I love maps and use them in my “Introduction to International Studies” class frequently. I also use the maps from the textbook in a series of classroom exercises, to encourage students to think critically about how maps portray data, such as different visions of security. So I was delighted to come across this webpage, which is intended to put the United States into perspective. The webpage provides nineteen maps of states or nations overlaying the United States. My favorite map is actually the first one. It’s hard to understand the size of Alaska until you see a map of the state superimposed over the mainland, with the Aleutian islands reaching into northern California, while southeastern Alaska touches northern Florida. The map of Brazil -which reaches from central Saskatchewan to southern Mexico- also conveys the immensity of that nation. I won’t describe the other maps, except to say that Chile’s size would allow it to reach from New York to Bogota, while Africa’s immensity becomes clear. In the spring I’m teaching a fully online “Introduction to International Studies” course, and I think that I’ll need to create a class activity around this site.
Shawn Smallman, Portland State University