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Articles in Myth of the Nation-State

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 2)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 11, 2016 |

[Part 1 can be read here. Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
In 2014, the Russian Federation acquired another Muslim group that may prove troublesome both within Russia and globally: the Crimean Tatars. According to the 2002 Russian census, there were only 4,131 Crimean Tatars living in the country, concentrated …

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 1)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 10, 2016 | 14 Comments

[Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
A recent article in Foreign Affairs listed the use of the French language as the best predictor of a country’s rate of Sunni radicalization and violence, and particularly of the percentage of a country’s Muslim population that joins in the international Jihad. According to …

Lecture Slides on ISIS

By Martin W. Lewis | March 31, 2016 | 15 Comments

Dear Readers,
For the next 10 weeks I will be teaching a lecture course on the history and geography of current events, which is offered in two versions, one for Stanford students and the other for the community at large through Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. This class is very demanding on me, as I must come up with new 70-minute lectures …

Tatarstan: A “Hostage of Freezing Relations between Russia and Turkey”?

By Asya Pereltsvaig | February 4, 2016 | 4 Comments

[Many thanks to Ekaterina Lyutikova for most helpful discussions of some of the issues discussed in this post, as well as for the photos, some of which are used as illustrations below. I’m also grateful to Martin W. Lewis for helpful discussions and edits and for modifying the Wikipedia map of Percentage of Ethnic Tatars, used below.]

Tatarstan has not been …

“Misled by the Map”—video lecture

By Martin W. Lewis | December 16, 2015 | 11 Comments

Dear Readers,
One of the main concerns of GeoCurrents is the thesis that the basic political map of the world, focused as it is on mutually recognized sovereign states, is a misleading document. This map purports to depict the existing global political configuration but does not actually do so. Instead, it essentially shows the world as it should be, according, that …

The Anomaly of Banaba Island: Part of Kiribati, But Administered from Fiji

By Martin W. Lewis | November 24, 2015 | One Comment

For some time I have been making a list of “geopolitical anomalies,” loosely defined as existing arrangements that defy the standard model of sovereign states exercising completely control over unambiguous, clearly delimited territorial realms. Until recently, however, one of the world’s more interesting geopolitical anomalies had escaped my attention: that of Banaba Island (also called Ocean Island) in the Pacific …

GeoCurrents Editorial: Recognition for Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland

By Martin W. Lewis | September 16, 2015 | 13 Comments

(Note: GeoCurrents is a non-partisan blog devoted to providing geographical information, particularly in reference to current global events. On rare occasions, however, opinion pieces are posted on the site. This is one of those occasions. As I regard this issue as extremely important, this post will remain at the top of the GeoCurrents page for at least the next week.)
Now …

Forgotten Modern Kingdoms of the Arabian Peninsula, Part 1

By Martin W. Lewis | July 5, 2015 | 6 Comments

Stanford University’s history department recently took its old collection of instructional maps out of storage to hang on permanent display in the hallways. This was an inspired decision, as some of these maps are gems and even the more ordinary ones have some interesting and unusual features.
A 1923 map of Asia by Denoyer Geppert Co. of Chicago, for example, is …

Mapping the Unlikely Break-Up of Nigeria

By Martin W. Lewis | June 17, 2015 | 5 Comments

As the previous post argued, electoral geography indicates that Nigeria has a problem with national unity, as the winning candidate in the 2015 presidential election received extremely few votes in the southeastern corner of the country. Such evidence, however, should not be unduly emphasized, as a sense of national identity is well established across most of the country. As a …

Final Maps on “Geopolitical Anomalies”

By Martin W. Lewis | April 5, 2015 | One Comment

This post merely contains some of the additional maps that I prepared for my March 31 lecture on the history and geography of current global events. These maps, like those in the two preceding posts, focus on geopolitical irregularities and anomalies in a region of the world that might be called the “Greater Middle East” (for lack of a better …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part 2

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2015 | 3 Comments

(note: The introduction to this post is found in the post of April 1)
Thus far we have examined a number of geopolitical anomalies in a sizable region of the world centered on Saudi Arabia. We have not yet looked at the most serious challenge to the standard model, however, that of state collapse. Other important issues remain to be considered …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2015 | 9 Comments

(Note: The introduction to this post is found in the previous post, that of April 1))
A detail from the Wikipedia map of United Nations members, discussed in the previous post, shows only one non-member in the region that we might crudely dub the “greater Middle East,” which is the focus of today’s post. That non-member is the Palestinian territory, composed …

Regional Stereotypes in Brazil

By Martin W. Lewis | November 1, 2014 | 12 Comments

As noted in the previous post, the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have distinctive voting patterns. In the 2014 presidential election, São Paulo voted strongly for the center-right challenger Aécio Neves, whereas Rio de Janeiro was the only state in southeastern Brazil to support the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff. The two states are similar in some respects, …

My Error on Ukraine’s Political Divisions

By Martin W. Lewis | October 15, 2014 | 13 Comments

Several months ago, I posted an article and a map on GeoCurrents in which I divided Ukraine into a “nationalist” region and a “Russian-oriented” region. In retrospect, it seems that most of the area that I had designated as “Russian-Oriented Ukraine” does not actually fit that category. Despite the fact that a few pro-Russian demonstrations have occurred in a number …

ISIS Advances and the Kurds Retreat In Northern Syria

By Martin W. Lewis | September 21, 2014 | 5 Comments

The struggle involving the Islamic State (alternatively, ISIS or ISIL) in northern and eastern Syria and northern Iraq is finally receiving abundant coverage in the global media. Today’s (Sept. 21) New York Times, for example, features several articles on the issue, focused mostly on the international complications generated by the conflict. Many publications in the U.S., however—including the Times—have either …

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