Tag Archives: reviews

Book Review: Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Book Review: Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History – by Eleni Birhane. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History. Trevor Getz and Liz Clarke. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780199844395

[image of book cover from Oxford University Press, see: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/abina-and-the-important-men-9780190238742?cc=us&lang=en& ]

An unfortunate consequence of the “age of information” we live in is that people’s attention spans and tolerance for long readings has shortened significantly. Graphic histories such as Abina and the Important Men might be a new trend in the academic world as an answer to this phenomena.

Abina and the Important Men is a relatively short graphic history that depicts a brief period of time in 1876, Gold Coast of West Africa (present day southern Ghana). It is non-fictional historical study based on an interpretation of a court case transcript found in the historical archives of the country. The book was written by Trevor Getz, a historian and author and Liz Clarke, a graphic artist and illustrator. There are five parts to the book; in the first part, with the help of graphic illustrations we are taken through the story of how Abina Mansah charged Quamina Eddoo, an important and wealthy man in the Gold Coast, with the crime of having kept her as a slave. At the time the Gold Coast was under the British colony and was subject to British laws, which prohibited slavery. Although Abina was unsuccessful in the end, the story brings to light issues such as the balance between justice and “keeping the peace” and the conception of slavery and rights at the time.

The authors did a good job in providing context and illustrating the validity of the story of Abina. The second part of the book provides the actual words written in their primary evidence (the transcript). This allows the reader to make interpretations his/her own and decide if the authors presented a legitimate one. The third part gives a thorough context to the story by providing information about the early history of the Gold Coast, including its inhabitants and various leaders. It familiarises the reader on the practice of slavery both in the Gold Coast and in the broader world at the time and gives further descriptions of the specific people in the story (from what is found in other historical documents and oral histories). Finally in the fourth part, the authors engage in explaining the process through which they came to their interpretation of the text. They do this by providing philosophical, ethical and methodological answers to the questions “Whose story is this? Is it a true story? Is it an authentic story?” in three levels of complexity.

Multiple times within the book the authors mention the reason behind their efforts towards this project; they wanted to bring to light a part of history that had been forgotten and ignored by historians and use it to bring more insight towards the lives of the people. The book did just that. It created a way in which the reader could really understand that period in time. It allowed the reader to connect with Abina and understand her struggles in the context of where and when she lived. Unlike most history books that simply state names, dates and events this one encourages the reader to look beyond and explore the real lives of people we study.

The fifth part of the book deals specifically with how to utilize the book in a classroom setting. It explores different facets of the story and how it might apply to different studies like Africa, gender and slavery. It even has a list of reading questions designed for students at different levels (high school, college and advanced undergraduate and graduate students). Depending on how deeply and focused (towards a certain topic) one is when reading the book, it can be used to examine a multitude of issues in a historical context. It is, of course based on primary material that covers a very short amount of time and a limited area in history so the text might not be as useful for studies with a broader scope.

Abina and the Important Men is the first of its kind and shows a promising future for similar texts. It utilizes real historical evidence and comes up with a way to convey history in a more approachable and relatable manner. Its breakdown simplifies the process of understanding history and its ramifications.

Eleni serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Eleni Birhane, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

A Review: Immigration Stories from St. Scholastica Faculty – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Review: Immigration Stories from St. Scholastica Faculty – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

 

From Professor Liang, NSR Editor-in-Chief: Thanks to Office of International Programs Director Alison Champeaux and student assistant Eleni Birhane for organizing this panel discussion.

The College of Saint Scholastica Office of International Programs sponsored a recent event at CSS during which three professors who immigrated to the U.S. shared their stories, advice, and general information about the immigration process. True stories about immigrants are hard to find in our current political environment. Both sides of the political spectrum use immigrant stories as a form of propaganda. The lack of real stories or true information leads many of us to be ignorant of what is really going on with immigration, luckily CSS is fortunate enough to have a few professors who are themselves immigrants and who were willing to speak about their experiences.

Each of the three professors spoke eloquently and intelligently, each with their own style and flair, but each professor spoke well to the audience of mostly students. There were many students at this event, surprisingly few faculty were in attendance. Some classes encourages students to come and watch and it appeared that quite a few students came because of general interest. All of the speakers are professors, and they all had varied experiences in their immigration stories and process. Professor Chaparadza is from Zimbabwe, Professor Alwan is from Iraq, and Professor Liang is from Taiwan. One professor came to the U.S. with his family as a child in 1978, one came in 2003 after a teacher told him there would be more opportunities for getting into a Ph.D program, and one came in 1978 to study medicine, but ended up studying civil engineering.

The talk was moderated by Office of International Programs Director Alison Champeaux ,who kept the discussion moving and asked questions of the three professors before the discussion was opened up to student questions. The moderator’s questions included “How American do you feel? How do you stay connected to your cultural identity? What do you see for the next generation? Where do you see our biggest need or what is the biggest driver to change immigration laws in the U.S.?”

The speakers had differing ideas about how American they feel. A common thread however was that after this last election they all felt more excluded from their Americanness. That as of late it is impossible not to feel conscious of that fact that some may not view them as American. In a way that currently it is common to feel ‘othered’ within the United States, even after living, working, and raising a family for years or decades in the U.S. Even after becoming U.S. citizens they now feel as though there is not a lot of room for flexibility in defining what being an American is. Being an American is “tricky” as one speaker said. Now it is even more tricky than it has been in the past.

Although each of the speakers is a professor, pays taxes, gives back to the community and probably knows more about the American system of government than the average student, let alone citizen, they now feel ostracized in their own country. The United States really is their country, they consider themselves American and have the legal status to be so. Yet discrimination rears its ugly head, whether openly or subtly.

They told stories of how long and arduous the process of becoming a citizen is, that it is very expensive, costing thousands of dollars and years. One speaker said that it took him 13 long years to get his sister into the U.S, even after he signed all the paperwork saying he would pay for all of her expenses, including living expenses once here. The sheer amount of time that the process takes to go through is astonishing to someone like me who is not familiar with it.

When asked what needs the most changing in the U.S. in terms of immigration legislation the three speakers all made good points, all different, but related, to each other. The first said that the U.S. needs to focus on brains, possibly copying the system in the United Kingdom where an individual earns certain numbers of points for skills and when a certain threshold is reached they are in. The second speakers said a points system is a good idea, but that more than that these laws and decisions need to be made with reason and not with emotion and anger. Decisions need to be based on a reasonable reality more than they are today. The last speaker said that what needs to change is one word, simplify. The process needs to be more simple because the complexity and length and expense almost forces, or at least encourages, people to do things illegally.

All three agreed that there needs to be more education on the immigration system and about what immigrants are actually like and looking for in the U.S. They all agreed that the average American student should know more, be taught more, about immigration and immigrants in America today so that propaganda from both sides of the political aisle is not taken as fact.

At the end of the talk one student asked what advice the three professor would have for the average white American male in terms of these issues. The professors thought this was an excellent question and their answers, all detailed and specific in their own ways, I will summarize as not being afraid to ask questions. That we cannot come to understand one another if we do not ask questions. Considerate thoughtful questions are needed for all sides to get to know each other and to better understand issues around immigration and immigrants themselves.

Fortunately St. Scholastica and the CSS Office of International Programs was able to hold an event where those kinds of questions could be asked and discussed. Immigrant stories are important, especially today, and the whole country could probably use a few more events like this one.

Matthew serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

19 Comments

Filed under Matthew Breeze, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

becca-s-review-progressive-immigration

On February 9th, 2017, I attended the lecture “A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” by Professor Philip Cafaro at The College of St. Scholastica, which was sponsored by the Alworth Center. As someone who knows little about immigration and its true impact, I felt compelled to attend this lecture and the lecture on March 7th – Justice and the U.S. Immigration Policy with Aviva Chomsky. When I first learned about the topic of the lecture, I bristled at the prospect. Most of my experience with hearing about immigration consisted of hopeful stories of people coming and making better lives for themselves and their families, so the prospect of reducing this opportunity for people didn’t seem like a good option. Philip Cafaro cited economic inequality and an unsustainable society as the two main concerns of immigration and noted the problems that it can create.

The first of the problems that was addressed was the economic inequality that the current immigration policy of the U.S. is to blame for. Cafaro interviewed many people in the hard labor or small business field, immigrant and non-immigrant, and used stories to show how immigration has an effect on the middle and lower classes. For example, one of the people he interviewed, Tom Kinney, owned his own business that is now failing. He attributed the failing to two reasons. First, bigger companies that did the same type of work exploit immigrants and pay them a non-living wage because they can get away with it, thus making the bigger companies rates lower. Secondly, not all immigrants pay taxes like he did for his business, so they could work for lower rates, but do the same work. Cafaro also pointed out the fallacy that U.S. citizens refuse to do hard labor, so immigrants are stepping up and doing those jobs. Kinney and Cafaro believe that it isn’t that U.S. citizens are refusing the work, they are refusing the pay that goes along with the work. In his interview, Kinney stated that because a lot of people don’t like those kinds of jobs, they used to pay well. At least, they used to pay a living wage. Now, because of big companies and the lower/no tax rate, these positions generally aren’t paying a living wage.

Cafaro also noted that immigration is often looked in oversimplified terms. There will be winners and losers in any immigration policy, but he argued that that shouldn’t stop the government from changing things. Cafaro argued that wealthy, better educated workers are less impacted than the working class. Legal fields have fewer immigrants (7%) in the job pools than farming/fishing fields (36%). While people who earn higher wages support immigration because goods and services are less expensive, the current immigration policy, or an open boarder, will not help working class citizens. This argument was surprising to me, as I had grown up in a middle class household and had parents whose positions and careers that were not impacted by immigration, but benefited off of the lower priced goods and services. In the question/answer section of the lecture, Cafaro did acknowledge that it is possible that technology has impacted farming/fishing fields, and others like it, but that the fact that technology has had an impact should show why job pools should not be flooded. He argued that tightening up the labor market created the Golden Age post WWII, and that the U.S. should be doing the same thing now. A tightened labor market isn’t the only reason Cafaro believes that the U.S. should create a lower immigration policy.

The environmental impact of overpopulation is vast, and Cafaro believes that we could consider the U.S. to be the most overpopulated country, based on consumption. It is no secret that our society is largely not being created in a sustainable way. If we want to have an ecological and sustainable society, which Cafaro believes we need to have, we need to reduce population. An obvious solution may be to suggest and promote having fewer children, but Cafaro argues that U.S. citizens are already doing that. Instead of larger families, like we have seen in the past, many parents are only having two children. However, at the same time, Congress is raising immigration limits. A question from the audience member brought up the point of making efforts to consume less, so there doesn’t have to be a reduction of immigration. Cafaro responded by saying that the resources that we save should not be making room for more people to come in and use them. If a city was to reduce its water usage by 20%, Cafaro argues that that remaining water should be left in rivers and for the environment. It should not be used for 20% more people to use it. Cafaro believes that it’s selfish to take land and water away from ecosystems and animals and in doing so we will see harmful repercussions to humans.

Sprawl is also detrimental to ecosystems and species. When sprawl occurs, there is an increase in water and land consumption, and a loss of habitat. Cafaro believes that we have a responsibility to save species from extinction, when their populations are rapidly decreasing because of humans. We do not have the right to take a species’ right to live. While he notes that sprawl can certainly happen without immigration, it happens much more rapidly when immigration is a factor. With Cafaro’s education and activism background, he doesn’t believe that we can create a sustainable society with the population we have now, let alone what the population would be in 2100. The chance for a sustainable society gets slimmer with a larger population.

So what is the U.S. to do about it? Cafaro proposed four ideas that would not only reduce immigration, but would also help other nations. Firstly, he proposed to cut immigration to 300,000/year. Currently, immigration limits are over 1 million per year. Cafaro broke down the different subsections of immigration, from families to refugees/asylum seekers. The largest cut would be to family immigration. Cafaro suggests that letting a nuclear family immigrate is not the problem, but when someone brings much of their extended family with. It is important to note that he only wants to make a sliver of a cut to refugees/asylum seekers immigration numbers. We have a moral responsibility to help and assist those in need. The second idea Cafaro proposed is to implement a national employee verification program, where there would be strict sanctions against employers who exploit immigrants. Next, he proposed to pass carefully targeted amnesties. A story of an immigrant who worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for 25 years was discussed, and Cafaro believes that people who have worked hard like that immigrant should be given amnesty and citizenship. Finally, Cafaro proposed reworking trade agreements and helping people live better lives in their own countries.

Before this lecture, I would not have considered a reduced immigration policy for the purpose of economics beneficial. The lecture opened my eyes to the fact that I might be viewing immigration policies in a position of privilege. However, if the government acts to reduce immigration, but the greed of many corporations and big businesses stay the same, it is possible that the prices of goods and services will go up, causing me, and people like me, to reconfigure budgets. On the other hand, people should be able to live on the wage that they are being paid and not struggle to pay for things like water, nutritious food, and heat. Cafaro recognizes that there will be choices that need to be made – should there be cheaper housing prices or good wages for construction workers? While having both might be an obvious choice, Cafaro believes that there will need to be a choice because of immigration.

The impression I got was that Cafaro was basing his lecture off of how the country is moving – not off of idealistic theories of how the country should be moving. However, if Cafaro really looked at how the government functioned, he would see that it has trouble making decisions and rarely does things to help people in other countries if there is no benefit for itself. He also didn’t take into consideration the culture of the U.S. and what we consider a good life, may create trouble in other countries. Just because the government considers certain things and values to be a good life does not mean that the citizens of the country where the program would be implemented feel the same. There would have to be communication between the U.S. government and other country’s government and citizens in order to determine what would be best for the country. While I would hope that the U.S. government would be able to do so, it does not have a history of successfully doing this. A question brought up by a student asked about the responsibility that we have to people in other countries because of bad U.S. policies that have caused them to immigrate to the U.S. Cafaro believes that we do have a responsibility to help people, especially because of U.S. action, but it should be helping them within their own countries. It was suggested that the students who come to the U.S. to study should then go back to their own countries to help improve them, which makes sense on the surface, but on a deeper and realistic level, is not always that simple or easy.

The general sense of Cafaro’s arguments was that while his lecture was a response to how the country was moving and based his argument off of that, he did not necessarily offer realistic ways to change it. His ideas in response were also idealistic. Cutting immigration to a third of what it is now is unlikely to happen soon. We have seen that big businesses often have their interests valued higher in the government due to their ability to “donate” to campaigns, so how do we change the government and big business culture? Change is going to have to happen on multiple levels and in multiple ways if we want to a) create an ecological and sustainable society and b) seriously make efforts to create economic equality within the U.S.

Rebecca serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Rebecca Smith

Photo Essay – Reviewing London as a Tourist-Friendly City – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Photo Essay – Reviewing London as a Tourist-Friendly City – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

beccalondon1

This summer, I took the opportunity to travel to London with a London Theatre and Literature group from St. Scholastica. Before I left, I was prepared to be floundering in a huge city, not knowing where to go or how to get there. I was ready to be incredibly reliant on the two professors that were going, prepared to follow them around like a sheep. However, once I got to London, I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate the city and how tourist-friendly everything was. London is a very large and historic city that could very easily have been impossible to find my way around, but it has made many efforts to help tourists figure out where they are and keep them safe. There was one way in particular that the history major in me adored, but for the most part, London figured out a simple and basic way to make the city tourist-friendly.

The streets of London are filled with these directions for people to look in the direction that the traffic will be coming from. London intersections can be a little difficult to navigate, as sometimes it’s necessary to make three crossings when the object is to simply get from one side of the street to the other, so these directions can be incredibly helpful for tourists – especially since most of the world drives on the right side and is used to the traffic coming from a different direction than it does in London. This is a great example of how tourist – friendly London is.

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The Tube, or Underground, is an excellent way for tourist to get around the city. Although it can be a little confusing to navigate at first, there are maps and signs telling people which tunnel to go through to get to a certain line. Everything is very clearly marked, and the employees are also very friendly and helpful. Depending on the line, an automated voice will tell you what landmarks the stop is close to. The automated voice also will announce which stop is coming up and also to “Mind the Gap”. In the morning, around lunch hour, and evening are very busy times for the Underground, so I’d recommend not using the Tube during those hours until you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going. The cars come every few minutes, so there generally isn’t too much of a wait. Londoners also don’t really talk on the Tube and keep to themselves, so I would recommend following that social rule. Nothing screams “tourist” more than a group of obnoxious people talking loudly on the Tube. Although it’s very unlikely that anyone would say something about it, they’re all definitely thinking it. Overall, the Tube is a very convenient and simple way for tourists to explore the city.

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Every block, there are posts like this with a map showing where you are and how long of a walk it takes to get to something in the vicinity. The map on the bottom with the larger circle shows everything within a 5 minute radius. The map on top with the smaller circle shows everything within a 15 minute radius. I came to rely strongly on these, as they were incredibly helpful and, as I mentioned before, were everywhere. These are much more easy to follow than a big map of London, or a map at a bus stop (don’t use those – you’ll get severely turned around). I was impressed that London put them up, making navigating much easier for tourists. These would be very helpful in the big cities in the United States. Although I can’t say they aren’t in any city in the U.S., I haven’t seen them in New York City, Chicago, or Minneapolis/St. Paul, but they would be very useful.

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One thing I did find challenging about navigating London’s streets were the road signs. Often, they are placed on the sides of buildings, and sometimes they were nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but oftentimes the streets would turn into different streets a block down, but the map wouldn’t account for that, leaving tourists searching for a street to turn down, only to be blocks past it, not knowing they had to turn down an street with a different name (not on the map) to arrive at the street they were looking for. However, London is such a historic city and the streets have been named the way they were for years, so although it did cause some frustration, I’d hate to see them change it.

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These were one of my favorite tourist-friendly markings. All over the city, small blue plaques can be found on buildings saying what the site used to be, or what great event happened there. The plaques are reminders of how old the city really is, and how different it used to be. As a tourist, I loved finding these because they’re a peek into London’s past and show what is important to London. I participated in a Shakespeare walking tour, and while there were some blue plaques, the guide explained that there should be many more plaques about him, but London isn’t too fond of Shakespeare (the guide was strongly biased towards the idea that Shakespeare was one of the most important people ever to live in London, however).

London had a thoughtful variety of ways to make the city tourist-friendly. I never expected it to be so easy to navigate and, because of that, I was able to more deeply immerse myself in the culture of London. Although there were a few things that caused difficulties, the city should be used as a model for cities with large numbers of tourists. I’m appreciative of the lengths that London has taken to make exploring the city simple to tourists, without creating inconveniences for the citizens. My trip to London was not what I expected it to be, but better because of the helpful markings and signs that are scattered all over the city. Out of all the cities I’ve been to, London was definitely the most tourist-friendly.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and its Connection to the Globe — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and its Connection to the Globe — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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Compared to other states, I would not consider Minnesota to be a place of lengthy history or diverse culture. However, the more I look into historical places within the state, the more I discover about its past. When visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, I came across groups of people from other cultures all sharing a common joy of art or a common enjoyment of spending a beautiful summer’s day outdoors. I was very surprised to find how busy the garden was and how many different languages I heard. I listened to the voices of a Spanish-speaking family and heard young voices from an Asian culture. The photograph below shows the crowds that gathered to see the most famous piece of art work at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Spoonbridge and Cherry by Swedish born and American artist Claes Oldenburg. Diverse cultures gathered around the Spoonbridge and Cherry to experience its immense size and to take a picture with the iconic sculpture.

The main attraction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is of course the Spoonbridge and Cherry, but there are also just as beautiful works of art to be found amongst the garden. My favorite part about walking around and looking at the art was to stop and listen to what others thought and reacted to the same piece I was looking at. Prophecy of the Ancients by Brower Hatcher, the wire doom shaped piece seen below, got quite the conversation of human civilization flowing between two women. They were talking about the inventions stuck in the wire of the dome and of the constellations beyond.

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It was amazing to hear the intellectual conversations that came out around the art pieces but personally it was what the children said that introduced a whole new prospective on the art pieces. As a future teacher, I thrive for imagination and creativity from kids that offer a new analysis on life, history, and in this case, art. One child proclaimed that the Bronze Woman IV looked like Humpty Dumpty after he had fallen from the wall. This observation may seem childish and humorous but it adds a perspective on the shape of the sculpture. The gentle curves of the sculpture can be compared to a splattered yolk on the ground as if Humpty Dumpty just fell and broke his shell in front of a brick wall.

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Perspective-taking was another key feature of the Sculpture Garden. The art of the Sculpture Garden is meant to be more interactive than art found in a museum. The art can literally be looked at from any angle and can even be interactive in the sense that people can climb on the art, as seen below.

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One of my favorite pieces was called Double Curve by Ellsworth Kelly. I enjoyed this piece because from every angle the two massive curves changed shape. Some young women approached me and informed me that if I look directly up at the two curves one would look straight and the other bended. What I got out of this piece is that there is not one and only one perspective on anything whether it is art, music, movies, or life. Everyone has their own way of looking at things. My time at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will never be the same as anyone else’s. I encourage anyone who wants to experience other cultures, look at art while taking a nice walk, or try something new to visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It is a little piece of Minnesota that connects globally to the world.

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Samantha Roettger serves as a Social Media editor for The North Star Reports and is a student at The College of St. Scholastica.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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We are Hmong Minnesota Exhibit — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

We are Hmong Minnesota Exhibit — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Main poster, found on google, used to advertise the Hmong exhibit]

Over spring break of 2015, went to the “We are Hmong (Peb Yog Hmoob) Minnesota” at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. The event celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Hmong’s migration to Minnesota. I attended the event with my parents, who were part of migration after the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia. It was a great experience to see actual pictures and artifacts that date back to how life was like before, during, and after the war. The exhibit helped me understand some of my parents’ unusual behaviors that I noticed while I was growing up. For example, I now know why my parents have a big obsession with gardening/farming and why there is a collection of bamboo baskets stored the basement that has never been used before. Furthermore, after the exhibit I have learned to value and appreciate my family’s history, the history of the Hmong people, and their journey in North America.

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Gardening/farming was the main occupation that many Hmong people had when they lived in Southeast Asia. From my parents’ experience, farming was a full-time job consisting of about eight hours of farming plus another four to six hours of walking to and from the farm. That would be a total of twelve to fourteen hours of transportation and farming every single day.

My parents’ farm in Laos was not close to home, so they would get up every day and walk about three hours to get to the farm before sunrise. After farming all day, they would head back to the village during sunset to get home before dark and then the farming routine was repeated the next day. Due to my parents’ upbringing as farmers, this fact/experience explains why my parents have a big passion for farming. To them, farming is a way to remind them of how life was like in Laos.

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Here is an image of common household items found in a Hmong household in Southeast Asia. All of the items are made out of bamboo that was woven together to produce strong baskets for storing rice and farming produce. Brooms are also made out of bamboo to ensure strong bristles for collecting dirt when sweeping the floor.

In my parents’ house in the Twin Cities, they have at least one of each items in the above photo stored in the basement. The items in my parents’ house were bought from Hmong markets that were all handmade by elders in the Hmong community in St. Paul. My parents used the broom a couple of times in the house, but the other items have never been used. . I asked my parents why the items are stored and not used. They mentioned that the bamboo items are a collection to give away as presents to me and my siblings on our respective wedding days. It is also a way to remind us of our cultural roots and where our ancestors came from.

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These two outfits were some of the military uniforms worn by Hmong soldiers during the Secret War. The exhibit also displayed the actual medals of two well-known Hmong soldiers: Touby Lyfoung and Col. Ly Teng ( though I am not one-hundred percent sure/ certain if these two well-known soldiers’ medals are displayed in this photo or in another section of the exhibit).

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This is a display of some of the artillery remains collected from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was the location that had the most bombing activities.

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This is a photo of the bus transportation in Thailand where Hmong and other refugees were transported to the airport. Planes flew them to North America, Europe, and Australia. Not all of the refugees were granted transportation to the three locations. Only those who had family members that (who?) served with the U.S. CIA during the Secret War were granted the opportunity to be relocated.

My parents were qualified to come to the U.S. because of my great-grandfather and grandfather’s involvement with the CIA. They mentioned that this was an incredibly long process and a miserable experience. This unpleasantness was due to the amount of people trying to get through. Those who were not qualified to be transported caused a scene, and most of all, many families were split up during this process. My mom got separated from my dad and grandma, but they were able to relocate each other at the airport.

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Lastly, this is a board showing the first few photos taken in Minnesota when the Hmong first arrived in the U.S. in 1975. The display consists of multiple images depicting how the Hmong adapted to American life in Minnesota during the late 1970’s. The top photos are Hmong children attending school throughout the Twin Cities area and joining sports teams.

In conclusion, the “We are Hmong Minnesota” exhibit was a phenomenal experience for me. It is a great way to educate the Minnesota community about who the Hmong people are. After seeing what the Hmong people and my ancestors have gone through, I value my culture and identity much more. I am also more appreciative and feel blessed that my parents are doing all they can to remind us not to forget our original roots, as represented by their passion for farming and collection of traditional bamboo baskets as wedding presents.

If you are interested in visiting the “We are Hmong Minnesota” exhibit, please visit http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/we-are-hmong-minnesota for more details.

Bao Vang serves as Social Media Editor for The North Star Reports and is a student at The College of St. Scholastica.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review of the Book, The Power Struggle in Iraq — The North Star Reports – by Antonio Hall. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review of the Book, The Power Struggle in Iraq — The North Star Reports – by Antonio Hall. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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The Power Struggle in Iraq. Benjamin Shwadran. New York: Council for Middle Eastern Affairs Press, 1960.

Abstract: The Power Struggle in Iraq serves as a roadmap to those in the West who were aware of the new government which took power in Iraq following the Coup of 1958, but were unsure how it would affect the West, especially in terms of economics and politics. Author Bejamin Shwadran begins with a retelling of conditions that led to the coup which transpired in 1958. Iraq’s monarchy allowed Western imperialists to hoard Iraqi oil and the farming industry while leaving the Iraqi people in a disenfranchised condition. Arab countries, Iraq, Egypt, and the United Arab Republic (or former Syria) in particular, were pitted against each other, thwarting the aim of Arab nationalism. Shwadran details formal and informal alliances between Arab nations and their supporters among major powers around the world, and the ways they led to conflict.

The Power Struggle in Iraq by Benjamin Shwadran highlights the key moments, contributors, and ramifications of the Qasim regime. The book was intended to illuminate the status of Iraqi politics, economy, and its national and international identity post-revolution in relation to Western societies. Shwadran, a retired professor of Middle-Eastern affairs, is Jewish and was born in Old Jerusalem in 1907. In 1960, The Council for Middle Eastern Affairs Press in New York published this book as means to educate the recently removed imperialists of the West about the status of Iraq at that time. Shwadran emphasizes early and often throughout the book that Westerners must take into account that Iraqis live in a culture and society very unfamiliar to them. As the book was written in 1960, it focuses on only the first 21 months after the regime of General Abd al-Karim Qasim took control of Iraq during the coup in July of 1958 and formed a republic.

Gen. Qasim was in favor of a united Arabic movement but was indifferent to the goal of establishing a solidified and independent Iraq. President Nasser of Egypt, on the other hand, wanted to unite, and even control, the entire Middle East. Nasser utilized his political and economic ties with the communist Soviet Union and the countries of Western capitalists to remain atop the Middle East hierarchy. Nasser wanted Qasim and the newly liberated Iraq to be encompassed in the Arab nationalist movement. By doing this, Nasser hoped to gain influence over Iraq’s oil and agricultural industries. The Soviet communists and Western capitalists both initially backed Nasser in his push to unify Arabic nations because they were uncertain of the new Iraq leadership and how it would recognize the provisions of the 1955 Baghdad Pact. Qasim knew this, so he remained impartial toward Iraqi allies such as the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as Nasser and the Arabic unification movement. In this eight-chapter book, Shwadran addresses the issues that Gen. Qasim and his followers faced during the first 21 months of power. These included the franchising of the Iraqi people, incorporating a new ideology of political and economic reform, ridding the country of anarchists who did not share his ideals, and remaining devoted to Iraq while supporting the trans-Arabic movement for all of the Middle East.

Shwadran emphasizes how the medium of radio in Iraq and Egypt played an important part in the propaganda both for and against Arab nationalism. Most of the primary sources used in the book are speeches made by Gen. Qasim of Iraq and the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Whether the leaders were calling for Arab nationalism, combating each other’s ideals on independence, or arguing the question of alignment with communist or capitalists, it was communicated primarily by radio. The Mahdawi court system was another key component of the Qasim’s regime that utilized television and radio broadcasts to spread ideology and propaganda to the people under the new Iraqi government. These public hearings became a dramatized condemnation of members and supporters of the old Iraqi government and those who were believed to be against Gen. Qasim and his regime.

More broadly, it was imperative that Iraq remained, or appeared to remain, neutral in the eyes of the Soviet communists and the Western capitalists. Although Iraq was doing away with the imperialists and feudalists that marred their country for generations, it still needed these entities for its own economic and political prosperity. Shwadran concludes by explaining the ramifications of failing to maintain this image and gives an excellent explanation of the delicate social interests the Iraqi government was balancing and which it was imperative to consider before condemning and convicting them according to Western ideologies, especially since the two societies were so estranged.

Chapter One explains the book’s purpose. Shwadran did not intend for this book to be a history of the coup but instead an outline of the dynamics at play in Iraq that shaped the revolution, and the process and order in which these dynamics were addressed. British imperialistic ideologies, unification of Iraqi people, and building a solidified central government were the ongoing battles being fought daily in Iraq during the time of the book’s writing. The parties involved, how these fights were fought, as well as the obstacles impeding Iraqi progress as a republic are all addressed.

The second chapter is dedicated to those figures whom Shwadran deemed the four major personalities of the Qasim regime and briefly synopsizes why they were important. They include Gen. Qasim, Colonel al-Mahadawi, Staff Major General al-Abdi, and Dr. Ibrahim Kubbah. Regarding Qasim, Shwadran gives a brief summary of his extensive military career and education with emphasis on his unquenchable fixation to rid Iraq of the British imperialists and his undeniable leadership abilities. Qasim had little interest in anything other than his military career and the liberation of his country; Shwadran notes that despite being an exceptional athlete he turned down many athletic clubs’ invitations to join their teams. Qasim also would refrain from drinking and going off with women like the other military officers did frequently. Qasim spent all of his time while in service contemplating the condition of his country and its people. His determination and demeanor naturally catapulted him to the position of leader in the 1958 coup.

Col. al-Mahdawi was Qasim’s cousin and appointed by Qasim to be president of the Special Supreme Military Court. The court was intended for the public display of trials and hearings for those who were in favor of the old Iraq government or who opposed Qasim and his following. The court, over time, became a source of entertainment due to its over-the-top and non-traditional practices that are discussed in further detail in the fifth chapter. Shwadran implies that al-Mahdawi used his position to gain favor and popularity among the Iraqi people.

Staff Maj. Gen. al-Abdi was a powerful man because he controlled the army as the Chief of Staff and Governor General. Whoever was in power had as much autonomy as the army would grant them. Many believed that al-Abdi would be next in line to run the country should something happen to Qasim. Like Qasim, al-Abdi was a devout Iraq nationalist. He opposed the communists of his country and was against Nasser’s United Arab Republic.

Dr. Ibrahim Kubbah was probably one of the brightest and most forward-thinking people in the Iraqi government. He was a leading economist, serving as the Minister of Economy, Minister of Agrarian Reform, and Minister of Oil Affairs at different points during his career. Much of his personal ideology stemmed from communist influence which would author the end of his career. He was stripped of his political office in 1960 after the Communist Political Party was denied its license to operate in Iraq in hopes of deterring communist uprisings against the government. Kubbah was the face of the Communist Political Party in Iraq, therefore he could no longer work in the government. Political allegiance was a primary concern both domestically and abroad in Iraq at the time.

Chapter Three briefly goes into detail about the incidents just prior to the July 14 coup and residual effects that lingered for the next twenty-one months. Imperialism and corruption were driving forces behind the revolution, but there were other issues that had to be addressed by the Iraqi government. How to make the government a popular republic? How to foster Iraqi unity “from the ground up” in society? How to deal with people and groups who oppose the Qasim regime? How to remain independent yet aligned with the West and Communists? How to fend off an overbearing Nasser and United Arab Republic and still be dedicated to Arabian unity? All of these questions were concerns addressed in this chapter. The events made reference to include The Arif—al-Gailani Affair, The Mosul Revolt, The Kirkuk Incident, and the attempt on Qasim’s life. Political allegiance held higher import than nationalism at the time of the coup. These incidents reinforced that fact of Iraqi politics and the uphill battle that the Qasim Regime had to mount for a united Iraq.

The next chapter is dedicated to confrontations such as the face-off between Nasser and Qasim, the United Arabic Republic versus Iraq, and communist versus capitalist allegiance. When Iraq overthrew its monarchy, it also severed its allegiance to Great Britain and its imperial stronghold. It was not alone. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt all found themselves in the midst of trying to do away with Western influences on their countries while establishing independence, as well as establishing unity among Arab nations. Nasser, was president of Egypt and head of the United Arab Republic. The Republic was supposed to promote unification among all Arab countries, however, Nasser and his backers from abroad had other agendas.

Since Egypt had the Suez Canal, the Western Imperialists and the Soviet Communists wanted to aid the Republic. They, along with Nasser, became enthralled with inducting Iraq into the Republic after its revolution because this would ensure that all involved could benefit from Iraq’s oil and agricultural resources. Qasim, being the enlightened leader that he was, understood this. While Qasim promoted Arab unification, his main focus was the unification and solidarity of the Iraqi people. Qasim would not commit to the Republic because that would have diluted his power with Nasser perceived as the ranking leader due to his role overseeing the Republic. Initially Qasim pacified Nasser by entertaining the idea of joining the Republic. As time went on and it became evident that Qasim would not join, altercations ensued between Nasser and Qasim. Radio and television broadcasts added fuel to the fire. Many propaganda messages were delivered in order to “dethrone” one another in the eyes of all Arabs. Whenever a situation occurred such as the Arif Affair, Mossul Revolt, or an attempted assassination, one side was emphatically blamed by the other.

The Court of Al-Mahdawi is the focus of Chapter Five. As mentioned before, Mahdawi was Qasim’s cousin and appointed as president to the Special Supreme Military Court. The court was implemented to hold hearings for those who supported the old monarchy or opposed the Qasim regime, but evolved into the central source of amusement for the Iraqi people. Proceedings were broadcast on radio, allowing Mahdawi to turn the court into a propagandizing machine, especially against Nasser and the United Arab Republic. Madhawi was the judge of the court but soon became the prosecutor as well. He had no regard for court procedure and would often badger and insult those on trial, and glorify the leaders of the Iraqi government or even recite poetry during hearings. Mahdawi did this to increase the popularity of the ruling regime and himself amongst the Iraqi people. The court became a spectacle; many reveled in its elements of the Salem Witch Trials and contemporary American presidential campaigns combined to form an elaborate circus for the Iraqi people.

Chapter Six, entitled Economic Development, focuses on Iraq’s economy as of 1959 and how it was intended to grow and change under Qasim’s rule. Dr. Kubbah, who was highlighted in the second chapter, was the leading economist in Iraq until Qasim was forced to dissolve the communist party after an attempt on his life was perceived to be orchestrated by a communist political group. Prior to his exit, Kubbah initiated and analyzed many economic policies for Iraq. In his opinion the reform that most needed to be addressed was the Agrarian Reform Law, which was supposed to adjust the balance of power between landlords and peasants, ultimately franchising the peasants of Iraq. The law was unsuccessful due to political instability and reluctance from peasants to follow government-issued sanctions, causing a food shortage in 1959.

Iraq’s oil industry was affected by the Qasim revolt as well. The Qasim regime felt that Britain and the old regime had a development plan for long range projects. All existing Western contracts were cancelled by the regime. This, along with the new leadership’s many notions for reform, caused a drop in oil revenue and the economy became unstable, adversely affecting the government. Implementation for any grand reform takes time and practice to work out the kinks. It also takes the willingness of those who are part of the system to adhere to the policy. Iraq in 1959 had neither the patience nor compliance required, so the economy suffered a blow.

The seventh chapter, The Great Power Policies, focuses on how the U.S.S.R., United States, and Great Britain reacted to the 1958 revolt and also how they intended to deal with the U.A.R. and Iraq. At the time of the revolt the U.S.S.R. was backing the U.A.R. because of the advantage it provided them over its Western nemeses in access to Middle Eastern oil supplies. Once Iraq revolted and refrained from entering the U.A.R., the Soviets favored Iraq because of its oil supply and Qasim’s initial assent to the local communist party’s role in government. Nasser often played both sides against the middle —communists versus capitalists— to maintain power in the Middle East. For these reasons and others, the Soviets wanted to aid Iraq. Western capitalists were worried that they would be shut out of the oil market in the Middle East as a result of the coup. The West, the United States particularly, became frantic following the revolution. They felt it was a communist-supported coup that intended to cut America out of the oil flow and strengthen communist ties in the Middle East. Once the U.S. was assured that the Baghdad Pact would be honored and they would continue to get oil, they breathed a sigh of relief. For its part, after Great Britain was assured of its oil, it offered full economic and military aid to the Qasim regime.

In the conclusion Shwadran reemphasizes the copious amount of change and uncertainty in the Iraqi government and the U.A.R. at the time. He alludes to the misperceptions by other great powers such as the U.S. and Great Britain about the Middle East powers aligning themselves with the Soviet Union. Iraq wanted independence, and the U.A.R. and Iraq both welcomed Arab nationalism. However, their approaches were very different. Qasim believed that change comes from the bottom up, from the common people. He felt that the common people needed to buy into the idea of a pan-Arab republic and then change would come from within. Nasser believed that nationalism stems from the top down; the bourgeois and elite must be on board and then the concept will trickle further down. One thing that was for certain, especially pertaining to Iraq, was that whoever controls the military controls the country. Shwadran asserts that the army is the lifeblood of Iraq— without the support of the military, the figure in charge is powerless.

As a novice to Middle Eastern history I found this book both engaging and enlightening. Shwadran deftly transitions from chapter to chapter, often making reference or alluding to something that will revisited or expounded upon later while still making a linear argument with great clarity. Although The Power Struggle in Iraq is a rather short book, it is extremely informative and efficient. The primary sources were utilized well, most being interviews, speeches, and broadcasts by Arab leaders and officials. It covers a broad spectrum of domestic and foreign issues surrounding the 1958 coup that had immediate and long-term ramifications for Iraq. The book paints a vivid picture for readers in the Western world of the social, political, and economical intricacies pertaining to the Iraq government immediately following the Coup.

Antonio Hall, student, Texas State University.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review of the Book, Iraq Reborn: A firsthand Account of the July 1958 Revolution and After — The North Star Reports – by Tanya Tellez. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review of the Book, Iraq Reborn: A firsthand Account of the July 1958 Revolution and After — The North Star Reports – by Tanya Tellez. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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Iraq Reborn: A Firsthand Account of the July 1958 Revolution and After. Ismail Al-Arif. New York: Vantage Press, 1982. ISBN: 9780533050093

In Iraq Reborn: A firsthand Account of the July 1958 Revolution and After, former Ambassador for Iraq to Czechoslovakia Ismail Al-Arif gives the Western reader a viewpoint on the turmoil that occurred in the Middle East that is not often recognized. Ismail Al-Arif was one of the 1958 coup’s leading revolutionaries and solicited future Iraq leader General Qasim’s support for the cause. This book concentrates on the origins of the 1958 revolution, the Free Officers Movement, the organization of the army, and the impact the revolution had on Iraq’s domestic and foreign policies.

Ismail Al-Arif’s main point and focus is not only to give the reader insight into what occurred prior to the coup and during and after the revolution. It is also his lament for the people in Iraq, his people seeking security and comfort within Iraq and at the same time constantly finding themselves involved in worldwide politics. Al-Arif opens with an explanation of why he wrote this book and gives the Western reader his point of view of what matters were misinterpreted by the Western press. Ismail Al-Arif wrote this book to give the general public what it had never had before, a firsthand historical account to enable them to understand what was really going on in Iraq’s political and social developments. He is successful in giving the reader insight on the circumstances that made it so the coup was decisive on reorienting and shaping Iraq’s entire governmental policy.

The introduction begins with some history of the country as well as a physical description of Iraq. Ismail gives the reader a brief historical timeline from the succession of Sumerian dynasties, Hammurabi, the invasion of the Kassites, the Assyrians, the Ummayad Dynasty, the Mongols and Genghis Khan. Al-Arif’s brief overview of Iraq’s history shows the reader that Iraq has been in constant struggle. Al-Arif ends his summary with the British conquering Iraq in 1918 and thus begins with the topic in Chapter One about foreign relations prior to 1958.

Al-Arif writes about the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and how it was to remain in force for twenty-five years. Under its terms Iraq became a British mandate, and eventually new treaties were added in 1926 and 1927. The Iraqi people did not accept the treaties because they felt that the League of Nations mandate was just another form of British occupation of Iraq. The people of Iraq already felt oppressed and these formal agreements that were established with England were viewed as setbacks to the economic and social development of the country. Undeclared war began between the Iraqi Army and British troops that lasted about thirty days. Eventually, when the British and the Trans-Jordanian Army surrounded Baghdad, the revolutionary officers left with Prime Minister Gaylani for Iran. This was the first time in modern history in which Iraq had a taste of total independence from any foreign domination. This independence, however, did not last long. After only four weeks pro-British politicians returned to power. Al-Arif closes the chapter with the Baghdad Pact and explains to the reader that this pact was met with serious opposition in the army, especially among members of the Free Officers Movement Organization.

In the second chapter, Al-Arif names four social forces that were causing the turmoil and political instability in Iraq after World War I. These four social forces– ethnic and religious forces, feudalism and tribalism, the middle class, and the workers and the peasants– would create a fundamental social shift that would wipe out past issues and build a modern, civilized society. This societal change was behind the desire for a true nationalist revolution that would result in Iraq’s independence.

Chapters Three and Four talk about Progressive and Revolutionary movements that began and why it was that the people of Iraq felt the need for revolution. The Communist Party began to appeal to students, intellectuals, and teachers. With this, socialism began to impact the minds of new generations in the late 1930s. The army and its Free Officers Movement were the only social force at the time capable of running a revolution. Al-Arif gives accounts of the meetings the officers had, where they met, who the men in the army were who were planning the revolution, and how it was the officers came to agreement on who would be part of the coup. Another great aspect of this book is that Al-Arif uses accounts of which recruitment efforts took place, what was discussed, and what was written in the letters between the author himself and General Qasim. A list of names of other officers who were persuaded to join the movement is included.

Chapter Five is the most interesting and includes amazing firsthand accounts of what occurred on the day of the revolution, July 14, 1958. Names of men who took action, from where, and what places where eventually occupied are recalled. Al-Arif gives the reader insight into what occurred when they went after the royal family and what happened to Nuri Said when he was on the point of escaping. Proclamation No.1 declaring a People’s Republic in Iraq was announced on July 14, 1958 and the Council of Sovereignty was established.

Al-Arif concludes his firsthand account with the domestic policies and the problems that the new government faced after the revolution of July 14, 1958. At the time it was written, a series of violations and activities in the border areas was becoming a persistent issue. A war was in effect, and Al-Arif closes his text with, “The war is still in progress at the time of this writing.”

Iraq Reborn: A Firsthand Account of the July 1958 Revolution and After is a great book to read for perspective on before, during and after the revolution. Ismail Al-Arif provides the reader with full text appendixes of the Proclamation No.1 of the Revolution of July 14, 1958, the Provisional Constitution of the First Republic of Iraq-1958, the March 11 Manifesto on the Peaceful Settlement of the Kurdish Issue in Iraq, and last but not least, the Iraqi-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. Sometimes the author will end in phrases that give a strong opinion about an event or situation, but this should not take away from what a fine work this is that may serve to help historians, or any reader, to understand the reasons behind the revolution of July 14, 1958. The most valuable aspect of Al-Arif’s book is the fact that the author was one of the leading figures in the 1958 coup and his insights into the revolution lead to valuable conversations on how this event can be viewed. It helped me, the researcher and student,understand why it was that the Free Officers took matters into their own hands and why the people of Iraq supported their actions. It is a great read and it is clearly a way to impart to the Western reader a point of view of Middle East turmoil that is rarely recognized. This would make a great resource for any upper level graduate studying and researching the revolution as well as aspects related to the decision and formation of the successful event.

Tanya Tellez. I am a United States Navy veteran. I am also a mother and a student at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. I am a major in History and a minor in Health Education.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review of the Documentary Living on One Dollar— The North Star Reports – by Ellie Swanson. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review of the Documentary Living on One Dollar. 2013. By Chris Temple, Zach Ingrasci, Sean Leonard, and Ryan Christofferson.

Living-On-One

[Film poster from: http://uocal.uottawa.ca/en/node/11166 ]

Poverty. One dollar a day. Microfinance. Malnutrition. These words are used frequently during conversations about global poverty and international development. But what do these words really mean? What do they look like in real life? College students Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple set out on a mission to find out for themselves. In their documentary Living on One Dollar, Ingrasci and Temple, along with two film students, agree to live on one dollar a day—internationally accepted as the extreme poverty line—in Pena Blañca, Guatemala, a small village where many people work as farm laborers for about a dollar a day. The team documents their attempt to live as authentically as possible on their meager income for 52 days, while also researching how their neighbors survive and plan their finances with so little to work with.

What a photographer’s micro lens is to his wide-angle shot, this documentary is to overarching discussions of poverty and development. The producers take us for a close, intimate look at how poverty plays out in the lives of real people. Malnutrition, lack of money for education and health care, lack of clean water, and lack of savings in case of disaster: these are the challenges that living on one dollar a day presents.

As Temple and Ingrasci embed themselves in village life and make friends, we begin to see these challenges come to life. Inquisitive, friendly, twelve-year-old Chico, has resigned himself, already, to a life as a farm laborer—working long, hard hours for an income that will barely sustain his family in the future. We meet Rosa, who has to defer her dream of attending school because there isn’t enough money for school fees. Such stories abound, but the film presents reasons to hope. The students explore how gaining access to credit and a savings plan via microfinance banks can aid families in earning more income. Rosa utilizes this type of system and is able to pay her school fees so she may continue to study. Additionally, Temple and Ingrasci stumble upon a unique way of communal savings that their neighbors utilize, in which each member in turn benefits from the collective savings, which is substantially more than each would be able to save alone. This is one of the more ingenious ways of survival Temple and Ingrasci discover but not the only example.

Along with ingenuity, they find warmth, generosity, curiosity, hardship, misery—hard lives led by hardened, yet generous people. They also discover that living on one dollar a day is something they were not prepared for, nor is it a lifestyle they would like to continue. But the point of their experiment is clear: life at this income level is hard and dangerous. Ultimately, Living on One Dollar asks us to imagine what it would be like to not have enough food, to not have access to health care when ill, and to not have the money to send a child to school. The perspective and the individual stories the viewer experience are what make Living on One Dollar an educational and moving documentary.

For more information, see:

http://livingonone.org/about/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2625598/

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review of the Film, “Finding Sayun” (2011, Taiwan) — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review of Finding Sayun [不一樣的月光] Directed by Chen Chieh-yao [陳潔瑤] Taiwan, 2011.

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Good story-tellers from any culture tell stories through appealing to the emotions of others. Whether it is through humor, tragedy, or ever-lasting love, they portray a story through these strong emotions. With adding in emotion to the story, the story is often dramatized to attract the attention of the viewer. In the Taiwanese film “Finding Sayun”, a range of emotions are used to connect the viewer to the story. We see emotions from teenage love and rejection, loss of a family member, and the humor of the young. It is through these emotions that people, from any point on the globe, can connect to one another.

The film starts with a film crew accidentally capturing the death of a Taiwanese man falling off a car over a bridge. This immediately captures the attention of the viewer. The group filming decided to show the film to the man’s family and attend the funeral. Despite this man and his family not being the main subject of the film, we already connect emotionally to the family and the film. Continuing on their journey, the group of filmmakers follows the lives of a few aborigine families in a small village in Taiwan. They mostly follow the teenagers of the village so the viewer can then connect with the underlying theme of Finding Sayun and understanding her as a Taiwanese teenager. Sayun was the most beautiful girl in her class who tragically fell to her death in a stream while carrying her Japanese teacher’s belongings during the setting of World War II, when Japan still occupied Taiwan. How accurate this story is, is hard to determine. The story comes from the grandfather of one of the main characters who was a classmate of Sayun. It is hard not to believe the elderly man’s story of Sayun because of his affection toward the young girl, but at the same time, stories are often exaggerated. The old man changed his identification of Sayun throughout the film which does not make him a completely reliable source. The only other criticism of this fictional film is that an idea or phrase may be misinterpreted due to the indirect translation to English subtitles.

Fictional films are often times criticized when used in K-12 classrooms: for example, fictional films are not always accurate, therefore they may be considered a waste of valuable class time. As a future K-12 teacher, I do see learning opportunities in using fictional films. For example, students will be more engaged in the film if it is entertaining. If the film has characteristics like humor or teenage love, students will be more inclined to pay attention and learn the information being presented in this more creative approach. Students may actually learn more from a fictional film than from a non-fictional documentary simply due to the fact that they will pay attention to it more. Students will become immersed in the plot, characters, and setting. Since schools cannot bring their students to any place on the planet, film is a way to bring the world to the classroom. This may sound cliché, but after viewing Finding Sayun, I have a deeper understanding of not only Taiwanese aborigines but also the physically demanding landscape of the island. So once the students connect to the story, they will be able to use critical thinking skills to determine fact from fiction. Critical thinking skills are one of the most important life skills to have and it is also difficult to teach. Through fictional films, students will learn how to better use critical thinking skills to identify conflict, biases, and make inferences about the film. In a historical fiction film, students will consider the different types of interpretations of history. Studying different interpretations of history will allow students to reflect on their own role in history and the world.

The use of fictional films in the classroom teach students to identify with others from anywhere on the globe. Students will learn compassion and empathy through viewing fictional films. In Finding Sayun, I learned that no matter the hundreds of thousands of miles that separate Taiwan from Minnesota, human beings are very similar. Elders are respected, teenagers flirt, and children play hide and go seek. Fictional films connect the viewer to the characters through using emotions that anyone can relate to. Despite some inaccuracies, fictional film is beneficial to classroom use. [From Professor Liang’s Spring 2015 World History Seminar.]

For additional information, see:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2011/11/25/2003519152
http://savageminds.org/2011/12/09/finding-sayun/
http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=185168&CtNode=430

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under History, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Professor Liang's Classes