Here at OUP, at the end of each year, we look back at the places around the globe (and beyond) which have been at the center of historic events. In conjunction with the publication of the Oxford Atlas of the World, 20th Edition, today we launch the Place Of The Year (POTY) 2013.
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.
Since its inception in 2007, Oxford University Press’s Place of Year has provided reflections on how geography informs our lives and reflects them back to us. Adam Gopnik recently described geography as a history of places: “the history of terrains and territories, a history where plains and rivers and harbors shape the social place that sits above them or around them.” An Atlas of the World expert committee made up of authors, editors, and geography enthusiasts from around the press has made several different considerations for their choices over the years.
It’s a city! It’s a state! It’s a country! No — it’s a planet! Breaking with tradition, Oxford University Press has selected Mars as the Place of the Year 2012. Mars, visible to the naked eye, has fascinated and intrigued for centuries but only in the past 50 years has space exploration allowed scientists to better understand the Red Planet. On 6 August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars’ Gale Crater; by transmitting its findings back to Earth, Curiosity has made Mars a little a less alien.
Oxford University Press hopes you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Following a weekend of food comas and couch potato-ing, here’s a slideshow celebrating the Place of the Year (POTY) shortlist nominees that hopefully will perk you up this morning. See how our ten finalists have changed over the years. We’re excited to announce the location that will join Yemen, South Africa, Warming Island, Kosovo and Sudan as a Place of the Year winner on December 3rd! Stay tuned!
Fresh off the heels of an exciting “Word of the Year” week, OUP geographers are still debating what should be recognized as the Place of the Year 2012. This slideshow highlights the POTY shortlist, full of contenders that may have to duel this out. Unless….if you make your vote below, we’ll be able to select the place that has inspired the majority of readers this year, sparing the planet World War POTY.
Happy Geography Awareness Week! At Oxford University Press, we’re celebrating by highlighting the interesting, inspiring and/or contentious places of 2012. The longlist, launched last month, took us from Iran to Cambridge, NY, the home of pie à la mode. We explored 29 places on Earth, but we couldn’t resist an extraterrestrial trip to Mars. Thanks to your votes in the most tightly watched election this year, we narrowed down the nominees to a shortlist.
As we continue to prepare for Place of the Year 2012, we’ve invited Joshua Hagen, Professor of Geography at Marshall University and co-author of Borders: A Very Short Introduction, to share his thoughts on the relationship between geography and current events. Here’s what he has to say….
Earlier this month, we launched Oxford University Press’ annual Place of the Year competition. For many, geography is just the next vacation, but understanding geography gives much more than fodder for travel fantasies. Geography provides insight into the forces driving people, events, societies, and technology — both past and present. With help from The Atlas of the World, 19th edition, here’s a look at past winning hotspots driving human history.
Last week, we launched Place of the Year 2012 (POTY), a celebration of the year in geographical terms. As Harm de Blij writes in Why Geography Matters: More than Ever, “In our globalizing, ever more inter-connected, still-overpopulated, increasingly competitive, and dangerous world, knowledge is power. The more we know about our planet and its fragile natural environments, about other peoples and cultures, political systems and economies, borders and boundaries, attitudes and aspirations, the better prepared we will be for the challenging times ahead.”
As the year winds down, it’s time to take a look back. Alongside the publication of the 19th edition of The Atlas of the World, Oxford University Press will be highlighting the places that have inspired, shaped, and challenged history in 2012. We’re also doing things differently for Place of the Year (POTY) in 2012. In addition to our regular panel of geographers and experts, we’re opening up the choice to the public.
By Andrew S. Natsios
My first meeting with a Sudanese national was with Dr. John Garang, then commander of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), founded to fight against the Sudanese state—located in the country’s north, with its capital in Khartoum—and to advance the rights of the southern part of the country. It was June 1989. By this point, Garang and the SPLA had been in open war against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, then led by Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, for six years.
By Andrew S. Natsios
For more than two centuries, Sudan has attracted an unusual level of attention beyond its own borders. This international interest converged in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century as four independent forces met.
First, there is the rebellion in Darfur, which has generated greater international concern than any other recent humanitarian crisis. This long-neglected western region has been intermittently at war since the 1980s and claimed the lives of 300,000 Darfuris in its most recent phase. The rebellion beginning in 2002 led to an ongoing humanitarian emergency, costing Western governments
By Jan Zalasiewicz
Volcanoes can take one by surprise. That was the case with Mount St. Helens, that famously erupted sideways rather than upwards, and it was certainly so, two millennia back, when sleeping Vesuvius awoke to bury Pompeii and many of its citizens. Eyjafjallajokull may not have been quite so dramatic, but its effects, in tearing a large hole in our complex and delicate network of global airline communication, certainly rippled around the world.
To a geologist, the presence of a volcano on Iceland isn’t at all surprising. After all, Iceland is literally, and continuously, splitting apart, as this island sits exactly on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. That mighty planet-sized fracture is continuously oozing magma, as the Americas pull ever farther apart – by a couple of centimeters a year, maintained for over a hundred million years – from Africa and Europe.
By Alia Brahimi
“The air freight bomb plot should be understood as part of al-Qaeda’s pervasive weakness rather than its strength. The intended targets, either a synagogue in Chicago and/or a UPS plane which would explode over a western city, were chosen as part of the attempt to re-focus al-Qaeda’s violence back towards western targets and pull the jihad away from the brink.”