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….
By Alexander C. Diener and Joshua Hagen
The idea that the twenty-first century will be marked by the ascendency of Asia, and more specifically the rise of China as a global superpower, has gained broad currency in academic discussions, policy decisions, and general public opinion around the world. After focusing on the Middle East for much of the last two decades, the United States has recently declared a pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, for example, while opinion surveys show majorities of Americans already believe China’s economy has overtaken that of the US.
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 Bill McGuire
If it’s August, it must be Edinburgh. Doing the rounds of the UK’s book festivals is always great fun, but the Edinburgh International Book Festival is almost inevitably the annual highlight. While the book festival is exciting in its own right, this is in large part because the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe are in full spate, packing this great city with visitors from far and wide, and with acts and events that boggle even the most unflappable mind.
By Anthony Bale
Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony at the London Olympics on 27 July 2012 was entitled Isles of Wonder. As many will have noticed, it was shot through with references to the medieval and early-modern past. Mike Oldfield’s performance of In Dulce Jubilo, a 1970s reworking of a late-medieval German-Latin carol, provided one of the most exuberant moments. In Stratford, dancing nurses accompanied it. There were many references to and quotations from Shakespeare as well.
The ‘Silk Road’ was a stretch of shifting, unmarked paths across massive expanses of deserts and mountains – not a real road at any point or time. Archaeologists have found few ancient Silk Road bridges, gates, or paving stones like those along Rome’s Appian Way. They are best seen from the air…
Today we are celebrating the UK publication of The Day Parliament Burned Down, in which the dramatic story of the nineteenth century national catastrophe is told for the first time. In this blog post, author Caroline Shenton presents the top ten London fires that have changed the face of the capital city.
By Klaus Dodds
Let’s start with some salient facts. Fact one: The Antarctic is not the Arctic, no matter how often toy makers and television programming routinely confuses the geographical distribution of polar bears and penguins. Penguins are to be found in Antarctica.
This Day in World History
On May 22, 1570, bookmaking and map-making history were made. Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish book collector and engraver published the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Epitome of the Theater of the World) — the world’s first atlas.
By Sydney Beveridge
On this day in 1804, two Virginian explorers set out on a journey west in what would become the legendary Lewis and Clark Expedition. And in their footsteps, we can follow America’s expansion west.