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Customizable Maps of Russia for Downloading

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2015 |

The basic GeoCurrents customizable map of Russia has been divided into its 85 constituent units, which are officially knows as Russia’s federal subjects.

Mapping ISIS at the Institute For the Study of War

By Martin W. Lewis | December 18, 2015 | 4 Comments

(Note: This post is by Evan Lewis, not Martin Lewis.)
ISIS has proven to be as difficult to conceptualize as it has been to counteract. It has defied easy classifications and has been misunderstood and underestimated repeatedly by most of its opponents, often with disastrous consequences. In the effort to understand ISIS, its tactics, strategies, goals, and weak points, no one …

“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 …

Free Customizable Maps of Africa for Download

By Martin W. Lewis | December 14, 2015 | 3 Comments

Over the past few years, I have created a number of customizable base maps that I subsequently used to make the original GeoCurrents thematic maps that have been posted on this site (which are themselves now searchable by country and by topic). These customizable base maps were initially created by hand in Keynote, the Apple presentation program that competes with …

Answers to Last Week’s Geo-Quiz

By Martin W. Lewis | December 13, 2015 | 11 Comments
Answers to Last Week’s Geo-Quiz

The correct answers are in bold.
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. …

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

By Martin W. Lewis | December 11, 2015 |

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 …

Superb Maps from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Kurdish Issue

By Martin W. Lewis | December 4, 2015 | 4 Comments

I have been generally quite impressed with the mapping of the current war in Iraq and Syria. This is a complicated and rapidly changing conflict, and I find it highly convenient that major newspapers, magazines, websites, think tanks, and the indispensible Wikipedia provide comprehensive and often-updated cartographic coverage. The best maps that I have found come from the Institute for …

Is Japan a Religiously Divided Country? Fabian Drixler on Japan’s East/West Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | November 30, 2015 | 2 Comments

 
I was surprised by the depiction of Japan in Scolbert08’s map of world religion. The map depicts the main island of Honshu as essentially bifurcated into a more Buddhist west and a more Shinto east and northeast*; Shinto is also shown as more prevalent on the island of Shikoku and to a lesser extent in southern Kyushu, whereas Hokkaido in …

Additional Oddities of Kiribati’s Line Islands

By Martin W. Lewis | November 27, 2015 | One Comment

Before moving on from the current series of posts on Kiribati, it is worth exploring a few additional aspects of this intriguing country.
The first of these points may be somewhat trivial but is still worth mentioning: The recent Gilbertese colonization of the Line Islands undermines the stock idea that Polynesia can be delimited within a vast triangle, with apexes situated in …

The Recent Gilbertese Settlement of the Line Islands

By Martin W. Lewis | November 26, 2015 | 4 Comments

It is difficult to convey the immensity and emptiness of the Republic of Kiribati. The country extends across more than 3.5 million square kilometers (1,351,000 sq mi) of oceanic space, an area considerably larger than India. The distance between its western and eastern islands is comparable to the distance across the United States. Yet Kiribati contains only 800 square kilometers (310 sq mi) of land, …

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 …

Most Moravians Live In Tanzania: The Global Spread of the Moravian and Mennonite Faiths

By Martin W. Lewis | November 16, 2015 | 2 Comments

The Moravian Church has a good claim to being the oldest Protestant denomination, tracing its origin back to the Bohemian Reformation of the early 15th century, closely associated with Jan Huss. “Hussites” were persecuted at the time and eventually defeated in battle, and during the Counter-Reformation, Bohemia and Moravia were brought back into the Roman Catholic fold. In the Czech …

The Global Spread of Heterodox Christianity

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2015 | 7 Comments

As noted in an earlier post, I regard Scolbert08’s map of world religions as a cartographic masterpiece. I do, however, have some qualms about the categories that it employs. I am particularly dissatisfied with the “other” grouping, which is composed, according to the key, of indigenous/animist faiths, non-Trinitarian Christianity, and Sikhism. These religions, or groups of religions, hardly belong together. …

The Political Regions of Europe and the Fallacy of Environmental Determinism

By Martin W. Lewis | November 8, 2015 | 28 Comments

GeoCurrents reader Rafael Ferrero-Aprato recently brought to my attention an interesting map of political divisions in Europe made by the Dutch electoral geographer Josse de Voogd and reproduced by The Economist in 2014. Josse de Voogd notes the difficulties and limitations in making a map of this sort: “Some countries [are covered] in much greater detail than others and there …

The Lost World of the Sago Eaters

By Martin W. Lewis | November 4, 2015 | 6 Comments

The previous GeoCurrents post mentioned the Manusela people of the Indonesian island of Seram, who evidently incorporate elements of Hinduism, animism, and Christianity in their religious beliefs and practices. The Manusuela rely on the sago palm for their dietary staple, as do many other peoples of eastern Indonesia and the lowlands of Papua New Guinea. (I am referring here to …