In her lifetime, Frida Kahlo was fêted by the French surrealists, a heroine of the Latin American left, and an integral part of the new wave of painters emerging in post-revolutionary Mexico. Her life and works fell into obscurity after she died, but they wouldn’t be forgotten. In the 1980′s, her works entered a new vogue as critics, often working from a feminist or third-world perspective, reevaluated her paintings. We provide a bit of background on who she was and provide links to her works and criticism.
Her childhood is somewhat shrouded in myth. While born in 1907, she often claimed she was born in 1910, the year of the Mexican Revolution. Her parents were a German immigrant– whom Frida would claim was of Jewish extraction, but this is disputed– and a Mexican woman of predominantly American Indian stock. The Revolution was still raging in the streets of Mexico City during her childhood, and the armed struggle between the peasants and landlords deeply affected her.
What was, in many ways, the defining event of her young life was the 1925 bus crash that left her in a full body cast for three months. Already weakened by polio in her childhood, she suffered multiple broken bones. However, it gave her time to paint, and it was in this period that she began to develop her unique style.
Her style incorporated a number of recurrent themes and subjects. Her health problems and physical pain, religious symbolism, the struggle between her Western European and American Indian identities, and traditional Mexican motif. She quickly won support among the French surrealist writers and painters. André Breton, the chief spokesperson and de facto head of the surrealist movement, referred to her paintings as a “ribbon around a bomb.” As with many painters associated with surrealism, she was a militant Marxist, and many of her paintings have a decidedly anti-capitalist spin to them. She remained politically active through her entire life, actively supporting Communist and indigenous rights movements.
In 1929, she married fellow painter Diego Rivera. They would have a tumultuous relationship over the next 20 years. He had multiple affairs, as did she, including with fellow luminaries Josephine Baker and Leon Trotsky. Despite that, they, in many respects, remained partners, and greatly influenced each others’ paintings.
Her death in 1954 at the age of 47 came as a shock to the art world. The cause given was pulmonary embolism, although many suspect a drug overdose, either inadvertent or intentional. At her cremation, witnesses describe her body bolting upright, engulfed in flames, Frida’s face frozen into a smile.
Following her death, her works fell out of fashion, even as her husband Diego Rivera’s paintings were being hailed as revolutionary. It wasn’t until the early ’80s that a new generation of Mexican painters began to look to her for inspiration. She quickly became the subject of books, film, modern composition, and even an opera. The apotheosis of this came in 2002, when the film Frida was released, starring Salma Hayek. It was with this that Frida Kahlo emerged into the popular consciousness of Europe and North America, and her place in the canon of the public imagination was secured.
Further Reading and Research
- The complete works of Frida Kahlo - archive of the complete paintings of Frida Kahlo
- Frida nudes - Julien Levy did a set of photos of Frida in 1938 as part of a larger series. Hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- The official Frida Kahlo Site - official site of the Frida Kahlo estate
- Frida Kahlo: a Life - The Socialist Review, a British leftist paper, published a thoughtful article on the works and life of Frida Kahlo from a left perspective.
- “The Trouble With Frida Kahlo” by Stephanie Mencimer - The Washington Monthly alternative paper wrote an interesting examination of Frida Kahlo’s works and how she has ultimately been transformed into a commodity. Stephanie Mencimer criticizes the Frida hagiography of recent years, as well as discusses the gap between her present popularity and her own feminist and Marxist beliefs.
- The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo | PBS - PBS put together a documentary on Frida Kahlo, and the website contains numerous resources as well.
- The Case of the Questionable Frida Kahlo Paintings - Newsweek wrote an article in August 2010 about a case of Frida Kahlo forgery.
- Frida Kahlo Biography: Medical Mystery, Controversial Death - An article from CBS on Frida Kahlo’s mysterious death
- MUSEO FRIDA KAHLO >>> CASA AZUL - La Casa Azul is the house in Mexico City where Frida Kahlo was born and died. Today it operates as a museum.
- Frida Kahlo and Contemporary Thoughts - A portal on the thought and works of Frida Kahlo from a decidedly postmodern perspective, relating her art to issues of pain, sociology of the body, performativity, and the human/non-human divide
Image Source: Frida Kahlo in 1932 (Source: Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons)
The need to produce greener technologies and adapt environmentally friendly practices is becoming greater and greater. In few disciplines is this need as present as in architecture. Currently, the discipline is largely informed by sustainable practices. The Guide to Architecture Resources provides valuable references for further learning about the field of architecture. Prominent contemporary examples are explored and resources for use in planning architectural projects are also included. Among the many architectural guides in our collection, this source of information provides quality resources that are highly valuable for students, building managers, professionals and those who are otherwise interested in the discipline.
General Information on Architecture and Planning
Architecture is the discipline of designing and erecting buildings. While some consider it to be a science, others see it more as an art form. Physical buildings are significant representations of culture or politics and contain perceptions inherent in society. Architects also realize the importance of context in terms of environment as well as history. Good architectural practices are dependent upon utilizing these characteristics in order to create products that are historically and culturally relevant. Three practical principals guide the discipline: durability, utility, and aesthetics. These principals are integral at all levels of designing and planning. Architecture is continually acted upon by the functional requirements of buildings as well as the available technologies and resources for their construction. Many factors are responsible for influencing architecture and ultimately result in complex products.
Major Contemporary Examples of Architecture
Major examples of modern architecture challenge conventional conceptions of design through unique approaches and original appearance. Often constructed as iconic representations of geographic locations or as significant functional buildings which house art or events, these works are physical manifestations of culture. Utilizing highly technical methods which are informed by technological innovation, these buildings are created through modern practices. The complexity of these projects is a result of cultural-ideological and practical advancement.
- Sydney Opera House – Arguably the most recognizable piece of contemporary architecture, the Sydney Opera House is an iconic symbol of Sydney and Australia as a whole. The architect of the building, Jørn Utzon, received the Pritzker Prize for its construction and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- National Grand Theatre – An exterior of titanium accented glass surrounded by an artificial lake distinguishes this recent architectural project. While modern architecture is met with ambivalence in China, the construction of this work displays the future of architecture in the country.
- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is considered one of the most important works of contemporary architecture. Reflective titanium panels are used to create an organic looking building which matches its environment.
- 30 St Mary Axe is an easily recognizable and unorthodox work of architecture located in London, England. Formerly the Baltic Exchange building, the 30 St Mary Axe is now Britain’s most expensive building, costing 630 million pounds.
- National Grand Theatre – An exterior of titanium accented glass surrounded by an artificial lake distinguishes this recent architectural project. While modern architecture is met with ambivalence in China, the construction of this work displays the future of architecture in the country.
Planning and Architecture Resources
Within the last decade architecture has undergone a significant shift in emphases. Green technologies and building techniques have come to the foreground of architecture and are currently focal points. As existing buildings are challenged with limiting their negative impact on the environment, new methods and materials allow architects to construct in a more earth-friendly way. Beyond the ideological and conceptual benefits, such approaches are cost-effective and highly popular. Further, there are many government programs which reward and encourage green practices. In order to succeed as an architect, it is important to consider the value of such approaches.
- World Architecture Community – Is a global effort to create a virtual meeting place for architects from all over the world. WA offers resources informing users of contemporary architectural practices and theory.
- ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities – The official document which details technical requirements for accessibility in architecture as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These guidelines must be followed in the design, construction and alteration of buildings.
- The American Institute of Architects is a professional organization for architects and allied partners that acts as the unified voice of architects. AIA is also responsible for creating contract documents, conducting market research and promoting design excellence.
- The English Dictionary: Architecture Terms – A glossary of over 1000 terms that are specific to architecture. Taken from the Collaborative International Dictionary of English, these definitions also include meanings outside of the context of architecture.
- Built in America – The Library of Congress hosts the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, and Historic American Landscapes Survey collections which document the history of architecture in America. Explore achievements in architecture, engineering and design through a wide range of building types and environments.
- Architect of the Capitol – The Architect of the Capitol is a federal agency that is responsible for maintaining, preserving and developing the buildings and land of the United States Capitol Complex. Those in the agency utilize modern approaches in order to work most effectively, while respecting historical significance.
- archINFORM is a database of over 29,000 planned or built projects which mainly focuses on contemporary architecture. International in scale, archINFORM’s database is the largest online collection of its type.
- Building Design and Construction: White Paper on Sustainability – A brief history in sustainable architecture is provided in addition to an analysis of leading trends and related issues. Dialogue surrounding sustainable development is further encouraged through an action plan of best practices and recommendations.
- The Cities and Buildings Database is a digital collection of buildings and plans searchable by country, city, style, title, architect or date of construction. Containing a wide variety of buildings which span across large periods of time and geographical locations the database appeals to many.
- LEED Certification –Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international green building certification system. It provides a clear framework for encouraging sustainable building design and operations, while offering rating systems which promote strategies for environmental performance.
- The Sustainable Facilities Tool allows for the identification and prioritization of cost-effective green building strategies. It is also provides advice for materials to use in different building contexts and informs about sustainability in general.
Sydney Opera House Photo Wikimedia Commons by Enoch Lau (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sydney_Opera_House_Sails_edit02.jpg)
National Grand Theatre by Hui Lan (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Grand_Theatre.jpg)
The American West was marked by heavy struggle, cultural conflict, physical drama, exploration, and lots economic of stimulation. Over time tales of the frontier have captivated and mystified citizens, and even today the Old American West is thought of as a lawless space outside of the reaches of society where people had to become sinister to survive. Not very long ago, a photograph of Billy the Kid (who was a famous frontier gunman) sold for $2.3 million at an auction, proving a continued interest the Old West. The intense fascination with the American West has thoroughly confused and winnowed aspects of fiction and fact, resulting in a unique product that relies equally on both.
The American West began just about west of the Mississippi River. Primarily, the historical time period encapsulating the American West ranges from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920. The Louisiana Purchase, conducted by Thomas Jefferson and negotiated by Robert R. Livingston, more than doubled the land area of the United States. Bought from France for $15 million, the purchase significantly altered the course of American history.
The push westward was realized through political compromise, military conquest, and expanding populations that settled in the new territory. Holisitically, the United States benefited greatly from securing the West. By obtaining more land, additional resources were procured which contributed to the industrialization of the country. The great fur trade further influenced westward expansion. The Pacific Northwest was very valuable for acquiring furs and trading with Asian markets as well as Native American populations. Recognizing the value of such opportunities, settlers continued towards the western coast.
Economic interest continued to increase along with the discovery of gold. The California Gold Rush of the mid-nineteenth century prompted thousands of people to travel across the United States in hopes of fulfilling the American Dream. John Sutter owned the land on which the first gold in California was discovered, and after this find large-scale prospecting interests skyrocketed. Reports from public servicemen greatly informed attitudes towards the prevalence of gold, which may have otherwise been more skeptical. In addition to gaining the interest of those in the eastern states, the Gold Rush attracted experienced miners from South America and Europe.
The Gold Rush significantly changed the Californian economy and boosted its population substantially. In 1850 women made up less than 10% of the population, which was believed to be over 100,000. It is reported that in total over 200,000 people came to California because of the Gold Rush. This increased population also led to the mass development of agriculture, which would go on to contribute greatly to the region’s sustainability. In some cases, this rush for economic development led to increasingly poor relations between settlers and Native populations.
Officially, the United States government was interested in attaining federal sovereignty over the West. Part of this effort entailed placing free-roaming Native Americans onto reservations. Removal of tribes from the southeastern United States resulted in forced marches and relocation, as seen during the Trail of Tears. During this forced relocation, thousands of Muscogee, Seminole, Choctaw, and 17,000 Cherokee marched across 1200 miles of land in the harsh winter months. Expansion greatly altered the lives of Native Americans, who would have their land stolen and who would suffer massive casualties.
Interactions with Native Americans ranged from being friendly, ambivalent, or violent. Such interactions varied greatly due to geographic location, tribal culture, and regional settler behavior. As pressure from the United States government increased, Native attitudes towards settlers largely worsened. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, a number of what are referred to as Indian Wars took place. Throughout the frontier, Natives fought with the United States military and settlers. Often these wars were attempts to regain access to land that Native tribes had once lived on. In other cases, higher numbers of settlers mining for gold resulted in increased tension. In addition to open warfare, tribes suffered from diseases to which they had no natural immunity.
Large Names in the Old West
Limited amounts of law enforcement in conjunction with unclear or sparse legal control resulted in widespread vigilantism in the Old West. Notorious gunslingers and outlaws like Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Erp establish the Old West as a place of gunman and marauders on an individual level. Lawmen are often depicted as being morally ambiguous, forced to make difficult decisions with no clear answer. Many attempted to take the law into their own hands, or impose the law as they saw fit.
- General George Custer was an Army officer who fought in the American Civil War as well as the Indian Wars. He is most well-known for his involvement in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where he was killed in combat.
- John Jacob Astor became a multimillionaire through his work in the fur trading industry. He established the American Fur Company, which benefitted greatly from the West.
- Crazy Horse was the leader of the Oglala Lakota who lived between 1840 and 1877. He resisted federal encroachment and worked to protect the way of life of the Lakota people.
- Wild Bill Hickok - Made a legend by his gunfighting skills and reputation as a “man-killer,” Wild Bill is remembered as the premier gunfighter of the Old West. A veteran of the Civil War who worked as a scout and detective, his desperado image is believed to be quite different from his real personality.
- Calamity Jane –Having lived much of her life on the trail, Jane quickly became known as a skilled marksman and strong rider. After joining the army under General George Custer, Jane became a scout. A few years later she met Wild Bill Hickok, who she reportedly got along with quite well.
- Wyatt Earp was a gambler and law enforcement officer who served in several Western frontier towns. Moving from boomtown to boomtown, Earp made a number of investments in mining interests and saloons. Although his brother Virgil had greater experience in law enforcement, Wyatt’s fame is partially thanks to a largely fictionalized biography. Along with Doc Holliday, the Earp family took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Other Places To Go For Information
Many factors influenced the westward expansion and the development of the Western United States. Some of these factors are addressed are discussed in the following resources:
- Pony Express – National trails of the Pony Express are provided on this map which covers the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. National parks, wildlife refuges and recreational areas are indicated alongside historic routes.
- George Custer: An American Embarrassment – A highly controversial figure, Custer has become both an icon in “winning the West” as well as a villain. Though he is often seen as a martyr, the history surrounding Custer and his involvement in combating Native Americans is debated.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and is part of the Grant-Kohrs Ranch Historic Collection, bought by the National Park Service in 1972 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cowboy_20060805173639.jpg)
Long ago in a different age, in a kingdom far away, nameless storytellers sat down by the fire and wove their tales for hungry imaginations. The people listening looked different depending on the time and their location, and the stories varied, too — while West Africans listened to how the Lion and the Mouse learned to hunt together, young Celts became absorbed in the tale the shepherd who outsmarted the Sea Maiden.
Though the characters and setting of such folktales vary by region, the content is generally similar: the stories exist to shed light on the inexplicable, (such as in the Native American tale of how corn came to the earth), or to impart a moral lesson as in the fable of the Tortoise, who cleverly beats the Hare in a footrace through humble diligence and persistence.
Many tales contain elements of magic or mysticism and commonly feature interaction with supernatural beings or personified animals. The stories relate universal truths within a culture, and often deal with the anxieties and hardships people faced at a particular time: making a living, finding a mate, raising children, acquiring the basic comforts of life, and the list goes on. To that end, the stuff of folk and fairy tales remains the story of modern life, and as is true of life today, folktales do not always end happily ever after.
Folktales are oral records that are told within a culture and passed down through generations. Because of the nature of the oral tradition, these tales have a certain malleability: over many retellings, they can be adapted to fit the purpose of the storyteller. As cultures came into contact with one another, their mythos were often adapted to incorporate elements from the stories of other peoples. While too many thousands of folktales exist to catalogue them all, this guide will introduce some prominent ones, and will highlight elements from folklore around the world.
The European folklore tradition is difficult to summarize in brevity since it captures an exceptionally broad range of cultures. However, many of the most famous folktales arose from German ancestry. A lot of the tales with which Westerners are most familiar are the stories of the Brothers Grimm, which were by and large cautionary and instructive tales. Take, for example, “Little Red Cap” (more commonly known now as Little Red Riding Hood), who learns of the danger of strangers in general, and wolves in particular, when a hungry wolf disguises himself as Red Cap’s grandmother and tries to eat her. Many European stories feature thematic premises centered on the poor rising upward in society, as in “Cinderella”, the story of the poor maid who managed to capture the heart of a prince through a pinch of magic and a handful of self-confidence in her beauty.
See more examples of folktales from the European tradition with:
- “The Sea Maiden” (Celtic)
- “The Bremen Town Musicians” (German)
- “The Elves and the Shoemaker” (German)
- “Town Mouse and Country Mouse” (Romanian and Norwegian versions)
In many Asian folktales themes include generosity towards one’s neighbors, obedience to one’s elders, and achieving success through hard work. Most provide clear moral messages, as in the Chinese story “Wait Next to the Tree for the Rabbit”. In this story, a farmer is resting from his work in the rice paddy by a tree when a rabbit happens to run into the tree and die. The lucky farmer skins and eats the rabbit, and decides that he will no longer work the paddies, but instead, wait for another rabbit to chance by. Another rabbit never shows, and the lazy farmer goes hungry with neither meat nor rice to eat. Thus, the value of hard work and the idea that you reap what you sow is imparted.
See more examples of folktales from the Asian tradition with:
One of the more outstanding characteristics of African folktales is the emergence of the trickster, a character who may be virtuous or wily, human or animal, and whose role is usually to demonstrate the triumph of brain over physical strength when it comes to dealing with adversity. The trickster is best personified by Anansi, who is typically portrayed as either a spider or a spider-man in West African culture. Anansi features in many of the folktales from the Carribean, too, as a result of stories carried over through the slave trade. The Hare is the analogous trickster figure in Central African folklore. In one such trickster tale called “A Story, A Story”, Anansi manages to use his wits to outsmart a leopard, a hornet, and a legendary fairy in order to win a collection of stories from the Sky God.
African stories often do not feature humans at all, but instead use the interaction of personified animals to teach moral lessons or explain natural events, as in “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears”, which imparts the danger of telling lies while explaining the irritating buzz of a mosquito.
See more examples of folktales from the African tradition with:
- “The Rabbit Steals the Elephant’s Dinner” (Central Africa)
- “The Lion and the Hare Go Hunting” (Ethiopia)
- “The Marriage of the Mouse” (Ethiopia)
As the United States is famously considered a melting pot of cultures, so too is its folklore incredibly diverse. From the multitude of influences, three main storytelling traditions have emerged. One is the Southern tradition of Br’er Rabbit (a contraction of Brother Rabbit) whose origins seem to be aligned with the African trickster figures. However, Coyote features as a trickster in many Native American myths, and so the origin of Br’er Rabbit may have borrowed from more than one storytelling tradition. In any case, Br’er Rabbit uses his wits to escape danger and achieve his own ends in such stories as “Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby”, in which he escapes the malicious plans of Br’er Fox.
The Native American tradition features trickster stories like “How Coyote Stole Fire” as well as explanatory stories like “How Corn Came to the Earth”, a creation myth that explains various traits of animals and the origins of corn, on which Native Americans were highly dependent.
Finally, a unique collection of exaggerated Tall Tales emerged from the 1800s frontier. Tall Tales exaggerated the bravery and exploits of pioneers who settled the Wild West. Famous figures include Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill.
See more examples of folktales from the American tradition with:
- “The Death of Pecos Bill” (Tall Tale)
- “The Buffalo and the Field Mouse” (Native American)
- “Br’er Rabbit Falls Down the Well” (Southern)
Find more information about different folktale traditions at Zine5’s collection of folktales from around the world and Aaron Shepard’s World of Stories. You can learn more about Br’er Rabbit and Tall Tales at the American Folklore index, while Hawaii Online offers a nice collection of Native American Lore. You can find a large index of South-African Folktales here. Finally, this collection of Aesop’s fables is worth a look to see how many of the world’s oldest stories and proverbs evolved.
Image Credit: Little Red Cap via Wikimedia Commons
The study of demographics is the gathering and analysis of the statistical data relating to a given population. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau is without question the most useful resource for information about American demography. From its home page, you can access the current population of the nation and the world, updated several times per minute; find the population of any city; and access statistical information relating to U.S. economics, households, business, and geography. Using the most recent available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this guide gives a brief overview of American demographic history, current statistics, and expected trends.
Demographic History of the United States
Many early U.S. historical resources rely on accounts written by colonists, and it can be difficult to assess their accuracy. The first recorded population statistics of the United States are invariably skewed as they reflect only the demographics of the British colonies in America, and do not include the pre-existing Native American population. Therefore, we must rely on the estimated European population of the U.S., which states that in 1620, a mere 500 European settlers lived in the colonies of Virgina and Plymouth. By 1640, that number was around 26,000 people, who had established colonies throughout most of New England. In 1700, more than 250,000 Europeans had settled in the U.S., and by 1760, on the fringe of the American War for Independence, more than 1.5 million people had spread to 14 colonies.
Accurate information from 1790 onwards is provided at the History: Fast Facts portion of the Census Bureau website. The 1790 census revealed that there were nearly 4 million Americans, a number that increased substantially when immigration officials began to keep federal records after 1820. In the 1830s, large amounts of Europeans immigrated to America, notably the Irish, Germans, British, and French. Immigration positively exploded in the next decade, cementing America’s reputation as the world’s melting pot: 7.2 million people made the U.S. their home, driven to immigrate by the poor harvests and failed revolutions of Europe.
In the mid-19th century, almost the entire U.S. population was concentrated on the east coast. However, the acquisition of U.S. territory in the west and the California Gold Rush of 1849 spurred significant immigration and westward migration within the states. By 1880, approximately a century after American Independence, more than 50 million people were spread across the plains states and into the west. Following the Civil War, a great number of newly-freed African Americans migrated north.
In 1920, the post-WWI population of the U.S. topped 100 million. By the end of the second World War, the aptly-named Baby Boom resulted in a sharp rise in U.S. population, which reached 151 million by 1950. Population growth has slowed since the 1960s, but as of 2010, the U.S. population topped 308 million: the third most populous nation in the world.
Current U.S. Demographics
Population distribution in the U.S. is best understood through this 2010 Interactive Population Map from the Census Bureau. Some important statistics reveal that in 2010, of the nation’s 308 million people:
- The most populous states are California, Illinois, Texas, New York, and Florida
- 82% of people live in urban areas
- There are about 4 million more women than men
- 27% of people are under 20; 13% are older than 65; the median age is 36
- The birth rate has dropped to 13.5/1000 people, the lowest in a century; the fertility rate for women is 2.06 children/women
- Male life expectancy is 75.65 years; female life expectancy is 80.69 years
- Racial demographics state that Whites are the racial majority (66%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (15%), Black/African American (13%), Asian (4.5%), and multiracial (2.3%), with American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Pacific Islanders each making up less than 1% of the population. Percentage disparity is accounted for by the fact that some people identify themselves by more than one race.
- 13% of the population is foreign-born
- Unemployment rate is 9.2%
According to Census Bureau projections, immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants are expected to account for the majority of population growth. The United Nations Population Division projects the U.S. population to increase to 402 million by 2050, whereas the Census Bureau expects a number closer to 450 million. Regardless, this continued population growth differs from the trends of most other industrialized nations like South Korea, Germany, and Russia, whose populations are slowly declining.
- American Factfinder allows you to search for statistical data according to population groups and geography and to create a map or table based on your findings. See the Fact finder Tutorial before using.
- Various Data Access Tools can help you interpret federal, state, and local statistical demographic data.
- Random Samplings: the official blog of the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Statistical Abstract “is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States,” made available to the public by the U.S. Census Bureau.
- The CIA World Factbook provides reliable statistical data relating to history, culture, and population of each different country in the world.
- USA.gov is a simple, comprehensive resource for all things relating to the U.S. government. Find convenient information about consumer guides, jobs and education opportunities, public safety, and more.
- FedStats compiled an index of kid’s pages from various government websites to help children understand government data.
- Put all this statistical data into historical context with this timeline of U.S. history.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Here is a brief look at three of the largest and most influential Native American populations in North America, along with resources to gain a far more complete knowledge of the Navajo Nation, the Sioux Tribes, and the Iroquois Confederacy.
The Navajo Nation
The theory of the origin of the Athabascan people, including the Navajo, is that they migrated across the Bering Strait from the Asian continent roughly 35,000 years ago. They call themselves the Dine’e, meaning the ‘people.’ They were hunter-gatherers and had to follow their game for a sustainable food source. Many Navajo dispute the Bering Strait story because in their own history, the stories are that their people came from the East. The Navajo tribe is a matriarchal society, well-known for their silver-smithing, especially with turquoise, and their sand-paintings which are created for ceremonial purposes.
Traditionally, they lived in round houses called hogans. These homes are made of wooden poles, mud, and tree bark. There is a fire pit in the middle of the floor with a smoke hole in the center of the roof. The doorway of a hogan always faces east in order to welcome the sun each morning. Special medicine lodge hogans were constructed for ceremonies, though today many people live in regular American-style homes. Others still construct hogans in a traditional style but with modern building materials and amenities.
There are several important ceremonies in the Navajo way. These ceremonies make use of sand paintings. Often incredibly intricate, these paintings are made on the ground and are returned to the earth after they’ve fulfilled their purpose. They usually represent stories or figures from the history of the people and are meant to attract the Holy People and serve as a means to connect and interact with them, often for healing purposes.
The Navajo have traditionally been very open to making adaptations and learning from other cultures. When they first arrived in the southwestern region, they met the Pueblos, who taught them to plant, care for, and harvest crops, enabling them to settle down and adopt a more pastoral life. The Navajo also came into contact with the Spanish and became expert sheep and horse-thieves, often using the animals to trade for other goods.
The Sioux Tribes
The Sioux, meaning ‘little snake,’ live in the plains of what is now North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, and parts of Canada. They moved from place to place following and hunting the buffalo. They used material from the buffalo for food, shelter, clothing, implements, jewelry and more. The tribes within the Sioux Nation are:
- Upper Yankton
- Lower Yankton
When Cortez and the Spanish arrived in North America in the early 1500s the Sioux tribes, like many others, took advantage of the horses they brought with them. They used the horses to effectively increase their mobility by using their strength to transport materials for tepees and other possessions. They also increased the Sioux’s rate of success in hunting buffalo because of the speed of the horses.
The Sioux consider themselves a deeply spiritual and family-oriented people. Boys would be raised to be great hunters and warriors to defend their families. The women were raised to care for life in the tepee and to control family matters. When a man and woman married, it was traditional for the man to move into the home of the woman.
Music and dancing play a key role in Sioux ceremonies. While the Navajo connect to the spirit world via symbolic sand paintings, the Sioux use chanting, music, and special dances. They believe in one God, who they refer to as the Great Mystery – Wakan Tanka. There is one festival in which the warriors would prove their dedication to self-sacrifice for the tribe via self-inflicted wounds, which is no longer a practice, though the ceremony is still held every year.
The Iroquois Confederacy
The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy call themselves the Haudenosaunee, or ‘People building a long house.’ It is said that these people created one of the oldest participatory democracies known in the western world. The six tribes who make up the confederacy are:
According to research using oral history, solar eclipse tables, and other documentary materials, the Seneca (the last of the original five tribes to adopt their standing agreement) became a part of the Iroquois umbrella around the year 1142. For thousands of years these people have occupied the region between the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls in what is now upstate New York. They spread out from there and came to control large swathes of the northeastern part of the United States and Canada. When the confederacy was at its largest, it had spread to Chesapeake Bay, westward through Ohio, and to lower Michigan.
As with the Navajo and the Sioux, the Iroquois have a matrilineal structure to their tribal societies. The man would move into his new wife’s family longhouse and his children would be considered members of their mother’s clan. Their communities were semi-permanent. They had fortified villages with a large central communal building, called a longhouse. The Iroquois grew their own crops of corn, beans, squash, etc., and would only move their villages when they had depleted the soil in the immediate area, roughly every twenty years.
The political structure of the Iroquois was unlike any other Native American tribal system or nation. They had a council of 50 male leaders who were chosen by the women. Their central law – the Kainerekowa, or Great Law of Peace — basically states that to preserve the peace and unity of the confederacy the Iroquois should refrain from killing each other. Each member tribe had a set number of leaders to be representatives at the council meetings, and all of the council’s decisions had to be unanimous. This is often seen as a weakness, but served to maintain a sense of unity.
As a result of their unique and highly successful political structure, as well their desire and ability to aggressively expand their region of influence, the Iroquois came to be the representatives in talks with the Europeans for many of the North American tribes, including the Sioux, Algonquin, Mahican, and the Delaware.
This list of resources covers not only the tribes discussed here, but offers gateways to learning about the tribes from all over North and South America.
Native American Language Families
Geographical Index of Tribes in North & South America
Online Collection of Native American Legends by Tribe
Chart of Native American Tribal Names
Map of the Native American Tribes of North America
Navajo Language Resources
Information about the Navajo People
The Navajo Code Talkers
Sioux Language Resources
Tribes of the Sioux Nation
Lakota Sioux Dancing - YouTube
About the Sioux
Redhawk’s Lodge - History of the Sioux
A Basic Call to Consciousness - The address of the Iroquois Confederacy to the Western World
More on the Iroquois Confederacy
Information on the Iroquois and the key issues facing the people
About the Iroquois Constitution
It is well know that historically, women were often prohibited from attending college and attaining advanced degrees in any subject. Women who pursued mathematics were discouraged from formal learning, and it is for this reason that many were forced to educate themselves. It was also deemed inappropriate for those not of aristocratic heritage to study the science, providing yet another barrier. Due to strict cultural perceptions in many societies, parents often attempted to prevent their daughters from learning about mathematics. In some cases women interested in the subject would sneak books from their parents or husbands and read in the dark. Since then, societies everywhere have come a long way.
Some Prominent Female Mathematicians
Succeeding as a woman in mathematics required extreme persistence and determination many years ago. Overcoming often incredible obstacles, women have made many significant mathematical developments over time that too frequently go unnoticed.
Some notable women include:
- Sofia Kovalevskaya aided in the formation of partial differential equations through the discovery of one of its fundamental principles. She was also one of the first women awarded with a doctoral degree in mathematics and later went on to become one of the first female university professors.
- Florence Nightingale used statistical information in order to improve societal practices. She presented medical and health related data through graphical representations and is responsible for leading to the reformation of conditions in England’s hospitals.
- Amalie Emmy Noether – Famous for the development of concepts used in abstract algebra and physics, Noether escaped Nazi Germany to continue her work. In a letter to the New York Times, Albert Einstein wrote that she was, “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced,” since women were accepted into higher education. Currently, the Association for Women in Mathematics presents distinguished women in mathematics through the Noether Lectures.
- Hypatia of Alexandria – Born in the ancient city famed for its highly educated society, Hypatia was the first estimable woman mathematician. Working as a headmistress for the Platonist school in Alexandria, she followed in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle.
- Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the first woman in the world to earn a doctorate degree. Having studied extensively at the University of Padua, she became heavily involved in academic issues and was a member of many academies.
- Maria Agnesi wrote the first book which discussed both differential and integral calculus. Another one of her greatest contributions was Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventu italiana which was an extensive introduction to the works of Euler.
- Mary Somerville was a Scottish born woman who was dedicated to explaining astronomy and the physical sciences through mathematics. Her textbooks were well received and imparted knowledge of advanced scientific theories onto non-specialists in the Western world.
- Ada Lovelace (Augusta Byron) wrote the first algorithm which would be processed by a machine, and is considered the world’s first computer programmer. Charles Babbages’ analytical engine was a plan for the first general use computer, which would not actually be built until about 100 years later.
The contributions that these prominent women have made in the field of mathematics are substantial and varied. Mary Somerville showed British society that women could not only understand mathematics and science, but could indeed excel and even possess advanced knowledge of the subject. The books Sommerville wrote further educated those without knowledge of specialist jargon and language, and effectively informed readers about scientific concepts they may have otherwise not been exposed to. Florence Nightingale enacted social change through mathematics, inventing graphing techniques such as the polar area diagram along the way. Her representations of data led to more effective health care practices in England and advanced the field of statistics.
Other women’s contributions were based more heavily in theory or understanding the processes of certain types of mathematics. Sofia Kovalevskaya is responsible for what is known as the Kovalevsky top. A solid example of an integrable system, this concept is developed from the theory of hyperelliptic Riemann surfaces as well as abelian functions and is considered to be among the greatest findings in modern mathematics. She is also well-known for her work in developing the Cauchy-Kovalevsky Theorem which contributes to understandings of partial differential equations. Sophie Germain also worked extensively in theory and dedicated herself to attempting to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. Having risen to the challenge of innovating new approaches to solving problems, developing graphical representations of data and overall leading to further development of major concepts, women have made a number of important discoveries and additions to mathematics.
Sophie Germain is among the foremost established female mathematicians in history. Living during the tumultuous French Revolution of the eighteenth century, her contribution to mathematics was marked by seemingly impenetrable walls. Assuming the identity of a man, Germain worked tirelessly to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. Her knowledge of mathematics was especially discouraged due to her non-aristocratic background. Eventually, after forcing her own way through an advanced education, Germain consulted with Carl Friedrich Gauss, who was considered the greatest mathematician of the time. Despite the challenges she faced, she observed a particular type of prime number which would later take her name and that made significant contributions to the understanding of elastic surfaces. Many of the contributions she has made continue to have a lasting impact on mathematics.
While the contributions of women in mathematics have been significant throughout history, women’s involvement in advanced levels of mathematics must continue. Though the discipline is much more accepting of women than in the past, there remains some amount of inequality in treatment and opportunity. Far fewer women in academia reach tenure track positions or other highly esteemed roles than men. Groups such as the Association for Women in Mathematics are dedicated to promoting equality and encouraging women to have active careers in mathematical science. Similarly, the American Mathematical Society honors women mathematicians on their website. Other projects such as the Pdk poster project works to further scientific literacy and improve public awareness of science and technology. Further, this project is aimed at mentoring women in science and mathematics careers.
Image http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Germain.jpeg (Ben Tillman)
Chemical engineers are expected to have a well-rounded knowledge of chemistry, the biological sciences, mathematics, and process optimization to solve workplace problems and design products efficiently, economically, and safely. Whether you are currently teaching undergraduate classes, getting your masters degree, or juggling the two, take advantage of the resources you find here to assist you in responsible study of the theories and applications behind chemE’s major branches. Stay abreast on the latest field news by following these links to professional organizations and periodicals.
Once you obtain an engineering degree, you’ll find that an extremely wide range of career opportunities awaits you.
Engineering Tool Kit: Calculators, Converters and Tables
Jim Martindale has posted an exhaustive collection of online calculators to aid chemical engineers of every stripe, whether your specialty is mass transfer or catalytic conversion. If you need a quick pocket-sized conversion, consider the chemistry calculator application. This application is available at iTunes for $0.99 and comes loaded with 38 chemistry solvers for things like gases, solutions, atomic and nuclear chemistry, thermodynamics, and acids and bases. Additionally, look no further for a list of engineering-specific unit converters.
Need to reference a periodic table of the elements? The following interactive periodic tables provide background on the properties of each element including condensed information on isotopes and orbitals. Check out the Photographic Periodic Table, Dynamic Periodic Table, and ACS Periodic table.
During your research you may encounter certain terms in dated texts that have fallen by the wayside. Use this Archaic chemistry terms glossary to bring your definitions up to speed. And don’t get hung up on lengthy or obscure chemical compounds when you have a chemical compound abbreviation database at your disposal. Simply input an abbreviation like “DMF” and the archive will tell you that stands for:
In a similar vein, you can insert an unknown acronym like “LID” into this acronyms and abbreviations database to find out that it stands for Laser-Induced Desorption.
Lab Supplies and Safety
Use these resources to carry out lab work (and to teach it to others) responsibly. Find the chemical supplied you need at City Chemical or Dow Chemical. You can use the Hazmat Navigator to quickly determine properties of hazardous materials, as well as the MSDS Solutions Database for millions of free MSDS sheets.
Consult National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or the International Society of Automation for information on instrument standards.
If you run into trouble in the lab, the ChemicaLogic Corporation is a technical consulting firm that has served the chemical industry since 1995. You can also use the Online Ethics Center to guide you in designing responsible experimentation. After your lab work, you can find help with professional-grade lab write-ups and Scientific Style and Format from the Council of Science Editors. And if it’s a particularly successful experiment, you’ll want to look into Patent Information.
Related Fields and Professional Organizations
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Applied Mathematics and Science Education Repository
Biological Sciences Pathway
Chemical Education Pathway
ComPADRE Physics and Astronomy Resources
eFluids: Fluid Engineering
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Materials and Electrochemical Research Corporation
International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer
Nuclear Engineering Division, AIChE
Particle Technology Research Centre
Additionally, Open Culture allows you to download a selection of free audio and video engineering courses to your computer.
The American Chemical Society provides an outstanding list of chemistry education resources with specific categories to help you teach undergraduate courses, graduate courses, or classes at the community college level.
The Chemical Engineering Education journal is a resource specifically written to help you teach courses in chemical engineering. You’ll find archives of previous issues as well as subscription information.
The Safety and Chemical Engineering Education (SAChE) program teams up the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS)and various engineering schools to supply teaching materials, methods, and programs that bring process safety techniques into both undergraduate and graduate education for students who are studying chemical and biochemical processes and products.
Careers and Higher Education
Once you’ve made it out of the classroom, you’ll need to figure out your next step: more education or entering the work place.
If you’re interested in pursuing further higher education, check out the List of Best Chemical Engineering schools as ranked by US News. This chart provides a handy comparison of in-state and out-of-state tuition rates as well as the average GRE score of students who attend school there so you’ll know what you might be up against.
When you’ve finished your degrees and are ready to start a career in the workplace, you don’t have to do it alone. Check out the job boards from the American Chemical Society, Chemical Engineer, and Center for Chemical Process Safety for jobs posted both in the United States and abroad. As a bonus, the job board at Engineer Jobs will email new jobs in chemical engineering directly to you.
Stay on top of new developments in your field by keeping up with trade journals. At ACS Publications you can browse through trade journals related to your field either alphabetically or by subject area, as well as obtain access to obsolete journals. The American Chemical Society also publishes Chemical and Engineering News weekly, and Chemical Engineering Progress is a magazine published by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The AIChE Journal is the peer-reviewed journal by the same institute. Elsevier’s Chemical Engineering Journal allows you to register and purchase scientific articles, as well as submit your own for peer review.
Finally, Chemical Product and Process Modeling publishes original research in the product and process modeling. The site contains information for authors, abstracts and an index to published papers. Subscribers can download full papers.
Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons