The blog’s top ten most popular posts

Top Ten image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Top Ten image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Every few months I ask the University of North Carolina Press to send me the statistics for this blog. Amongst the many things that it lets me see is where the blog’s audience is (mainly the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and France), and the total size of the audience (1,347 visitors between February and April 2013). I can also see which posts visitors view the most. Here is a list of the most popular posts to date:

  1. The Introduction to International Studies Syllabus. This was the most frequently viewed post, which makes sense since this blog is mainly intended for faculty teaching classes on International or Global Studies.
  2. The Lost Island of Bermeja. People are fascinated by islands, and even more so by the idea of a place that is lost. This post tried to use folklore to look at U.S.-Mexican relations, and a national obsession with a vanished island.
  3. Witches Broom, the mystery of chocolate and bioterrorism in Brazil. This post examined allegations that government employees in Brazil may have deliberately introduced an invasive species into North-eastern Brazil’s cacao plantations for political reasons, which caused that nation’s cacao production to plummet. I think that this post touched a nerve about both terrorism and the food supply. If Brazilian officials did commit this crime, whom can you trust? It also serves as a warning about the risks of agricultural terrorism in other world regions, where major crops –bananas, rubber- are vulnerable to invasive species.
  4. The Vela Incident. This post examined a flash detected by an aging American satellite over the southern oceans. For decades people have debated whether this satellite had captured a clandestine nuclear test. Together with the two previous posts, its success suggests that this blog’s audience is interested in international mysteries.
  5. Realism and Human Security: A Map of U.S. Security Interests. I think that people are fascinated with maps, and this particular map raised larger issues about the world view of U.S. policymakers.
  6. Rubrics for International/Global Studies. Over the last year I’ve begun to rely heavily on rubrics for my courses, because not only do they make grading easier, but also they represent a powerful tool to communicate with students. I always share my rubrics with the class before an assignment, and I believe that this improves their work. With this post, I share a rubric for a mid-term exam in “Introduction to International and Global Studies.”
  7. Broken Arrow, Lost Nuclear Weapons in Canada. Few Canadians are probably aware that more than once, nuclear weapons have disappeared in Canada.
  8. Theoretical Foundations of Global Studies Syllabus. I’ve been teaching a theory class for International and Global Studies, and this revised syllabus has proved popular. This fall I will be teaching this class as a hybrid, and I’ll post yet another revised syllabus for the course.
  9. Egypt’s Military and the Latin American Experience. I began my career studying civil-military relations and military terror in Brazil. As I watched events in Egypt, I was struck with parallels with what I had seen earlier in Latin America, which gave rise to this post.
  10. The Concept of Security. This post looked at Portugal’s decision to decriminalize drug crimes. Even though this post was on the UNC blog, it was the one for which I have had the most feedback to date.
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