After the first edition of our textbook was published in 2011, Kim Brown and I were surprised by how quickly world events required changes to some chapters. For example, when we wrote the first edition, the energy chapter had no mention of fracking. In the space of two years, fracking completely changed energy trends not only within the United States but also globally. In terms of regions, the area in which there has been the greatest change politically and socially over the last fifteen years has been the Arab World, particularly after the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times has a new article, “Fractured Lands: how the Arab World came Apart,” which represents long-form journalism at its best. The work puts the recent political turmoil in the region in a historical context, while using individuals’ stories to convey the experience of nations. It is the kind of writing that takes months of fieldwork to complete, and is all too rare in this age when print journalism is in decline.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/the-arab-world/
I love mystery novels, and northern mysteries in particular. My sister, Ellen Wild, has a new book Strange Things Done coming out this September. The lead character of the novel is Jo Silver; after a body is found in the Yukon river, she is drawn into a mystery that leads her to fear for her own life. You can hear about the local reaction to the body’s discovery in this brief video. I love the visual look of the website for the book, with the superimposed photos of an old Yukon building and a cemetery. This aesthetic carries through to the trailer for the book, which she filmed in the Yukon. The imagery -the woman’s hair in the river, the ice, Brandy Zdan’s music, the quirky northern bar, the barking dog- create an atmospheric glimpse of a town with secrets. Think a northern Twin Peaks. The book already has won an impressive set of awards:
2015 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel ― Winner
2014 Telegraph/Harvill Secker Crime Competition ― Shortlisted
2014 Southwest Writers Annual Novel Writing Contest ― Silver Winner
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award ― Longlisted
Shawn Smallman, 2016
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/strange-things-done/
Shawn Smallman, 2016
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/polish-folklore/
In July 2016 the CDC issued an advisory notice that warned pregnant women -or women planning to become pregnant- against traveling to 45 different countries. With the virus’s arrival in Florida, however, the public in that state is now wrestling with what this means for mothers and their partners. The issue is now becoming a topic in the election contest in Florida, as Mark Sumner described in a (not impartial) recent article in Daily Kos. In the piece he quotes Trump’s vice-chairman for Miami-Dade as saying that Zika was an “insignificant issue,” which was less important than building a wall “to keep the illegals out.” Yesterday Donald Trump himself declined to say that Congress should reconvene to vote on funding Zika research and prevention.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/zika-and-congress/
Zika has already become a significant health issue in Puerto Rico, where there have been more than 5,500 infections. More than 600 of these infections have been in pregnant women. The outbreak has also set off massive public debates on the island regarding everything from insecticides to the structure of local government. It was inevitable that Zika would eventually appear in the mainland United States. Still, it couldn’t help but be surprising to see a CDC warning about travel by pregnant women to two counties (Miami-Dade and Broward) in Florida. It’s important to keep this news in perspective. So far only 14 people have been reported to have locally acquired Zika, in a very restricted geographic area in Miami. Mosquito control activities have gone into high gear in this area. One can hear an audio copy of the briefing about this news here on the CDC website. The CDC also has a dedicated webpage on Zika, which is a helpful site for information regarding the epidemic.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/zika-in-the-continental-u-s/
Many people are aware that the Arctic is disproportionately impacted by Global Warming. I recently came across a web article titled “These infographics show how doomed the Arctic really is.” The graphs do convey in a powerful manner the rapidity with which climate change is transforming the region, particularly by melting the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. The particular danger is that there are positive feedback loops associated with climate change in the Arctic. When ice is replaced open water, it changes the albedo of the ocean surface, so that much more heat is absorbed. Significantly, when permafrost melts it releases significant amounts of methane. Accordingly, the Arctic not only witnesses temperatures that are rising much more quickly than at southerly latitudes, but also the region itself may particularly contribute to the planet’s temperature rise. For more articles on global warming and climate change on the blog, click here.
Shawn Smallman, 2016
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/global-warming-in-the-arctic/
After a military faction recently sought to overthrow the Turkish government by a coup, Turkey’s President Erdogan launched a massive and extreme purge of the nation’s military, academia, and judiciary. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, or been arrested. The government even created a separate cemetery for dead coup plotters. While the United States and European governments had condemned the coup, they were deeply disturbed by the extremism of Erdogan’s response. For European governments, the question was particularly difficult because they had relied on a deal with Turkey to end the flood of Middle Eastern migrants to Europe. The country is currently under a three month state of emergency. Amnesty International has denounced the climate of fear endured by journalists. The International Studies Association has denounced the attack on academic freedom in Turkey.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/07/wikileaks-and-politics/
One of my favorite podcasts is Reply All, which covers cyber issues in a creative and clever manner. The hosts recently had an interview (“Decoders,” episode #62) with New York Times’ journalist Rukmini Callimachi, as well as Runa Sandvik, the director of bureau security at this newspaper. In essence, Callimachi discovered a new means that ISIS had adopted to communicate, called Truecrypt. Messages are written in this code, then uploaded to files on a website. For all their sophistication and technical knowledge, however, ISIS also proved to be vulnerable to basic errors, such as failing to check the location of the server by examining its web address.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/07/isis-and-encryption/
Shawn Smallman, 2016
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/07/intelligence-failures-and-vietnam/
There are a few useful resources that I’ve found for Zika. Vincent Racaniello is a highly respected virologist, who has a popular podcast called “This Week in Virology” or “TWIV,” and a free online virology course. His lab spent decades working on polio, but recently shifted its focus on Zika. His new blog, Zika Diaries, give a sense of what science is like in an emerging field. Nothing is easy for the lab, from obtaining the virus, to acquiring permission to do experiments with mice.
One of the first tools that I try to create when working on an article is a timeline for events. With Zika, Ben Hirschler at Reuters has already done that work, and created a detailed timeline.
For anyone interested in the early history of Zika’s discovery in Uganda, I recommend Thomas K. Grose’s piece on NPR, which discusses a researcher studying Alexander John Haddow’s records in the University of Glasgow archives. Overall, NPR has outstanding coverage of the Zika outbreak.
Lastly, the CDC website offers practical information on Zika, including those areas where the Zika virus is circulating, and how to protect yourself.
Shawn Smallman, 2016
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/07/resources-on-zika/