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Articles in Myth of the Nation-State

GeoCurrents Editorial: The Genocide of the Yezidis Begins, and the United States is Complicit

By Martin W. Lewis | August 7, 2014 | 90 Comments

(Note: GeoCurrents is still technically on summer vacation, allowing me time to catch up with other obligations that I have neglected. My recent essays on eco-modernism, written for the Breakthrough Institute, can be found here and here. I am interrupting this GeoCurrents hiatus, however, to address a highly disturbing and significant development. This post also violates the GeoCurrents policy on …

Robin Wright’s Audacious Remapping of the Middle East

By Martin W. Lewis | October 1, 2013 | 42 Comments

I was taken aback this past Sunday (September 29) by Robin Wright’s colorful map of a politically re-divided Middle East in the New York Times, which illustrated her article “Imagining a Remapped Middle East.” The map, entitled “How 5 Could Become 14,” shows a hypothetical future division of Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia into 14 potential new countries …

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.

103 Errors in Mapping Indo-European Languages in Bouckaert et al., Part III: From Western Russia to the Balkan Peninsula

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2012 |

(Continued) The most glaring error in the linguistic map of western Russia and environs by Bouckaert et al. concerns the labeling of Belarus. The number “22,” placed in the center of the country, is listed as signifying the “Czech E,” which presumably means “eastern Czech.” As the authors have correspondingly appended the label “Byelorussian” to a small area in the …

103 Errors in Mapping Indo-European Languages in Bouckaert et al., Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | October 4, 2012 | 4 Comments

As our criticisms of Bouckaert et al. have been extremely harsh, we must justify them in some detail. I have accused the authors of erring “at every turn,” a charge that reeks of hyperbole. But even if that claim is exaggerated, it is still not too far from the mark. To demonstrate the extraordinary density of error in the Science …

Diagramming the Area of French Sovereignty

By Martin W. Lewis | September 25, 2012 | 5 Comments

In diagramming the area of French sovereignty, I was not sure what to call the region constituted by the regular departments of France (both those in “Metropolitan France” and those located overseas); in the end I opted for “France Proper,” but it seems that there must be a better term. Some sources, including Wikipedia, place Corsica within “l’Hexagone,” but such …

Diagramming the “Greater U.S. Realm”

By Martin W. Lewis | September 24, 2012 | 8 Comments

As promised, I have posted a diagram of the “greater U.S. realm.” It is a little less map-like than the diagram of “greater UK” posted last week, as it does not differentiate east from west in regard to the placement of labels.
I was uncertain as to how to classify Guantanamo Bay. I have included it, alone among U.S. foreign military …

Diagramming the Realm of Queen Elizabeth II

By Martin W. Lewis | September 20, 2012 | 10 Comments

While contemplating Seth Jackson’s post on the lands of the British Crown, it occurred to me that a map-like diagram would be helpful for visualizing the geopolitical complexity that he described. I have posted here an attempt to do so. Feedback is welcome.
I have put a heavy black line around the “area of British sovereignty” to stress that this is …

The Crown Dependencies: What Exactly Are They?, By Seth Jackson

By Martin W. Lewis | September 19, 2012 | 7 Comments

Dear Readers,
Although GeoCurrents does not normally accept guest posts, I was so taken by this piece by Seth Jackson that I decided to make an exception. One of the main themes of this website is geopolitical complexity, and here we have it in spades!
Martin W. Lewis
 
The Crown Dependencies: What Exactly Are They?
By Seth Jackson
We often hear that the Isle of …

El Salvador to Recognize Indigenous Peoples

By Martin W. Lewis | May 16, 2012 | 5 Comments

The government of El Salvador has moved to constitutionally recognize the existence of the country’s indigenous peoples, although the measure must first be ratified by the legislature. Ratification looks likely, despite opposition from the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). The measure would not provide any direct benefits to indigenous peoples, but it could be used to help protect them against discrimination.

Mapping Language and Politics in Latvia

By Martin W. Lewis | April 12, 2012 | 4 Comments

A comment from a GeoCurrents reader last week mentioned the linguistic situation in Latvia, where almost 40 percent of the population speaks Russian rather than Latvian as a first language. As it so happens, Latvia recently held a referendum on whether to elevate Russian to the status of a second official language. The election attracted a large turnout, more than …

Hazara Exodus from Quetta

By Martin W. Lewis | February 10, 2012 | 3 Comments

A recent UN report indicates that the Hazara people of Quetta Pakistan are living in such terror that the entire community may abandon the country.

The Complex and Contentious Issue of Afghan Identity

By Martin W. Lewis | November 19, 2011 | 26 Comments
Map showing different definitions of the term

“Afghanistan” is an oddly constructed place name. It is usually said to be a Persian word meaning “land of the Pashtuns.” The widely used suffix “stan” is Persian for “place of” or “land of,” cognate with the English “stead” (as in “homestead”) and ultimately with “stand.” “Afghan” is usually considered synonymous with “Pashtun.” From the Pashtun perspective, “Afghanistan” is an …

Further Problems with the “Ethnolinguanymic State” Concept: The Case of Afghanistan

By Martin W. Lewis | November 17, 2011 | 28 Comments
Map of Underfit States

Last Saturday’s post on “ethnolinguanymic states” generated pointed criticisms, especially from Maju, whose frequent comments on GeoCurrents are much appreciated. I realized afterward that the main problem was a lack of clarity in the initial post. The ultimate point was not to argue that “ethnolinguanymic” countries (those whose names incorporate the names of their main language) should be regarded as …

Afghanistan and the Ethnolinguanymic State

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2011 | 46 Comments
Map of Ethnolinguanymic States

A recent GeoCurrents post noted that Afghanistan is not a nation-state, lacking the requisite solidarity. Yet the very name of the country might lead one to expect a relatively high level of cohesion derived from a common ethnic background. To coin a term, Afghanistan is an “ethnolinguanymic state”—that is, a state named after a dominant ethnic group that speaks a …

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