KSU professor publishes article in Geography Journal

Dr. Sarah Smiley

Dr. Sarah Smiley

The cover of the May-June issue of the Journal of Geography, published by the National Council for Geographic Education, features a photo taken on the Kent State Salem Campus during a class project led by Dr. Sarah Smiley, associate professor of geography. The photo helps highlight Smiley’s article in the publication, written about her experiences with a class she taught during the 2015 fall semester based on The Amazing Race.

Titled “Teaching Cultural Geography with The Amazing Race,” Smiley’s article explains how she used the reality television show in the honors colloquium in Western identity course to teach issues of culture, identity and difference.

During the semester, Smiley first introduced her students to basic cultural geography concepts through readings and discussions, stressing that culture includes objects, ideas, practices, beliefs and institutions. The students then began viewing Amazing Race episodes.

Near the end of the semester, the students created activities, or roadblocks – similar to challenges featured on The Amazing Race episodes – that engaged the campus community and resulted in active participation by students, staff and faculty. Each roadblock included information about the specific country represented and how the challenge related to that culture.

The students coordinated three weeks of roadblocks that took participants to Hungary, France, Germany, Iceland and Hawaii.

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