01 April, 2007

How americans learn Geography:
the Course Handbook

World Geography 101 (for americans)
Semester 1.. Introductory Level

Example of cartography for Introductory studies in
Geography for american students (Semester 1)

Subject Outline: There are countries in the world other than the USA. These countries mostly contain people who are not americans. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but they sometimes these stubborn people have good stuff that we want. When they won't sell it cheaply, then that's Evil and should be corrected by whatever means necessary, including UN sanctions.

Assessment: Students will write essays and media sound-bites paraphrasing these sentiments in a variety of ways approved by the authorities.

World Geography 102 (for americans)
Semester 2... Advanced Level
Pre-requisite: World Geography 101

Example of Cartography for Advanced studies in
Geography for american students (Semester 2).

Subject Outline: Students will learn actual names of countries which have good stuff. Extra credit can be gained by knowing what the good stuff is, and why it’s good.

Assessment: Students will make a mock-up of a Monopoly board game using names of countries. The 'Chance Cards' must be designed to favour american business interests by way of Free Trade Agreements, installing Democracy via coups, financial blockades, sanctions, or corporate takeovers.

Postgraduate Studies in World Geopolitics
Full year study
Available to American citizens only
Pre-requisite: World Geography 102

A fine example of a Postgraduate student project: this is the only advertising icon recognizable from Space. Postgraduate Geography students produced this 6-acre image on behalf of the CIA. Information about the source of funding can be obtained at www.FederalTreasury.com/corporate-sponsorship/kfc provided you have a Republican Senate ID and all 666 security passwords.

Subject Outline: Students will be placed as interns with CIA Intelligence (on half pay), personally advising the President on routine decisions such as going to war. They will be expected to know the names of countries containing good stuff, whether their leaders can be bought off or otherwise disposed of. Students will also be expected to calculate budget estimates for pre-emptively defending Freedom in countries with particularly good stuff such as Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, as well as Somalia and Sudan.

A geographic feature is more likely to be noticed by average americans if there is a tourist attraction (preferably franchisable) attached to it, a valuable resource buried somewhere under it, or if it has an out-sourceable labour force with ultra-low wages.

The US Dept of Agriculture took an interest in maps only when they
were promised profits by the dairy industry.

The potential of mapping geographical landmarks in Outer Space, particularly Mars , is now being studied at postgrad level. (What is a Mar, anyway?).

Of course, many under-privileged americans will probably not be able to afford the college fees. Ironically, most of these people originated from a remote place called “Africa”. Because they’re effectively excluded from Geography 101, they’ll never get to learn where Africa actually is. This will make them better citizens because they are helping to preserve the corporate Status Quo – someone’s got to work the plantations and sweatshops and fight for the US Military... right?

Now - back to reality for genuine geographers. Here is a link to an excellent interactive world map to help anyone, even housebound americans*, to get a better handle on world geopolitics. Published by Reuters, it allows you to search or select countries/cities, zoom in/out etc, and to choose Map, Satellite photo, or a hybrid of the two. Request it to highlight areas of conflict, hunger etc. This link shall henceforth live in the right-hand column of FunkyPix2 under “Useful links 4u” in the right-hand column of this blog. Like all links in FunkyPix2, it will open in a new window for your convenience so you can toggle between the map and other pages.

*My sincerest apologies to the many thinking Americans (notice the capital A) who are aware of and vocally disapprove of their government's rapacious habits. There are many of you who have escaped here to Chiangmai as expatriates, including, believe it or not, Elvis!

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