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How Does Your Knowledge of the Pacific Compare to That of a Stanford Geography Student?

Submitted by on December 11, 2015 – 10:08 am |  
Dear Readers: Blogging has been light recently due to the demands of reading student essay, writing exams, and grading exams as the autumn academic term comes to an end. In my two-term class on Global Human Geography at Stanford University, I give both multiple-choice and essay exams, the first being easy to grade but difficult to write, and the second being easy to write but difficult to grade.
Pacific Test MapIn lieu of a regular post today, I am putting up a portion of my recent multiple-choice geography exam, focusing on Australia and the Pacific. Most of these questions are based on a map of the region, which is posted here.

I will put up the answers to these questions in a separate post within a day or two.

MAP 3.

1. The area marked A:

a. is a major agricultural region, marked by large sugar and cotton plantations in the north and intensive sheep and cattle ranching in the south.

b. is an Australian territory rather than state (owing largely to its small population) that has a relatively high proportion of Indigenous Australians (Aborigines) in its population.

c. is an Australian state characterized, like the rest of the country, by low population density overall, but with high density in its capital city – which contains over one million people.

d. is a large Aboriginal reserve; Australians of European or Asian descent are encouraged to visit, but they are not allowed to live there.

2. The area marked B:

a. is the core area of Australia, containing most of its major metropolitan areas, much of its agriculture, as well as most of its population.

b. is a very sparsely populated area that contains huge and highly valuable mineral deposits.

c.  is culturally distinctive from the rest of Australia owing to its location; whereas the rest of the country plays Australian rules football, it favors rugby.

d. is economically declining due to drought and the exhaustion of its mineral resources; as result, people are leaving the area for other parts of Australia.

3. The country, with two main islands, marked C:

a. is the most economically successful country in the region, thanks to its mineral wealth and high tech industries.

b. is almost entirely English in its cultural and genetic background, with fewer than 3%  of its population derived from other parts of the world.

c. has a majority population of British and Irish background, but also has a substantial and growing indigenous (Maori) population, as well as significant populations derived from Asia and from other Pacific islands.

d. is a largely rural society (unlike Australia), with few major cities, and a large (45%) indigenous minority.

4. The area marked D is:

a. an independent country, in Free Association with the United States, that contains large U.S. military bases.

b. a dependent territory of the United States; a strong independence movement here has threatened U.S. interests, leading to the withdrawal of military forces.

c. an independent country that maintains a highly traditional way of life; immigration is not allowed, and even tourism is discouraged.

d. a “Commonwealth” of the Unites States (like Puerto Rico): the people of the islands are US citizens and can freely migrate to the mainland, but they do not have US voting rights.

5. The area marked E is:

a. a self-governing, “sui generis” dependency of France that is scheduled to vote on independence within a  few years; its population is mostly divided between the indigenous “Kanaks” and the “Caldoche” European settlers.

b. an independent country that that has experienced pronounced political turmoil due to the tensions between its main island and its smaller islands.

c. an overseas department of France, and hence as much a part of France as Hawaii is part of the United States.

d. an independent country that that has experienced pronounced political turmoil due to the tensions between its indigenous population and its population of Indian ancestry.

6. The area marked with three Fs:

a. is one of the more populous and prosperous countries of the Pacific, owing to its combination of large, fertile, volcanic “high” islands and numerous atolls.

b. is an American dependency – and is the site of numerous U.S. military bases.

c. is an independent country with a small (roughly 100,000) population concentrated in its western atolls  — presenting it with a major problem in patrolling its huge “exclusive economic zone” of oceanic territory.

d. maintains strict control over its ocean territory through the use of its powerful navy –- much to the distress of its neighboring countries.

7. The country marked G:

a. is an independent country that has experienced intense struggles between its main island and its outer archipelago, leading to Australian military occupation in 2004.

b. is more prosperous than most of its neighboring Oceanic countries owing to tourism and to its successful development of an off-shore banking industry.

c. is noted for its extreme linguistic diversity; its unifying language, Tok Pisin (“Pidgin English”) is mostly based on English.

d. was a former French colony that maintains close ties to France, especially in terms of its economy (it is a major exporter of nickel).

8. The large triangular area marked H at each apex:

a. is differentiated from the rest of the Pacific-island world by the fact that most of its people are of European or Asian descent, with indigenous populations everywhere forming a relatively small minority.

b. is called “Polynesia,” but this term has little meaning, as the so-called Polynesian peoples actually speak a number of very different languages and follow very different cultural traditions.

c. was uninhabited before the coming of Europeans, hence it has no truly
indigenous peoples.

d. is called Polynesia; before the coming of the Europeans, similar languages and customs were found throughout this huge region.

9. The area marked I:

a. is an independent country that was formerly under joint British and French rule; it is also noted for its “cargo cult” religions.

b. is a “sui generis” dependency of France, noted for its mineral riches and ethnic conflict.

c. is the last remaining monarchy of the Pacific, noted for its highly traditional Polynesian culture.

d. has experienced much ethnic tension between its indigenous population and its population of South Asian (Indian) background.


Non-Map Questions

10. The initial human settlement of Polynesia:

a. dates back some 50,000 years; early human migrants were able to able to take advantage of lower sea-levels to “island hop” as far as Fiji, Samoa, and Tahiti, and New Zealand.

b. dates back some 10,000 years in the core area (French Polynesia), but migrants did not reach New Zealand, Fiji, and Hawaii until about 5,000 years ago.

c. began several thousand years ago by Austronesian-speakers (originally from Taiwan or south China0 who first moved though the coastal areas of Melanesia and then spread through all of Polynesia, reaching New Zealand roughly 1,000 years ago.

d. is thought to have involved several streams of migrants, one coming from Southeast Asia, one from Australia, and one from South America.

11. Current Australian immigration policy:

a. is highly restrictive; although many educational and tourist visas are granted, only a few hundred people a year are allowed permanent residency.

b. allows large numbers of skilled immigrants to settle permanently, but is highly restrictive when it comes to unskilled workers and to people trying to enter the country without a visa.

c. is based heavily on area of origin, with English-speaking people from Britain, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada given favored treatment.

d. is based on the notion that Australia is under-populated; unskilled people are allowed to immigrate in large numbers provided that they agree to live in lightly populated portions of the country.

12. From the late 1700s to the mid 1800s, European mariners often regarded the islands of Polynesia as:

a. a tropical paradise where the living was easy and men could easily obtain sexual relations with indigenous women.

b. with very mixed feelings: Polynesia is characterized by pronounced cultural diversity, which was well understood by Europeans – as a result, some islands were viewed positively (Tahiti) and others negatively (Solomon Islands).

c. as relatively dangerous and uninviting, in part because cannibalism was reputed to be widespread.

d. as relatively dangerous and uninviting, largely because strong Polynesian kingdoms and chiefdoms were able to keep European ships out of their harbors until the late 1800s.

13. (one point question). What is the name of the island marked K? ­­­­­­­­­__________________









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