Power of Place Ch. 3, part 1, QS


1. “Religion can constitute a dominant ingredient in the power of place, and that power varies geographically.”



2. The recent furor that the video “The Innocence of Muslims” caused is an example of the insult and passion DeBlij refers to in this passage:

But nothing matches the passion incited by religious insult or humiliation. What is seen as a minor instance of freedom of expression in secular context may be regarded as a capital offense by those who view themselves as defenders of their faith.”


3. How is religion a “countervailing force, roughening rather than flattening the landscape of globalization”?


4. How is the relationship between latitude and linguistic diversity similar to the relationship between latitude and religious diversity?


5. DeBlij’s summary of the evolution of different types of subsistence (agriculturalists, hunters and gatherers, herders) in different physical environments (tropical rainforests, mid-latitude arid regions) is related to different sorts of religions (monotheistic vs. polytheistic) and gender status and roles and descent systems (matrilineal vs. patrilineal) is interesting.


He concludes with the important point by Sapolsky: “ours is a Judeo-Christian/Muslim world”, three religions that emerged from the arid regions of Southwest Asia.


6. What is the fate of the belief systems of peoples of the tropical rainforest? Why?



7. Which religion prevails in the global core? Where else? How did it come to spread to those regions?


8. Which religion prevails in the global periphery?



9. What is the population of Christians and Muslims?


10. Why might the population of Islam surpass that of Christianity?


Remember these two points. They both reflect how effectively Islam has spread out of the Middle East.

1.         Most Muslims are not Arabs.

2.         Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population.



11. Note the 1 billion believers in China and India who practice an East Asian faith or Hinduism. And, India’s 14 million Muslim citizens. That’s quite a large minority.


12. Also, be aware that world maps that show cultural patterns (language and religion) obscure lots of diversity. The patterns they show are also only temporary. Languages can spread and/or die. So, too can religions. Currently Europe is becoming more Muslim. Will that process continue? Will China become more Christian? Will Africa become more Muslim?


13. What is the “north-south” religious split to which DeBlij refers and how did it manifest itself in the Americas?



14. Concerning membership and worship in Europe’s traditional religions, what is the current trend?



15. What religion entered Europe after World War II? Who brought it? What are some of the results?


16. What are the two main sects of Islam? What percent of Muslims belong to each sect?


17. Describe the geographic distribution of each sect.


18. Identify the regions from which Muslims migrated to Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


19. According to DeBlij, why might radical forms of Islam be attractive to Muslim mobals in Europe?



20. What demographic characteristics of Europe’s Muslims and non-Muslims make the notion of a “Muslim Europe” less than far-fetched?