Chapter 7 Outline

Chapter 7 Outline - Chapter 7 North Africa/Southwest Asia...

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Chapter 7: North Africa/Southwest Asia Defining the realm o North Africa/Southwest Asia (NASWA) o Characterized in a few words, four of them follow o A “Dry World”? Most of the realm’s nearly 600 million people live where there is surface water In the Nile Valley and Delta Along northwestern Africa’s hilly Mediterranean coast Along the eastern and northeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea In the basin of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers In the uplands of western Iran and eastern Turkestan In far-flung oases throughout the realm Nomadic people and their animals still circulate across dust-blown flatlands, stopping at oases that form islands of farming and trade in the vast drylands o The “Middle East”? This realm is also frequently called the Middle East Even so, the name should be applied to only one of the regions of this vast realm, not to the realm as a whole o An “Arab World”? This term implies a uniformity that does not exist – the name Arab is applied loosely to the people of this area who speak Arabic and related languages, but ethnologists normally restrict it to certain occupants of the Arabian peninsula It is not spoken in other parts of this realm o An “Islamic World”? The Islamic faith extends far outside the realm under discussion In this context, the term Islamic World is also misleading in that it suggests that there is no Islam beyond NASWA’s borders
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Nonetheless, Islam’s impact on this realm’s cultural geography is pervasive o States and Nations Of its nearly 30 states and territories, the three largest and in many ways the most important are Egypt in North Africa, Turkey on the threshold of Europe, and Iran at the margins of Turkestan At the other end of the continuum there are ministates such as Bahrain, Qatar, and Djibouti Hearths of Culture o Dimensions of Culture Cultural geography is a wide-ranging and comprehensive field that studies spatial aspects of human cultures, focusing not only on cultural landscapes but also on culture hearths – the sources of ideas, innovations, and ideologies that changed regions and realms Those ideas and innovations spread far and wide through a set of processes that we study, under the rubric of cultural diffusion Human cultures exist in long-term accommodation with their natural environments, exploiting opportunities that these environments present and coping with the extremes they can impose The study of the relationship between human societies and natural environments has become a separate branch of cultural geography called cultural ecology o Rivers and Communities Mesopotamia Irrigation was the key to prosperity and power in Mesopotamia, and urbanization was its reward The hydraulic civilization theory holds that cities that could control irrigated farming over large hinterlands held power over others, used food as a weapon, and thrived (Babylon) Egypt and the Nile
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