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Articles in Cultural Geography

The Paradoxical Position of Bahia in the Brazilian National Imagination

By Martin W. Lewis | November 30, 2022 |

But the position of Bahia in Brazil’s national imagination is more complicated still. The state is also celebrated for many of its cultural practices that have spread to the rest of the country, centered on music, dance, religion, and cuisine. Such Afro-Brazilian cultural features as samba, candomblé, and capoeira are associated with Bahia but are now often viewed as essential aspects of Brazil itself. On the map of Brazilian regional stereotypes, Bahia is also noted as the land of samba. Many writers have remarked on Bahia’s paradoxical position

Amazonian Deforestation, Support for Bolsonaro, and the Roraima Mystery

By Martin W. Lewis | November 17, 2022 |

In the 2022 Brazilian presidential election, the Amazonian region was strikingly divided, as is clearly visible on the Globo map posted below. (I have added an oval and two terms on the map to mark Roraima and the Amazonian region.) Most municipalities (similar to U.S. counties) here strongly supported one candidate or the other. Bolsonaro’s zone of support lies to …

Pentecostalism, Fermented Milk, and Coffee in Ethiopia’s Sidama Region

By Martin W. Lewis | November 3, 2022 |

Christianization of the Sidama people was a complicated process involving several missionary groups. It seems that the region’s different Protestant denominations have recently converged on the highly emotional (or spiritual) mode of worship associated with Pentecostalism

Religion, Ethnicity, and Conflict in Ethiopia and Eritrea

By Martin W. Lewis | November 1, 2022 |

Most actual assessments, however, find that Eritrea is roughly half Muslim and half Christians, although some sources claim that the country is roughly two-thirds Christian, with almost 58 percent of its people adhering to the Oriental Orthodox Tewahedo Church. But nothing is clear about Eritrean demography; figures for the country’s total population range from 3.6 to 6.7 million.

Famine in Ethiopia and the Enset Solution in the Southern Highlands

By Martin W. Lewis | October 28, 2022 |

The people of the northern and central highlands subsist largely on grain, which is highly vulnerable to dry weather during the growing season. Those of the southern highlands, in contrast, subsist largely on enset, which is far more resilient. This crop, unique to Ethiopia, is a close relative of bananas and plantains.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity is NOT Eastern Orthodox, But It Did Influence Protestantism

By Martin W. Lewis | October 27, 2022 |

Arguably, the Tewahedo Church has closer ties with Protestant Christianity, especially Lutheranism, than it does with Eastern Orthodoxy. As the figure posted below shows, Martin Luther was influenced by Ethiopian Christianity, arguing that it adhered more closely to the original teachings than did Roman Catholicism.

The Ethnic Roots of the War in Ethiopia and the Paradox of Tigrayan Ethnic Identity

By Martin W. Lewis | October 26, 2022 |

Despite such cross-border ethnic ties, in the current conflict Eritrea is closely allied with the Ethiopian government against Ethiopia’s Tigrinya-speaking population. Eritrea has militarily occupied a small slice of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region and has reportedly attacked local people with brutality. No evidence of any pan-Tigrinya-speaking ethnic solidarity is readily available.

The Growing Commonwealth of Nations

By Martin W. Lewis | October 20, 2022 |

Unlike the Commonwealth Realms, the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth) is expanding, now counting 56 members. Almost all are former British colonies, and most former British colonies belong to the organization. If, as is expected, most Caribbean Commonwealth Realms drop the monarchy and become republics, they will almost certainly remain part of this international organization, mow headed by …

Iran’s Kurdish Population: Anti-Regime in the Northwest; Pro-Regime in the Northeast

By Martin W. Lewis | October 14, 2022 |

The relative conservatism of Iran’s northeastern Kurds is an interesting phenomenon that has received little attention in the English-language literature. I can only wonder whether Iranian scholars, pundits, and political activists have examined it.

Iran’s Striking Decline in Religiosity

By Martin W. Lewis | October 13, 2022 |

The Iranian government is not happy about the revival of interest in Zoroastrianism. According to a recent article in Swarajya magazine, it is “the religion that the Iranian mullahs fear the most.” Iran’s theocratic regime is also worried about Yarsan, a mystical faith with some connection to Zoroastrianism that is followed by up to one million Iranian Kurds.

Could Iran’s Government Fall?

By Martin W. Lewis | October 12, 2022 |

If these findings are accurate, it becomes questionable whether Iran’s nakedly theocratic regime can persist for long. In such circumstances, heightened repression could easily result in increased opposition. Eventually, the dam will break.

Cross-Class Connectedness in the Pacific Northwest and the Proposed State of Jefferson

By Martin W. Lewis | August 13, 2022 |

Although the fertile Willamette Valley in the northwest was settled heavily by New Englanders, most of the rest of western Oregon was substantially settled by people from the upper south. Many rural areas still have an Appalachian feel.

Mapping Cross-Class Social Connectedness

By Martin W. Lewis | August 11, 2022 |

A much larger although less populous area of high socio-economic connectedness is found the north-center-west portion of the country, centered on the western Great Lakes, northern Great Plains, and northern Rockies regions. This is, contrastingly, a largely rural and mostly agricultural area, although it does contain a few major cities, including Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Geography of Education in Montana (and the Rest of the United States)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 6, 2022 |

What stands out is the high percentages of bachelor’s degrees in three different geographical categories: affluent urban and suburban countries, especially those associated with tech hubs; non-metropolitan countries with major universities (typified by adjoining Whitman County in eastern Washington and Latah County in northwestern Idaho); and affluent high-amenity rural counties in the West (typified by Pitkin County, Colorado).

The Geography of Religion in Montana (and the Rest of the US)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 5, 2022 |

The map of religious adherence in the United States defies some common perceptions. Membership in a religious organization, for example, is shown as higher rate in southern New England than in the eastern part of the so-called Bible Belt. The data used to make these maps, however, are not necessarily accurate, and they do not measure the intensity of religious …

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