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Week 1 Lecture 1 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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Carleton University
GEOG 2200
John Milton

Page1GEOG 2200 Global ConnectionsJohn Milton Instructor SeptemberDecember 2013Week 1Lecture 1 The Factors Creating Todays WorldCreating Todays WorldConnections have existed between peoples and places for thousands of years These connections have been established through the migration of peoples the rise and fall of empires and through trade Of these three means ongoing trade has perhaps had the most profound impact connecting empires and nations together And it was along trade routes that not only goods flowed but people and ideas as wellConsider the myriad of trade routes through history Most famous of these routes was the Spice Route connecting China India and the poor backward Western end Europe into a complex lattice of connections But it is not the ONLY trade route of importance in the history of humankind See the maps in the powerpoint lectureWe can trace these routes by the chattels traded We can see these routes in aerial photography as well worn routes across deserts and steppes Centres of commerce even if they have vanished today or whose glorious times are in the past are permanently found in history books The fabled centres of Timbuktu Samarkand in what is now Turkistan and the island of Zanzibar and the many other centres dotting the lattice of routes collectively made up the trade routesThese routes grew over time Merchant traders did not necessarily travel the entire lengths of the routesthe vast majority didnt Adventurers such as Marco Polo were rare Goods were traded from one to another in centres along these routes Secondary routes radiated outwards from the principal trade centres New routes emerged in competition with existing ones Consider the marine spice route And new routes connected this geographically discrete networkssuch as the linking of trade routes in the Americas with Europe through the expansion of Europe maritime networks that later translated into European empiresWhat are the factors that have created todays world First there are the technological advances in both transportation and communications Without question advances in both transportation and communication have increasingly enmeshed even the most isolated or remote places in the world in increased dense webs of connections But these advances by themselves do not explain the world today Second was the changing global structural environment Changing possibly controversial shifts in how we see the relationship between each other and between citizens and states is providing the enabling environment in which processes of greater connection is occurring This changing view is expressed through neoliberalismFactor 1 Technological Advances in Transportation and CommunicationsFactor 11 Advances in Transportation TechnologyImprovements in transportation have promoted increased interaction between places and people over wider and wider areas throughout the history of humankind It led to an ever increasing diversity of goods traded Prior to the development of railroads for example overland transportation of heavy or bulky goods was slow and costly limiting such trade often to luxury goods of high value spices precious metals precious stones The movement of heavy raw materials by water was much cheaper and so not surprisingly most the worlds Page2commerce was conducted by water transportation And this led to emergence of maritime citiesportsas centres of wealth power and influence An important point to keep in mind is this each new advancementeach new form of transportation technologycreates new geographies and annihilates eliminates the existing onesThink about the Portuguese example from last week Advances in ship design in navigation both knowledge and devices and the new navigator all combined to help Portugal emerge as tha dominant maritime power at the beginning of the 16 century These advances created a new maritime power that enabled Portugal to seize control of the Indian Spice Trade from the Arab traders who had previously controlled the trade using both maritime routes in the Arabian Sea and overland routes through the Middle East The overland trade routes through Timbuktu while not completely obsolete became significantly less important as the maritime routes became establishedConsider the videos cited in the lecture of the commercial vessels planes and trains of today Boeing 767 the launch of a supertanker and highspeed rail systems What have these more recent advances in transportation resulted in It has resulted in three outcomes1First we can travel faster to more places in the world today than ever before Consider air travel In the late 1930s it took a DC3 between 15 and 17 hours to fly from New York City to Los Angeles In 1934 it took 12 days to fly between London UK and Brisbane Australia Today a Boeing 767 can fly nonstop practically between any two points on the globe meaning that we can travel to any place in the world with an airport from Ottawa in less than 24 hours2Second advances in transportation technology create unique geographies Commercial ships do not simply dock in any port along a nations coast Specific maritime centres have become primary ports of entry on continents because of the sophistication of the infrastructure needed to load unload and handle the containers and other products being shipped in massive vessels And their position in global trade networks became increasingly entrenched as new shipping technologies have been introduced The introduction and adoption of container shipping has reinforced the importance of specific ports 3Third a global network of connected centres has emerged Cities that have become focal points of trade are often closer to each other in relative terms than those centres are with inland centres that were once their hinterlands because of transportation networksAnd here is something else to think about how these advances in transportation of become interconnected Advances in shipping and shipping technologies have linked with the expansion of railroads and roads and the integration of these forms of transportation have created the geography of global trade creating networks of major centres around the worldContainer technology as an examplePlay TimeLapse container operations at the port of Long Beach CA httpvimeocom66553115 New technologies and practices emerge from the hybridization of knowledge and the reconfiguration of existing technologies into new configurations Remember what I argued last week when introducing the framework of political economy that economics must be seen in the
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