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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Maps of the world

With Google maps and GPS instructions at the ready, it isn’t often that we step back to look at maps of the wider world. Long gone are the days when you had to flip open a physical map on your cross-country trip, to say nothing of the wealth of maps that exist today, from satellite imagery to geographic surveys, cityscapes to political maps.

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Seven facts of Syria’s displacement crisis

By Khalid Koser
Conflicts and crises regularly force people to flee their homes; and the plight of the displaced is often overlooked. In the case of Syria, however, displacement is not simply an unfortunate side-effect. Its massive volume threatens to render the country unsustainable for generations.

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Place of the Year 2013: Then and Now

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection on the past, present, and future. In our final week of voting for Place of the Year, here’s a look at some of the many changes undergone by the nominees. Which of these will steal the crown from Mars, the 2012 Place of the Year?

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Promoting a sensible debate on migration

Khalid Koser
Migration has had a rough ride in recent years. During times of recession, anti-immigrant sentiments often increase. Minor political parties around the world have taken full advantage and gained political capital from xenophobic policies. In many countries the media has followed suit, systematically reporting on migrants in negative terms. And political leaders are finding it hard to swim against this rising tide.

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Place of the year 2013: Spotlight on Syria

As we continue to tally the votes for Place of the Year 2013, Joshua Hagen, co-author of Borders: A Very Short Introduction, shares some background information on the history of Syria. After you’ve read the reasons surrounding why Syria made the shortlist, cast your vote for what you think the place of the year should be. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, 2 December 2013.

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Reflections on Disko Bay

By Patricia Seed
Miniature icebergs that would fit in the palm of my hand float along the water’s edge, but the air is cold enough to resist the impulse to crouch down and remove my gloves to pick them up. Looking up across the glass-like surface, I spot hundreds of similar chunks like pieces of frozen vanilla popsicle that have fallen just out of reach.

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Mapping world history

Porcelain, sealskin, powder-horn, buckskin, silk, and parchment: these are what history is made of. Celestial histories — subway, radio, or Internet histories. Histories found in stick charts and ordnance surveys. From the Paleolithic Period to digital age, maps have illustrated and recorded history and culture: detailing everything from wars and colonization, to religious and jingoistic worldviews, to the textures of the heavens and the earth.

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Announcing the Place of the Year 2013 Shortlist: Vote for your pick

In honor of Oxford’s 20th edition of the acclaimed Atlas of the World, we put together a longlist of 20 places around the globe for our yearly Place of the Year competition. The votes have been tallied, the geography committee has provided their essential input, and the shortlist nominees have been decided upon.

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Place of the Year 2013: Behind the longlist

The 2013 Oxford Place of the Year (POTY) process is now in full swing. The longlist poll closes this Thursday, so be sure to get your votes in! (Scroll to the bottom of this page to vote.) The POTY shortlist will be announced on Monday, 4 November 2013.

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Place of the Year: History of the Atlas

At the end of each year at Oxford University Press, we look back at places around the globe (and beyond) that have been at the center of historic news and events. In conjunction with the publication of the 20th edition of Oxford Atlas of the World we launched Place of the Year (POTY) 2013 last week. In honor of 20 editions of the Atlas, we put together a longlist of 20 nominees that made an impact heard around the world this year. If you haven’t voted, there’s still time (vote below).

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Place of the Year: Through the years

Next week we launch our annual Place of the Year Contest (POTY), where we reflect back on the world’s hits and misses. Our panel of geography experts are hard at work compiling a list of places that have made an impact felt around the world in 2013. One place will be chosen as the winner. While they compile the most newsworthy locales, we wanted to reflect back on past years’ winners.

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Middle East food security after the Arab Spring

By Eckart Woertz
Syria and Egypt paradigmatically highlight the perils of food security in the Middle East. Oil exports of Egypt, the largest wheat importer of the world, ceased at the end of the 2000’s. Generating enough foreign exchange for food procurement became more difficult and plans for more self-sufficiency have failed in the face of limited water and land resources.

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