Written by Dr. Charles F. Gritzner, Distinguished Professor of Geography (ret.), South Dakota State University. The following essay, reprinted with permission, is based upon a term paper written in the late 1950s when I was a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in geography and anthropology at LSU. My interest in the Hohokam stemmed from having lived in Mesa, Arizona where we were surrounded by remnant irrigation canals, ubiquitous potshards, and some building remnants left by the culture. I read
Those of us born before the Internet revolution can recall seemingly long-lost elements of public decorum. Most prominent among them is try to remain silent and avoid embarrassment in public by shooting one’s mouth off from the hip. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. An entitlement to shamelessly express one’s ignorance without any repercussions is now a norm in public behavior. Personal annoyance aside, it is the actions that stem from cultural geographic ignorance—of particular danger to individuals and
Humans are surrounded by cultural landscapes, yet we seldom question their meaning and purpose. We also dedicate little time to considering which cultural traits make people navigate through landscapes, particularly why they love and/or fear them. Definitions In Cultural Landscape and Geography of Conflict, I described an importance of landscape: “Cultural landscape is a tangible imprint of human activity. As all human actions and reactions occur in space (geography) and time (history) the landscape can record their manifestations. In regard
The growth rate of Seattle’s commercial and residential construction, much of which I can observe from my home, has reached unprecedented levels. Satellite imagery on Google Maps cannot keep a pace with the ever-expanding Amazon campus in South Lake Union. Facebook and Google are also “sneaking in” their operational facilities closer to Amazon. Figure 1. Landscape of downtown Seattle, a tourist destination and a builders’ playground. (All photographs were taken by the author.) Recently erected residential towers designed for luxury
With the advent of commercial satellite imagery and freely available tools to use it, we can now analyze landscapes with a clarity previously reserved for spy agencies. Google Maps/Earth has been a rather useful option not only for armchair geographers, but also for those of us who prefer doing field work. To laymen, this tool allows an unprecedented access to Earth’s exploration from above. In the context of the geography of conflict, to be able to “visit”—via satellite imagery—regions and
“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference. That is why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and, when necessary, respond to foreign cyberattacks.” (John McCain, U.S. Senator, January 5th, 2017) Definition of paranoia (Merriam-Webster): A psychosis characterization
Unclaimed Benefits If by simply visiting a place one could gain essential knowledge, truck drivers would be expert geographers. This does not mean, however, that by visiting places a lay person cannot gain an amount of knowledge that may become beneficial to his/her future development. Even the shortest of visits allow us to do something a book, an atlas, or an Internet browser cannot—to develop a sense of place through direct interaction with people residing in their own living environment.
What made the United States a wonderful country to live in, among other factors, was the acceptance of individual differences. To a significant degree an individual could choose what to do with his/her life as long as no one else was harmed by those actions. It appears that, as a nation, we may be rapidly departing from those principles. Thanksgiving is an appropriate time to remind ourselves about the values we all together share. For me, it is the representation