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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