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Articles by Martin W. Lewis

Montana’s Changing Population Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 27, 2022 |

Montana has experienced several demographic cycles, each marked by different geographical patterns. Geographer William Wyckoff has extensively documented these changes.

Why Mapping Sovereignty Matters: IR Theory, Realism, John Mearsheimer, and the Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Martin W. Lewis | July 26, 2022 |

While there are problems with the ethnic/civic distinction,[18] it is nonetheless essential for understanding the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The ideology underwriting Putin’s invasion is one of ethnic essentialism, fixated on the world historical destiny of the Russian people, spiritually entwined with the Russian Orthodox Church. It deviates from garden-variety ethnonationalism by its imperial pretensions.

Recent Population Growth — and Decline — in Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | July 24, 2022 |

. Although most Montana countries grew sharply during this time of COVID, the Northern Great Plains continued in its seemingly inexorable decline. All of Montana’s larger cities, except Great Fall, saw rapid growth. So did Ravalli County in the scenic Bitterroot Valley, a zone of high rural population density (by Montana standards). Also of note is the growth rate of Flathead County in the northwest surpassing that of Gallatin County (which includes Bozeman) in the south-center.

Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Gains and Losses

By Martin W. Lewis | July 21, 2022 |

Although sub-Saharan Africa registered impressive improvements, it still has the world’s lowest HDI figures, and by a substantial margin. A world map showing only countries in the World Bank’s “low human development” tier, posted here, includes just three countries outside of the region (Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan).

Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Gains and Losses

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Although sub-Saharan Africa registered impressive improvements, it still has the world’s lowest HDI figures, and by a substantial margin. A world map showing only countries in the World Bank’s “low human development” tier, posted here, includes just three countries outside of the region (Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan)

Human Development Index (HDI) Rankings in South & Central America

By Martin W. Lewis | July 19, 2022 |

razilian HDI levels are higher than average in the far south (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina) and southeast (Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states), and lower in the north. But the disparities in these numbers across Brazil are much lower than they had previously been, as is evident in the final map posted here.

The Development of National Languages in the Germanic Zone of Northern Europe

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2022 |

As is largely the case across the world, the development of national languages in the Germanic zone of northern Europe was more the product of state consolidation than the reflection of preexisting ethnolinguistic communities.

South Asia’s Human Development Progress

By Martin W. Lewis | July 15, 2022 |

One of my take-home messages for college geography students is that the world is probably both in worse shape and in better shape than they realize: in the geopolitical context of war and conflict, conditions are worse than might be expected from a casual reading of the news, whereas in regard to human development they are considerably better.

Are Small Towns Really Urban Places? Eastern Montana According to the U.S. Census Bureau

By Martin W. Lewis | July 14, 2022 |

In 1910, when the urbanization rate in the United States stood at only 45.6 percent (with Montana recording 35.5 percent), it made sense to classify small towns as urban places. It no longer does. Depicting Dawson County now as “mostly urban” is misleading, based on an antiquated classification system. 

Human Development Discrepancies in (Greater) Punjab

By Martin W. Lewis | July 13, 2022 |

As can be seen on the map posted here, the HDI ranking of Indian Punjab is now significantly ahead of that of Pakistani Punjab.

Areas of Relatively High Human Development in Greater South Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | July 11, 2022 |

Today’s post continues the GeoCurrents series on the Human Development Index (HDI), focusing initially on greater South Asia. Here we look at areas with relatively high HDI figures.
For decades, the region’s highest human development levels have been found in the far south and southwest, specifically in the Indian states of Kerala and Goa and in Sri Lanka. All invested heavily …

Language and Nationalism, Part 2: State and Language in Europe’s Romance Zone

By Martin W. Lewis | July 9, 2022 |

The relationships between language, politics, and geography are highly complicated across the Romance zone of Europe, challenging any facile stories of natural language-based ethnonational solidarity.

Language and National Identity, Part 1

By Martin W. Lewis | July 8, 2022 |

(Author’s Note: This is a preliminary draft of a chapter that might be included in a forthcoming book, tentatively entitled Seduced by the Map: How the Nation-State Model Prevents Us from Thinking Clearly About the World. It includes some bibliographical citations, but they are woefully incomplete.)  
There are good reasons why students of nationalism often emphasize language.[1] Building a community, …

Mapping the Human Development Index (HDI) in Greater South Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | July 7, 2022 |

Levels of social development as measured by the Human Development Index vary greatly across the various regions of South Asia. Particularly low HDI figures are found in India’s central Ganges Valley, in eastern and western Afghanistan, and in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan.

The “Seduced by the Map” Project

By Martin W. Lewis | July 6, 2022 |

Ever since GeoCurrents was suspended in 2016 I have been working on a book project tentatively entitled Seduced by the Map: How the Nation State Model Prevents Us from Thinking Clearly About the World. This has been a valuable and enjoyable project, but the topic is so vast that the project has gotten out of hand, covering too much material …

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