GEO 1000 Mid-Term Exam Review
1. Borders are closely linked with the governance of states, their international
relations, and the make-up of their populations. How have the functions of borders in
North America changed since the 1800s? Focus on either the US-Mexican or the Canada-US
Borders since the 1800’s have transformed significantly within its use and creation. In the
early 19 century borders included continent-wide networks, no fortified borders, or private
property regime. Each structure within the borders defined the way people traded, and who was
considered American, Canadian or Mexican. This involvement of borders eventually evolved
overtime due to such changes in society, security, an excessive amount of illegal immigration, and
The 1800’s and earlier included massive amounts of trade between tribes in North
America as similar today. The difference though is how continent-wide networks have
tremendously evolved since these times. Canada, the US and Mexico now consist of provinces and
borders between countries. These borders define the way products are owned by Canada, etc.
Products such as lumber in Canada can now be identified as a highly priced commodity as it is
‘Canadian lumber’ rather than Mexican lumber. Technology has also aided the continent-wide
networks as well as supplies are transported quicker than two hundred years ago at a very efficient
rate. Routes for trading have also improved with technology through trading from planes and
The introduction of fortified borders was introduced in the 1980’s because a high
increase of illegal immigration. Border lines in Canada and the US are especially monitored for the
reason that illegal immigrants may come into the nation. There is also a high sense of security that
comes along with borders. As the borders progressed throughout the years, it took stages: Colonial
border, National border, Frontier phase, Anti-immigration border, Geopolitical border, and Security
border. Following the events that took place during the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the
American and Canadian governments raised security at their airports to prevent unwanted events
occurring during the process of the crossing of borders. The United States and Mexico have a long
history of illegal immigration into the US from Mexico with no tolerance from US officials, thus a
large amount of deportations in the 1930’s of illegal Mexican residents.
Since the 1800’s the rise of private property regimes has also provided an overhaul in
society and borders. Property was not privatized until the late 1800’s and provided ownership and
land rights for people. The importance of private property regimes is for the flexibility people have
with their property compared to earlier in history when land was often owned by the state rather
than individuals. This gave an upsurge to people to being able to construct property on their land,
grow crops within their land but doing so only on the land that is included in their own property
Borders have changed…CONCLUSION Thesis: The functions of the US-Mexican border have significantly improved since the 1800s. These
changes include an increase in security, a division from the ‘Other’, as well as improved control of
mobility through the borders.
Argument 1: INCREASE IN SECURITY
Since September 11 , the United States government has established a protocol to increase the
security of their borders. These precautions were set in place to prevent crime, terrorists and
threats from crossing their borders into their country. In Professor Best’s lecture on Geopolitical
borders, he explained that there have been six stages of borders that the United States has used so
far. These stages include: the colonial border, the national border, the frontier phase, the anti-
immigration border, the geopolitical border and finally the security border. Seeing as there have
been multiple developments to the borders, it is safe to say that the United States will continue to
upgrade and fortify their borders.
Argument 2: DISCOURSING THE ‘OTHER’
Most illegal immigrants that cross over the US-Mexican border are searching for a better lifestyle
than they already have. Hearing about the ‘American dream’ or how other Mexicans have made
their dreams come true creates a sense of the ‘other’ that Professor Best spoke about in lecture. He
explained that the ‘other’ is a sense of wondering, but not knowing completely what lies on the
other side. As this applies to Mexicans, it also applies to Americans, but not to the same extent.
Most Americans do not really know what really lies on the Mexican side of the border. They do not
understand the lifestyle that the people life there. Americans would not want to cross over into
Mexico, as they do not prefer that lifestyle.
Argument 3: HIGH CONTROL OF MOBILITY
As the textbook states, there are four issues that occur at the US-Mexican border. These issues
include the amount of legal immigrants that should be allowed into the country, the amount of
illegal immigrants that cross over the border from Mexico into the US, the amount of drug-related
violence near the US-Mexico border (Mexico is the leading source of methamphetamine, heroin
and marijuana into the US), and the fact that there is no political consensus on a fair policy to deal
with millions of unregistered workers in the US that come from Mexico. Professor Best explained
that channeling mobility allows for these issues to be controlled, but also allows for a country to
control their population. By separating the two nations with strict rules of crossing the border, it
will allow the United States to create a sense of the ‘other’ that was spoken about earlier. 2. Canada prides itself on being a multicultural society. Has Canada always been
multicultural? How has this changed, and are there still effects of earlier policies in the
definition of who is “Canadian”?
Canada is known as a multicultural nation who prides itself on including everyone as
Canadian citizens and residents with rights and freedoms. Though Canada is known this way,
Canada has though not been pro-multicultural since Confederation. Canada has had its own
challenges in establishing itself as a multicultural society. Canada has at one point in history been
included in the segregation the US endured with its black citizens.
Multicultural consists of three different manners to which it can be achieved. The first is
descriptive: a co-presence of a variety of “cultures.” This can be thought of as the realization that
society is comprised of not only white males or females but also people of different colour and
culture. The second is political: policy type/management of a multicultural situation.
Multiculturalism in a political sense is the creation of regulations or policies not only for a particular
group of people or culture but for all people. The US’ earlier anti-black shops or washrooms often
had different signs for people of non-colour and people of colour. The third is forward-
looking/value: desire to overcome cultural boundaries. In a multicultural state, it is the idea to
remove all forms of differentiation between different culture and people’s skin. People and politics
attempt to remove dividing lines between different people as well.
Canada though has not always been multicultural as evident in the late and early-20
century. Vancouver’s high volume of Chinese immigrants created outbursts of anger and riots
within Western Canada. Chinese immigrants were often sent back to their country because of their
unwanted status in Canada. People whom were deemed as unsuitable for the Canadian climate or
requirements of Canada would also often be sent home. Likewise, in Toronto similar riots broke out
in 1918. Anti-Greek riots were highlighted because Greeks were the unwanted people in Toronto
during this era in Canadian history. A few years later in 1923, the Chinese Immigration (Exclusion)
Act/preferred countries was created. This newly developed act established a frame of mind of
which culture of race is dominant or can comply with the Canadian standards established earlier in
Canada in 1971 began a transformation and establishment of multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism is now seen as a bilingual framework. English and French being the dominant
language in Canada now have other languages alongside such as Italian, Greek, Mandarin, etc.
Language is very important in multiculturalism because as it became an establishment that Canada
is to be a bilingual state, brings about the acceptances of different ways in which people
communicate rather than the English that most Canada born Canadians are used to hear. In 1982,
Canada introduced the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This new act is extremely vital
in producing a frame of mind not only socially but politically that as a Canadian citizen people are
all equal. This Charter removed ideas of born in Canada Canadians only being able to receive
benefits but people being about to obtain them being an immigrant as long as a person is Canadian,
they are entitled to the rights, freedoms and benefits being a Canadian brings about. 1988 brought
about the third massive transformation of multiculturalism with the Canadian Multiculturalism
Act. This act was not the only and first in play as there were many provincial acts across the nation
since the 1970`s. This act predominantly brought about anti-racism at all levels of government in
Canada allowing people being free in towns or cities, provinces and the entire nation as a whole. Thesis: Overall, Canada has always been a multicultural society. There have been multiple changes
to the Canadian policies, which have affected new immigrants trying to move to Canada.
Argument 1: ALWAYS BEEN MULTICULTURAL
Thinking back to the mid 1700s, Canada (at the time still a colony of Britain) was very
multicultural. As the textbook states, there were the natives that had first claim to the land as well
as the French that occupied the St. Lawrence Valley. After 1765, Canada welcomed new migrants
from Britain, Ireland and the United States. In the early 1900s, both Canada and the United States
received a surge of migration flows coming from Eastern Europeans, Italians, Ukrainians and
Russians. Finally, the last set of migrants to Canada came from all over Asia, especially China.
Argument 2: CHANGES TO THE POLICIES
As Professor Best explained in one of his lectures, in between the years of 1971-1988 there
were three major changes to Canadian policies. In 1967, a points system was established for new
immigrants that wanted to claim Canadian citizenship. This points system filtered out (bad)
immigrants that were not qualified enough to live in Canada. In 1982, Canada developed the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that stated every Canadians rights within the country.
Finally, in 1988, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was released for the entire nation (previous acts
were passed solely for provinces).
Argument 3: EFFECTS OF THESE CHANGES
Due to the changes mentioned above, many people have been affected in their definition
of making them “Canadian”. If an immigrant, for example, had not claimed citizenship prior to
1967, they were forced to take the points test to determine if they were qualified or not. Failing
this requirement would make it much more difficult to obtain a visa. In 1982, with the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms being established, it protected all Canadian citizens. If you were not a
Canadian citizen then these changes would affect you greatly, especially if your country of origin
has strict rules to follow. Finally with the establishment of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, it
ensured all immigrants and Aboriginals’ heritages and rights were protected. This was a positive
effect as it increased Canadian Multiculturalism. 3. Films, novels, comic books, and other media do not exist in a vacuum, but are situated in
a specific social/political setting that they reflect on or are influenced by. Explain how
popular culture is related to the changing geopolitical world orders in the 20 Century,
using media examples from different world orders.
Thesis: When world issues are placed in popular culture, it makes it easier to understand and
comprehend problems that are occurring around the world. The films of Rocky IV, Avatar and
Homeland will be used to explain how geopolitical world orders are placed in popular culture.
Argument 1: ROCKY IV
The movie “Rocky IV” is a prime example of how geopolitical issues were placed in popular
culture. Rocky IV is a great example of the Cold War and the conflict between the United States and
the USSR. Rocky, the main character, is American, and plays the role of the United States. Ivan
Drago, who is from the Soviet Union, plays the role of the USSR. Rocky’s conflict with Drago is that
he killed Apollo Creed in an exhibition match. Rocky sets out to avenge Apollo and decides to fight
Drago. In the end, Rocky wins his fight and defeats Drago. This perspective shows that the USA is
more powerful than the USSR. During the time of the Cold War, these two superpowers were at
constant conflict with one another as Rocky and Drago are in the film.
Argument 2: AVATAR
In the movie Avatar, paraplegic marine Jake Sully is sent out on a mission to Pandora,
where he comes in contact with the “Na’vi”, a native species of the land. He then learns about a
man named Parker Selfridge, who is trying to drive the Na’vi off their land. The reason he is trying
to gain access to the land is to mine precious material scattered throughout their forests. This is a
great example of how governments are trying to gain access to native reserves all across the world.
To these natives, their land is precious and sacred, but because it is home to precious materials, the
government wants it. The arctic, for example, is the biggest fresh water reserve on earth. There are
also lots of gas and oil resources in the arctic, causing a conflict between governments of who owns
the arctic and its resources. The fight for resources between governments and the infiltration of
“holy” land that provides a home for natives is currently a major issue around the world.
Argument 3: HOMELAND
The TV show Homeland, portrays a common geopolitical issue surrounding the United
States. The war on terror in Iraq has been a major issue for many years, especially more recently
where many innocent people have died. The TV show takes perspective from Carrie Matheson, a
CIA operations officer, who is sent out to Iraq as part of the Counter terrorist center. The conflict
between the United States and Al-Qaeda goes on throughout each episode as Carrie tries to save
an American prisoner of war. Taking from the perspective of an American, this TV show tried to
portray how big of a superpower the United States are (CIA, etc.). 4. Canada’s provinces are not equal. They have different economic conditions, social
structures, wage levels, etc. How can Canada’s equalization payments and other transfers
be interpreted as a form of regional policy? Briefly explain how these transfers compare to
other forms of regional policy.
5. North American electoral geography is characterized by a very specific role of space
in political representation and elections. What are the advantages and disadvantages of
this role of territoriality? Explain using examples from both Canada and the US.
Thesis: If analyzed incorrectly, North American electoral geography can be misinterpreted. The
advantages and disadvantages of the First Past the Post (FPTP) system, Pork Barrel Spending, and
Gerrymandering in North American electoral geography will be explained.
Argument 1: FIRST PAST THE POST (FPTP)
The “First Past the Post” voting system is one of the most commonly known/used voting
techniques in the world. It consists of voting for a candidate, with the winner being chosen by the
majority votes. As Professor Best explained in lecture, the advantages of having a FPTP voting
system is that it encourages riding-based political strategies, each individual voter matters and that
it creates a clear contact person for local issues. The disadvantages of a FPTP voting system is that a
minority interest is not represented, it does not always fully represent the proportion of votes, and
there are often clear majorities.
Argument 2: PORK BARREL SPENDING
Pork Barrel spending, most commonly used in the United States, is a method of bringing
money into a representative’s district, with the help of government funding. Pork Barrel spending
also has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, an advantage for the representative that
“pork barrels” is that they can maintain their support and votes of their people for the next
election. It is a scapegoat to make it seem like they contributed to their district. On the other hand,
this type of action usually includes many disadvantages. It only helps certain individuals, not
accounting for the entire population of the area.
Argument 3: GERRYMANDERING
Finally, Gerrymandering consists of grouping a selected area to result in a favored vote
towards a certain candidate. This, in simpler terms, creates a region or district that will suit a
political view. Professor Best explained in lecture, with Gerrymandering, what is an advantage to
one may be a disadvantage to another depending on which political candidate they want to win.
Specific districts are created in order to ensure a majority vote for one political party. If one is not
in support of a specific party, but are recognized in a Gerrymandered district, this specific role does
not work in their favor. This also occurs a lot in the United States, as Professor Best clarified. Some
specific areas include the Texas 27 “Glock Pistol”, Maryland’s 3 “Amoeba Convention” and the
Texas 23 “Bottle Opener”. 6. “Cohesion” is an important aspect of EU policy. What is the purpose of this policy, and
how does it work? How is the practice of EU cohesion policy different from a traditional
welfare state approach?
Thesis: The EU, being a very unique cohesion of countries, is very different from the traditional
welfare state approach. The purpose of cohesion, how it works and how it differs from the
traditional welfare state approach will be examined throughout.
Argument 1: PURPOSE OF COHESION
The purpose of the cohesion policy was to offer a wider proposal to stimulate the growth of
the European Union, dealing with issues such as the completion of the Internal Market and the
Growth and Stability Pact. One of the EU’s main concerns is their growth and financial status. As
many countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are in debt, the EU would like for these
countries to stabilize once again. Other purposes of creating the cohesion policy include a creation
of a political body (all nations as one), and the creation of quasi-citizenship and population.
Argument 2: HOW COHESION WORKS
The cohesion policy, in simple terms, allows for all the countries of Europe to come
together and be recognized as one, the EU. Some perks that arise with this policy include the
sharing of one currency, and one citizenship. Citizens of EU member countries will be able to travel
to other states without the hassles of borders. They will be able to cross into any other EU state
and also use their money there, as it is all the same currency. From a government standpoint, all
decisions and agreements will be decided together as an organization, with all EU members
following the same laws. The EU cohesion policy will also aid those countries that are in a financial
crisis to try to stabilize them. This cohesion policy aims to bring all countries to the same level
again, and to work as one Supra-nation.
Argument 3: COHESION VS TRADITIONAL WELFARE STATE APPROACH
When the EU formed, it`s predominant idea was to erase this uneven economic status of
nation states by providing aid and all having the same currency. The EU places a strong focus on
economics and the stability of its countries. Economics and stability of its nation states brings a
strong desire for capital through business or projects. The EU has other ideas like establishing its
people as one, rather than being people of different nations. In the EU, borders are non-evident as
well. This interconnection allows citizens within the EU to be connected with people from one side
of EU Europe to the other. On the other hand, traditional countries such as Canada and the US do
not have these privileges. Although, both