Tag Archives: The Middle Ground Journal

Venezuela to the U.S. – Home, Food, and the Little Things in Life – The North Star Reports – by Maria Olivares. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Venezuela to the U.S. – Home, Food, and the Little Things in Life – The North Star Reports – by Maria Olivares. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Chocolate_with_churros
[Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churro#mediaviewer/File:Chocolate_with_churros.jpg%5D

Life is in the little details, or so the saying goes. We go about our day thinking about bigger and brighter things—when the next paper is due, where we are going to meet for a date, what we are having for dinner—and often times overlook that which is foundational to a sense of normalcy. We ignore the small things that make our life ours. Try to think about it: what is one small thing that, if absent, would make your day feel off? Maybe it is patterned duct tape, maybe it is the salty smell of the ocean carried by the wind through your window, maybe it is the secret ingredient your mom uses for that special dinner you love. For me, it is churros.

Churros are fried pastries that originated in Spain. They are elongated and thin and have ridges because when they are made, the dough is funneled into an oil-filled pan through a baking sleeve that has a star-shaped nozzle. Churros are topped with sugar or dipped in caramel or chocolate. Some people like to roll them in cinnamon or drink them with hot cocoa and coffee for breakfast or snack time. These pastries are usually sold in churrerias or from street carts in Spain and Latin America. In my country, Venezuela, we have specific stores dedicated to selling churros and I, as a child, used to visit them occasionally with my sister and my mother.

I wasn’t a big fan of churros growing up. While I enjoyed them, they were a rarity for me and did not form part of my home culture. It was just one more store we passed by the mall that sold yummy things—a business with the magical power to make that dessert that my mother and I once or twice tried to make but had seared in oil. Churros were just…there.

When I moved to the Duluth, Minnesota for college, churros were the last thing on my mind. I was too distracted by all the novelty the United States could provide: stocked shelves at the supermarket, the sense of safety going around town at any time of day, and brightly-colored aisles devoted to M&M’s, Reese’s, and other candies that were foreign and rare to me. Starting college did not allow for much time to think about churros either, and so two years came and went with churros only coming up in conversation maybe twice when speaking to other international students about how different life in Duluth is compared to home and how sometimes we miss the simple pleasures of feeling a supermarket is yours instead of feeling relegated to an ethnic food section.

One fateful day, my friends and I made plans to meet for dinner at the cafeteria of our college. I went down the stairs and basked in the smell of melted cheese and toasted corn and, thinking it’d be Taco Tuesday, I strolled in and there they were: a plate of inch-long, cinnamon-covered churros. They were toasty and brown and warm and I could not help but tear up when I looked at them. It was like a long-lost lover reunion with a small mountain of doughy deliciousness. Ecstatic, I told all my friends. I told the other people in line. I came up to the person in charge of the cafeteria and hugged them. I was in Duluth, Minnesota, where the Hispanic isles carried Taco Bell desserts, and I had found a homely dish that, though quite different from what I was used to at home, came close enough to the original to click in my soul.

That night I had about twelve churros and a tummy ache, but I also realized how important these little desserts were to me. It was not only about food, or nostalgia. It was a matter of representation. Seeing a piece of home after such a long time in such a remote place was like a validation of my existence. It was a symbol of lazy weekend afternoons with my family strolling in a tiny mall; of hunting to find the ingredients for recipes when milk, eggs, and sugar are scarce; of the life I used to live. Seeing it on campus, my new home, was proof that I had once led that life. It was a reminder of how we can live comfortably in bubbles of reality we have created, forgetting or not realizing that the little details in our lives make them what they are or that people from other places don’t have the same little details or even big details like shelter, water, and safety.


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.

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 Maria Olivares Boscan, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Food and Rituals – Thanksgiving (US) — The North Star Reports – by Allison Brennhofer. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Food and Rituals – Thanksgiving (US) — The North Star Reports – by Allison Brennhofer. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

alliethanksgiving

Thanksgiving with my family was a little different this year. Instead of being held at my grandparent’s house, we had it at my house, which involved us cooking the turkey. Or rather, us putting my grandma on speakerphone while she coached us through the process. Despite the new surroundings for our holiday, we still had the same traditions. Football is huge for my family and I play along the best that I can. We make a ten-by-ten grid on a piece of paper and make boxes out of the grid. Along one axis is one team’s name, and along the other is the competing team. For the life of me I couldn’t tell you who the teams were. Numbers from one to ten are randomly assigned to each box, both down and across the paper. Everyone purchases squares for ten cents each, the usual amount being ten. Then, at each quarter of the game, we check the score and whoever owns the square which lands at the intersection of the last two numbers of the scores (for example, if the score is 17-23, 7 and 3 would be the numbers to find) wins that round.

This year, we started a new tradition that I was more involved in. We had a Texas hold-em tournament, which I wasn’t too sure about until I snagged second place and a $4 cash prize. Games are taken very seriously in my house, and my success amazed my family members because I am known as the one who cannot bluff or lie to save my life.

One of my absolute favorite traditions is making my great-grandma’s cinnamon rolls. She taught me how to make them a few years ago and always insisted that mine were better than hers, which I knew was a lie but appreciated immensely nonetheless. She was one of my favorite people in the world. Unfortunately, she passed away in November of 2013, a month shy of turning 103. It’s been a little hard to make the rolls knowing she won’t be there to eat them, but that’s why I have to keep on making them. Every time I do, I remember her and what an amazing person she was.

Another, newer tradition we’ve been doing is my grandma gives each of us grandchildren $10 and by Christmas, we are supposed to have donated it to some cause that we think deserves it and have a little explanation as to why we did so. I enjoy this new tradition because it reminds me to be grateful for the things I have and for my family every day.


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.

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 Allison Brennhofer, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

What’s in a name? – Identity and Story Telling Through Names – The North Star Reports – by Tayler Boelk. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

What’s in a name? – Identity and Story Telling Through Names – — The North Star Reports – by Tayler Boelk. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Names are a way of communicating. They indicate to whom we are speaking, alert us when someone wants our attention, and let us know how much trouble we are in (when mom pulls out the middle name, it’s a lot!) Last names, however, are a slightly different. These names indicate cultural information, such as heritage. For example, by hearing my last name, a number of inferences can be made. “Boelk” is a German-sounding name. From this, people can assume I have German heritage, that I am white, probably blonde, and that I drink a lot of beer. For three out of four of these, they’d be correct. Now, take the last name “Lopez”. Does the same mental image appear? Probably not.

In addition to heritage, names have the potential to tell stories. I’m sure everyone can think of a relative or friend who was named after a grandparent or celebrity. But what about last names? Is there a story behind a German sounding “Voelk” changed to an English sounding “Boelk?” How about my mother’s side of the family being named “Johnson” in Norway and suddenly switching to “Lillo” after immigration? I think so.

My great grandmother, on my mother’s side, did extensive amounts of research on family heritage and genealogy. It is for this reason that I am sharing the story of the Johnson/Lillo’s rather than the “Voelk’s” (investigation pending.) This name change is an important part of my family history and tells the story of my family’s immigration to the United States.
Taylername1
[The Lille O farm’s main building, which was over 200 years old.]

There were several small islands in the river that ran along the “Lille O” farm in Christiana, Norway. The name Lilloe means “Little Island” in Norwegian. The first “Lillo” to own the Lille O farm purchased it at auction on April 17th, 1792. Andreas Johnson inherited the farm from his father on December 29th, 1842. Though it is now a public park in present day Oslo, this farm remained in the Lillo family for 109 years.
Taylername2
[This goblet that was owned by Christian Ancher, the original owner of the Lille O Farm, can be found in the Oslo Museum of applied art. It is dated 1764.]

According to the world history encyclopedia, about 10.2 million people immigrated to the U.S. during 1820-1880, this included an entire 1/3 of Norway’s population. Andreas Johnson and his family immigrated to the U.S. in two groups. The first group was two of the eldest children, including Johann Johnson, who left Christiana, Norway on March 27th, 1854. They lived in Wisconsin until the second group of Andreas, his wife, and the rest of the children arrived about three years later. They then moved to Minnesota where there is record of an Andreas Jensen buying land in 1857, in Salem Township. This was before Minnesota had become a state.
Taylername3
[Photograph of a cartoon my great grandmother kept pinned with her immigration research. I found cartoons frequently as I went through her work.]

Johann Johnson, Andreas’ eldest son, was the first in the family to officially change his last name to Lillo. This was documented in the 1870 census and was entered as “Lelo” by the census taker. Taking the name of a family farm was a common, and legal, practice in Norway. Magnus, Andreas’ youngest son, did not begin using the name Lillo until he applied for a post office in Minnesota. He was told there were too many Johnson’s and changed the last name to Lillo some time in 1898 keeping Johnson as a middle name. The town of Lillo remained on Minnesota maps until the 1930’s and Lillo has forever replaced Johnson as my family’s surname.
Taylername4
[Information recorded by my Great Grandmother during her research]
Taylername5
[Photograph of Minnesota Map still depicting the town of Lillo]
Taylername6
[Photocopy of a postcard sent from the town of Lillo]

Magnus was my great, great, great grandfather and as a result of him applying for a post office, I am a Lillo. Had the family name remained “Johnson”, there would never have been the town of Lillo and the story of the Lille O Farm may have been lost over the years. This is my favorite example of how a name, or the changing of a name, tells a story.


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

For all of the North Star Reports, see http://NorthStarReports.org See also, 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 K-12 outreach 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 will share essays from our student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions 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.

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. The NSR is co-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, please contact the chief editor if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

25 Comments

Filed under History, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Professor Liang's Classes, Tayler Boelk

Haiti, Children, School, and Important Lessons — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Dennika Mays

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Haiti, Children, School, and Important Lessons — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Dennika Mays

On January 12, 2012, I went on a trip to Haiti. I stayed there for 4 months as part of a study abroad trip that I created myself. I had the opportunity to travel all around the country and even went to the Dominican Republic for a day. Haiti has so many palm trees, people, and all different types of food. Most of the people I met in Haiti were very nice to me. They would always greet me with a “Bonswa, madam” [Good day, miss] or “Bonwi, madam” [Good evening, miss] and a bright smile. I also visited a few different schools around the country and met many children in Haiti. The children in Haiti have to wear uniforms to school, and each school has a different color scheme. For example, some schools have a blue and white color scheme, while other schools wear brown and orange colors. Each school is different. Every day after school, kids walk home, and I would see the many different colors of all of their uniforms. After staying a while in Haiti, I could tell which school a kid attended by simply looking at the colors on his or her uniform.

Many kids in Haiti can afford to go to school, but there are also students who don’t have to money to go. These children  stay at home and help with chores around the house. I met many kids in Haiti who can’t read or write because they didn’t have enough money to pay for school fees and a uniform. But the President of Haiti has been working hard to get poor kids in school so they can have an education and a good meal. The President in Haiti started a school program for kids who can’t afford to go to school and now hundreds of kids are in the program.

Seeing the children of Haiti made me think about growing up as a kid in the U.S. My family was poor and didn’t always have money for food, but the education system had a program for my family and I was able to attend school and have a good lunch. Seeing many poor kids in Haiti reminded me of myself growing up, and it made me grateful for everything I have now. I now have clothes, food, running water, electricity, and access to education. I didn’t always have those things and living in Haiti reminded me of that. It also reminded me to always be grateful for everything I have because I know what it’s like to live without things like running water, electricity, heating, air condition, and food.

Photo (map) credit: “Haiti (orthographic projection)” by Connormah – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Haiti_(orthographic_projection).svg#mediaviewer/File:Haiti_(orthographic_projection).svg

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’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 K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project 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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

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) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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

Micronesia, Language and Globalization — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By James Merle

Micronesian_Cultural_Area

Micronesia, Language and Globalization — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By James Merle

One of the most challenging aspects about teaching abroad is the language barrier. I have had to adapt lessons to students who I know going in will only understand a handful of words I say. Much effort goes in to selecting the type of language I will use to explain things I never thought I would need to explain.

Due to a lack of resources, I have been trying to teach geography to my lower level Social Studies classes from a book written for young Americans. There are no English textbooks written from the perspective of a Pacific Islander available to our school. This is challenging because the geography of the United States is far different from that in Chuuk. Chuukese have no concept of seasons because the only season here is summer. The only way I could explain snow was by asking if anyone has looked at their freezer when the frost builds up. What!? That stuff falls from the sky?

One way to draw students into participating, I have found, is to use their local language. At the beginning of the year, two of my classes of thirty students knew as much English as I knew Chuukese, and while they have made progress, we still struggle to understand each other.

Language has challenged Chuukese culture throughout its history. The Germans bought the islands from Spain in 1899, who colonized Micronesia back in the 16th century. The Japanese occupied the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) from 1914–1945, claiming the islands after World War I. After World War II the United Nations declared Micronesia a Trust Territory, in which the United States would serve as the Security Trustee of the area. The FSM has been under a compact of free association with the U.S. since 1986.

These changes of global powers occupying the area have meant a change in language each time. While few elders speak English, they are well-versed in Japanese. I once had a student write to me saying, why should I come and learn English when nobody else in my family speaks it? If I speak it too much, then maybe I will forget my native language and not even be able to talk to them.

For the Chuukese, the local language binds them together despite the constant flux of outside influences.
Map from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micronesia#mediaviewer/File:Micronesian_Cultural_Area.png


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’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 K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project 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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

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) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

27 Comments

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

Trolls: The Dangerous, the Terrifying, and the Commercialized? — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Tayler Boelk

Trolls: The Dangerous, the Terrifying, and the Commercialized? — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Tayler Boelk

trolls1

In most Norwegian folklore, trolls are depicted as dangerous, terrifying, and incredibly stupid. Troll tales are used to teach lessons to children. The book I have, Trolls and Their Relatives, was given to me by my great grandmother. Trolls have become increasingly commercialized. The book I received, as well as some miniature troll sculptures, were purchased in Norway in a store entirely dedicated to trolls. My grandmother said you could buy troll statues larger than her!

Trolls describes the most “common” trolls in Norway and how to outwit them. While most trolls are considered dangerous, not all want to cause harm. If a human chose to house a Nissen, and give it food on Christmas Eve, the troll would bring good luck for the livestock and crops the next year. This story was used to teach the lesson of kindness. Some other lessons from the trolls include the Nokken, who represents disobedience, the Tussel, who signifies gossip, and the Hulder, who represents temptation.

According to one of the funniest stories, trolls would sometimes steal human children and replace them with troll children, and this explains why children are not very well behaved for a few years. Eventually the trolls get sick of the human child’s good manners and take back their ill-mannered troll child. If we apply this traditional tale to Disney’s Frozen, it would appear that Christoph and Sven weren’t adopted, but rather, kidnapped!

trolls2

Frozen included a depiction of the Norwegian troll. These trolls had some traditional traits, such as becoming a part of their environment (you may recall a cute little troll exclaiming “I grew a mushroom!”), but for the most part were the nicest possible version of a troll found in Norwegian folklore. Our antagonists did not have to worry about being eaten or crushed, nor did the trolls have to worry about any Vikings coming to destroy them or turn them to stone. (In Frozen they already were stone!) Despite the inaccuracy of the trolls’ loving characteristics, as someone with Norwegian heritage I am happy that Disney made an attempt at including some of Norway’s most interesting history.

Yet another example of the commercialized troll comes from an excerpt from an Oslo magazine introducing an app for smartphones called “Trolls vs. Vikings.” The game depicts the trolls setting up defenses and battling the angry (and stupid) Viking characters who are trying to steal their gold. While some things are accurate (they share the names of traditional trolls) I would not consider this app a good historical representation of the relationship between Norwegians and trolls.

So what is the relationship between Norwegians and trolls? As I mentioned earlier, the trolls were used to symbolize a lesson or quality such as kindness or temptation. Each troll has a specific characteristic, usually but not always undesirable. If Norwegians treated certain trolls with respect and kindness, good fortune came to them, but most trolls are depicted as dangerous. Trolls representing undesirable characteristics were seen as something that needed to be defeated. Thankfully, my book teaches me how to defeat trolls, something I feel I should share with you in case you should ever come upon one!

trolls 3
Trolls are defeated many different ways, depending on the creature. For example, the Nokken can be defeated rather easily. The Nokken lives in swamps, rivers, and lakes, luring people into the water. To defeat the Nokken, one needs only to throw a needle or a cross into the water while speaking the Nokken’s name. The larger trolls that you would typically find stealing cattle or princesses take a little more effort. To defeat one of these trolls you must chop off all of its heads (this can be as many as twelve!). But for your typical troll, all you must do is keep them chasing you until the sun rises at which time they will either burst or turn into stone. Those that turn into stone become just another part of the Norwegian countryside.

trolls 4trolls 5

Photo Credits:
Eriksen, Jan Bergh. Trolls and Their Relatives. Stavanger, Norway: Dreyer Bok, 1983.
“What Are Trolls?”. Trollwatch International. http://www.trollwatch.com.au/What%are%20Trolls/pid1whataretrolls.html
wikia.com. “Trolls-FrozenWiki.” Frozen Wiki. http://frozen.wikia.com/wiki/Trolls


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’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 K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project 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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

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) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

38 Comments

Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Tayler Boelk

Polarization and the Emerging Left in El Salvador: 2014 Presidential Elections — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Ada Moreno

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Polarization and the Emerging Left in El Salvador: 2014 Presidential Elections — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Ada Moreno, Photo credits: Douglas Urquilla and Giorgio Trucci

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 saw the proclamation of the former guerrilla leader and elementary school teacher, Salvador Sanchez Cerén, the newly elected president of El Salvador. Cerén is the third left-leaning president to come into office in the history of El Salvador, and the second of the left-leaning Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party to succeed in becoming president of the evenly split Salvadoran population. The other half of the population leans to the right, where conservative party Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) is the main contender. In both the first and second round of elections, FMLN managed to stay atop their rival. Despite the slight advantage, the second round of the presidential race was incredibly tight, and FMLN barely managed to come out victorious with merely 50.11% of the votes in their favor, adding to the tension among the already deeply divided public.

When trying to understand the economic and political implications that this win signifies, three important dates should come to mind: 1932, 1992, and 2009. Farabundo Martí, a revolutionary leader during the uprising against the high levels of unemployment and wealth disparity of the 1930s, became the martyr of the Salvadoran Left and the figure FMLN would later invoke in their party name. The 1932 Indigenous Massacre, wherein thousands of indigenous peasants were murdered for joining the rebellion, obliterated the Salvadoran indigenous population and also led to the assassination of the movement’s leader. Two years after Martí founded the Communist Party of El Salvador, he was shot under the orders of Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, the extreme Right president who had come to office by military coup only a year prior.

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The primary left-wing Salvadoran party, FMLN, came into existence on the cusp of the Salvadoran Civil War of the 1980s. The origins of this violent collision go back to the founding years of the Salvadoran Republic when public and communal land were abolished, which led to the appropriation of land by those who would later become the wealthy elite. The same feeling that rose during the peasant revolt of the 1930s resurfaced as militant repressive governments helped stir the already exasperated Salvadoran majority to unify as the breach between the wealthy and the poor continued to increase. The global political environment at the time, with the power struggle between the Western hemisphere and the communist Eastern bloc, created the perfect scenario for a class struggle to arise. During the war, five guerrilla organizations came together to form the political entity FMLN after having ideologically and physically defied the National Guard and the far-right/Salvadoran army military alliance. A truth commission sponsored by the United Nations estimated that up to 75,000 died during the bloody period of civil war. According to the commission, the US-backed Salvadoran military, who held power at the time, were responsible for more than 85% of the human rights violations inflicted on the population.

January 16, 1992 brought the signing of the peace accords between rebel guerrilla leaders and Salvadoran officials. FMLN solidified as a party and the newly established ARENA, the right-wing anti-communist party that gained momentum through their counter insurgency and anti-leftist reputation, came to office in 1989. With ARENA’s coming into power, Salvadoran history experienced a dramatic transformation. The increased GDP that occurred throughout the 20 years that ARENA remained in power and the surge of foreign investment, monetary integration of the dollar that occurred during the 1999-2004 administration, and high levels of inflation that occurred thereafter only brought general discontent to middle and lower classes as wages remained static and prices rose. Free trade agreements between fellow Latin American countries and the United States were also received with mixed feelings as certain unions and associations believed they would solely benefit an elite few and would not stimulate a socially conscious and economically sustainable environment.

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Along with recession, 2009 also brought governmental change to the smallest, most densely populated country in Central America. After four consecutive terms and twenty years in power, the conservative right-wing party ARENA lost to Mauricio Funes, the outspoken TV journalist and candidate of left-leaning FMLN. Once again, Salvadoran politics saw themselves severely affected by the global sociopolitical environment of the time. Despite the ideological and economic communist threat that was associated with FMLN and feared by the right, after the newly elected party took office the dollar has remained the main currency of El Salvador, conservative economic policies have been respected, and globalization has been embraced. Taking into consideration the country’s high levels of inequality, it was not surprising that the scenario for the political success of a leftist agenda was developed. The governmental transition occurred despite the fact that 49% of the population had not voted for Mauricio Funes.

The 2014 presidential campaign was no different than those of 20 years ago. The results were also received with uncertainty. Though it was declared legitimate by international spectators, organizations, and the US State department, Norman Quijano, ARENA’s candidate for this past election, called for protests as his party believed electoral fraud had taken place. Old resentment and fear tactics were once again used by both camps to further their political agendas. While ARENA’s past leaders were being accused and tried for corruption and malinvestment, FMLN was being targeted by the opposition for trying to emulate Venezuela. The accusations made against FMLN were one of the factors that favored ARENA, earning them extra votes in the second round of elections as the current situation in the South American country intensifies.

Time will only tell how polarization will evolve in El Salvador, but as far as the current socioeconomic reality of the country is concerned, violence, extortion, high levels of unemployment, and poverty remain at their peak. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimate that in 2012 alone, El Salvador had the second highest per capita murder rate in the world at 69 per 100,000. While disproportion of wealth remains ever constant, the main presidential contenders are uneducated in politics, economics, and foreign affairs, and 70% of the population did not vote for the newly elected president, apathy and distrust towards the major political parties and their representatives have grown, especially after years of failed reforms and continued social unrest. El Salvador’s restricted economic past continues to haunt it as the social and political situation of the country impede it from properly exploiting other potential means of industry. Given the reaction of the population, one can only hope that new parties are able to successfully emerge, and that current ones will adapt and reformulate their ideologies and modus operandi to not only relate with the general Salvadoran public, but to appease it.


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’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 K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project 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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

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) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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Filed under Ada Luz Moreno Gomez, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Three, Tianjin, China, Tianjin Update 2: Oreos and ‘ao-li-ao’; Food in Tianjin

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Three, Tianjin, China, Tianjin Update 2: Oreos and ‘ao-li-ao’; Food in Tianjin

Walking down the aisle in the local grocery store, Vanguard, is one of the most comforting things to do. I can’t read most of the product names around me, or fully comprehend what the cashier is saying, but as soon as I walk down the aisles I feel completely at ease with the routine familiarity of grocery shopping. In a city as big as Tianjin, one of the largest in China by population, there are only a few English signs here and there. Very few people I talk with in stores and on the street speak English which is helpful because it gives me more opportunities to practice my Chinese. I find it incredible how easy it is to recognize familiar American brands simply by the advertisement’s design such as Dove Chocolate, Chips Ahoy!, and Oreos–to name just a few. While these are what we might think of as American treats, there’s also something slightly different about the products. For example, in Vanguard there is half an aisle dedicated to Oreos (pronounced Ao-Li-Ao). There had to be more than a dozen flavors! Perhaps I never paid as much attention to the Oreo selection back in America, but I don’t believe there were such flavors as green tea ice cream or mango-orange. I just bought a pack of the green tea ice cream Oreos and I’ve got to admit, they’re delicious.

China has a large number of fast-food chains that have started in the U.S.A. and have since spread internationally. McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut are common fast-food restaurants in China that I can confidently say most Americans would recognize. Still, as with the Oreos, there are slight differences that allow the products to be more appealing to local consumers. I know for a fact that the McDonald’s back home doesn’t have a red bean pastry on the menu. The prices for the food served at McDonald’s are the equivalent price to the McDonald’s in America, but surprisingly, this dissuades me from eating there because McDonald’s prices are expensive relative to most other restaurants in the area. For a good solid dinner in Tianjin, I usually spend the equivalent of about $2. Spending $5 on a meal at McDonald’s might be one of the cheapest options for dining out at home, but in Tianjin, with quality food more accessible and far cheaper, I rarely eat at McDonald’s.

This past Tuesday, I went on a mini adventure to a fancy hot-pot restaurant with some friends. First, the seven of us were seated at a semi-circle booth. A waitress, dedicated solely to our table, handed us damp warm wash cloths to wipe our hands. I was wearing my glasses that day, so she handed me a cloth to wipe my glasses with that was printed with the name of the restaurant. We ordered various meats, such as lamb, beef, and eel, along with a multitude of vegetables. The waitress put hot broth in a pot that was set into the table. Using our chopsticks we plopped the food into the boiling broth to cook, and once it was ready, we used our chopsticks to take it out to eat. Our waitress was very attentive, never leaving the side of our table, and I ate so much delicious food that I skipped breakfast the next morning. Not to dwell too heavily on the prices of food in China, but for this dining experience I was shocked that I paid only about the equivalent of $10 once we split the bill. What shocks me most about dining in China is the affordable price and the fantastic quality of the food. It’s cheap, delicious, and a new experience every time.

*Erin received a reader’s question re: architecture after her first report:

Thanks for reading! As Tianjin modernizes and grows in population, the buildings under construction are skyscrapers, towering over everything downtown (I’ll make sure to post a picture at some point) with the apparent purpose to house as many people as possible. It’s efficiency over creative architecture, which makes it a treat to drive through the concessions that hold a bit of architecture from their respective countries with strong European influence. Unfortunately, I know very little about the technical side and terms of architecture–I’m just a big fan. From the bus, as I passed the Italian and Austria-Hungary concessions, I saw pillars stretching from the ground to the overhanging roof, extravagant stairs that fan out to the street, rounded roofs, tall rounded doorways, and great stone balconies. I appreciate that Tianjin has kept the beautiful architecture of the concessions in tact. I hope that as China grows from a developing country to a developed country, it will rediscover creative expression in its architecture. Of course, I understand the importance of efficiency when space is limited.
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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’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 K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see recent articles in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. We have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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Filed under Professor Hong-Ming Liang

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Four, Nowruz at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, by Marin Ekstrom

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Four, Nowruz at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, by Marin Ekstrom

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Despite the Gregorian calendar “standardizing” January 1st as the start of the New Year, its inception varies from culture to culture. In the case of Nowruz, which is primarily celebrated in Iran (although parts of Central Asia, South Asia, northwestern China, and southeastern Europe also observe it), the New Year is based on the spring equinox. The holiday traces its origins to Zoroastrian practices, and like many other spring holidays, features a variety of rituals to commence the rebirth and renewal associated with the season. The most iconic Nowruz tradition is the haft seen table, or the “Table of Seven S’s.” A table is covered with seven sacred items that all begin with the letter “S” in the Persian language: serkeh (vinegar), senied (dried fruit), sir (garlic), seeb (apples), sabzeh (greens), samanu (wheat pudding), and sumac (crushed berry spice). In addition, other popular haft-seen items include a mirror, an orange in a bowl of water, a bowl of goldfish, colorfully dyed eggs, hyacinths, candles, and sacred books (i.e. the Quran, the Shamaneh, the poetry of Hafez). The items have symbolic qualities attached to them that will bestow the family with happiness and fortune in the coming year. Another key practice is fire jumping. People make small bonfires and jump over them while uttering a special phrase; the flames in turn take away the bad things that occurred in the previous year. The festivities described only constitute a fraction of the rich cultural traditions associated with Nowruz, but luckily I got a taste of it when I visited the Freer and Sackler Gallery’s exhibition on this holiday.

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The first display that I encountered was an exquisite haft seen table that was not only adorned with most of the ritual items described above, but also softly colored flower petals, wads of gumdrops and flowers, and whimsical figurines of traditional Persian folk characters. Although I took pictures, they honestly do not do justice to actually seeing the display in person. I could not stay there long, however, as many people, particularly Persian-speaking families, were crowded around it. In fact, there were youngsters, parents, and grandparents abound throughout the museum! I admired them for taking so much pride in their language and culture and sharing it with their children, all while taking the time to savor the simple pleasures of this springtime festival.

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As I ventured on, I encountered another haft seen, which, while simpler and earthier than the other one, was still stunning. I entered a wing where various activities were being conducted. I observed a young man painting people’s names in the Persian calligraphy by utilizing stylized forms and colors to transform their names into works of art. Another stand featured the Falnama, or “Book of Omens.” The Falnama is an old tradition in which someone turns to a random page, and depending on what brilliantly illustrated story and series of texts he/she turns to, that will reveal his/her fortune. Lastly, I toured the exhibit Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran, which featured breathtaking metalwork and dishware from the early civilizations of Iran. All of the brought the cultures of Iran and Nowruz-celebrating countries to life, and it was amazing to partake in these festivities.

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Sources Consulted

http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/files/NowruzCurriculumText.pdf

figandquince.com

Picture Credit (What’s in Haft Seen and why?): figandquince.com

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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2014 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 8, Spring, 2014. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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Filed under Marin Ekstrom, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Two, Crisis in Ukraine, by Misha Ignatenko with assistance from Marin Ekstrom

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Two, Crisis in Ukraine, by Misha Ignatenko with assistance from Marin Ekstrom

Ukraine has always been the target of surrounding empires – the Ottomans, Poland-Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union – who have harbored ambitions to conquer and use its resources. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Ukraine, is right in pointing out that “in the history of the 20th century there is no place on earth where the soil is more blood-soaked than [in Ukraine].”

The newly established government, which is heavily supported by the northern and western regions of Ukraine, is viewed as pro-Ukrainian and pro-EU. In contrast, most of eastern and southern areas of Ukraine share pro-Russian views. Claiming that the new government might suppress the interests of ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russia sent troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The new government fears that Russia might use the same reasoning for sending troops to the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

You can find a wide range of opinions on what is happening in Ukraine and who is to blame, but I think that the image on the left illustrates the situation well: most people are fighting against each other on minor issues (such as language) instead of focusing on larger issues (poverty, corruption) that everyone in Ukraine shares, regardless of ethnicity, language, religion, and political views.
ukraine
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People: “Hey! What are you doing?! This is our public money!”
Oligarchs/politicians: “You should first decide what language you want to receive an answer in and who is going to represent you.”
People: (fighting over language/politics)
Oligarchs/politicians: (escaping with public money)
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Source: http://www.yaplakal.com

Ukraine could take advantage of its unique position as a neutral zone between the European Union and Russia,  but those in power are pursuing their short-term goals of splitting the country into two hostile sides (Russian and Ukrainian), stealing as much as they can, and leaving piles of unsolved problems behind. As soon as I have a source of income, I want to invest in the people of my country who think beyond cheap politics and have a long-term vision of a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine where everyone is treated equally regardless of who they are. You’re welcome to join me on this “venture”.

———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

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

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2014 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 8, Spring, 2014. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

32 Comments

Filed under Marin Ekstrom, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang