Induced Transformation?

By Martin W. Lewis | May 7, 2013 | 34 Comments

(Note: As can be seen, GeoCurrents has a new, more streamlined appearance. The “GeoNotes” feature has been replaced by section that highlights “featured posts,” as we found it increasingly difficult to differentiate regular posts from “notes.” We also hope that the new format will make it easier for readers to access older posts.
To initiate the new format, today’s post is …

New Maps of India—and of the Indian Economy

By Martin W. Lewis | April 30, 2013 | 17 Comments

New political maps of India are now needed, as the state of Orissa has officially changed the English spelling of its name to “Odisha.” The new name, however, does not imply a change in pronunciation. As the Wikipedia notes, “… the name Orissa is closer to the actual Oriya pronunciation of the name, whereas Odisha is an intentionally archaising transcription.”
Although …

Mappery and the Problems with “True” and “Real” Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | April 18, 2013 | 11 Comments

The useful website Mappery “was created for map enthusiasts to find, explore, and discuss great maps. Anyone can contribute maps, comments, and ratings to the site.” The site contains numerous maps, and is certainly worth exploring. Thankfully, users seldom exploit the site for propagandistic purposes. Mappery does contain, however, a few problematic political maps, such as the “Real Map of …

The New York Times’ Flubbed China Cartograms

By Martin W. Lewis | April 10, 2013 |

An interesting story in today’s (April 9) New York Times—“Hello, Cambodia: Wary of Events in China, Foreign Investors Head to the South”—is illustrated in the print edition with two striking cartograms of eastern Asia, one of which shows population and the other economic output. The cartogram legends claims that “countries and Chinese provinces are sized according to population” and, respectively …

Mapping the Cell Phone Revolution

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2013 | 5 Comments

It is often noted that inexpensive cellular telephones have revolutionized communications across much of the world, especially in poor countries that lack landlines. Confirmation of this development is found in the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which features detailed data tables for 140 countries. According to the report, 80 countries have more mobile telephone subscriptions than …

Ideological Agendas and Indo-European Origins: Master Race, Bloodthirsty Kurgans, or Proto-Hippies?

By Martin W. Lewis | November 6, 2012 | 83 Comments

This final contribution to the Indo-European series turns once again to the potential ideological agendas lurking behind theories of IE origin and expansion. As was noted previously, no other issue in human prehistory has been so ideologically fraught; the original IE speakers have been recruited to serve a variety of fantasies, ranging in temper from naively benign to unimaginably vile. For …

Mapping Your World Travels – Personalized World Traveler Map Giveaway

By Martin W. Lewis | August 1, 2012 | 62 Comments
Travel is unquestionably one of the best ways to learn geography. Over my 25 years of college teaching, I have no doubt surprised many of my students—and distressed more than a few of their parents—by advising them to travel around the world, or at least to wander aimlessly for a spell in some distant destination, before heading off to graduate …

Where Is the Caucasus?

By Martin W. Lewis | January 11, 2012 | 41 Comments
Geopolitical Map of the Caucasus

For the next two weeks or so, GeoCurrents will examine the Caucasus. This unusually long focus on a particular place derives from several reasons. The Caucasus is one of the most culturally complex and linguistically diverse parts of the world, noted as well for its geopolitical intricacy and intractable conflicts. The region contains three internationally recognized sovereign states (Georgia, …

Afterword to Terranova: The Black Petaltail; Imagining an Alternative World

By Martin W. Lewis | January 9, 2012 | 5 Comments
Terranova The Black Petaltail by Martin Lewis

(Note: Regular GeoCurrents posts will begin again on Wednesday, January 11.)
Note:  The full text of my science fiction novel Terranova: The Black Petaltail can now be downloaded here, and will remain freely available on this website. This long post is designed as an afterword to the novel, explaining the manner in which I have constructed an alternative world and crafted …

Speculative Fiction, Imagined Geographies, and Social Alternatives

By Martin W. Lewis | January 7, 2012 | One Comment

People are drawn to history and geography for various reasons. For myself, the major appeals have always been variety and complexity. I find variations in physical environments, social organizations, and belief systems intrinsically interesting. Obscure cultures, places, and times have particular appeal, as they help break the spell of the commonplace. It is all too easy to assume that one’s …

The Elaborate and Curious Geographies of Frank Herbert and J. R. R. Tolkien

By Martin W. Lewis | January 4, 2012 | 24 Comments
Bird's Map of Middle-earth Transposed on Europe

According to most sources, the best-selling science fiction novel of all time is Frank Herbert’s Dune. When it comes to fantasy literature, nothing compares with J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Both works build intricate worlds, giving obsessive attention to detail. Such elaboration proves compelling to many readers, providing what seem to be fully realized alternatives to …

?php get_sidebar(); ?>