Who made your smartphone? Globalization, raw materials, and slave labor from Potosi to Silicon Valley

Globalization is nothing new – the indigenous peoples slaving away in the Potosi mines 500 years ago could tell you all about it, while Europeans cracked the whip in order to buy Asian-made goods at affordable prices. Add in the fact that the mines were supplied with food and coca by African slaves laboring away in the low lands, and you have a template for the modern integrated global economy – exploitation, unequal rewards, and all. Continue reading “Who made your smartphone? Globalization, raw materials, and slave labor from Potosi to Silicon Valley”

Five Pillars to Hold Myself Up: What do Muslims Believe?

What are the basic teachings of Islam, and what does it mean to be a Muslim? Continue reading “Five Pillars to Hold Myself Up: What do Muslims Believe?”

Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam

Who was Muhammad, and how did the Arab world of the seventh century shape his teachings? Continue reading “Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam”

November 22, 2016: Haram in Qatar, or How I Learned Not to Cast the First Stone

According to The Qatar Tribune, Qatari customs officials destroyed some 31,000 bottles of wine seized after routine inspections of incoming shipping containers in the nation’s port. Continue reading “November 22, 2016: Haram in Qatar, or How I Learned Not to Cast the First Stone”

November 21, 2016: The Foreign Service Explains the Day

One of the best aspects of this fellowship is the access it grants to the US embassy in each country that we visit.  Outside of a tragic terrorist attack in Libya, most Americans probably haven’t given much thought to the fine, knowledgable folks who represent US interests in hundreds of countries around the world. Continue reading “November 21, 2016: The Foreign Service Explains the Day”

November 20, 2016: Living History in the UAE

If you look around Openendedsocialstudies.org, you’ll find that I love history. Continue reading “November 20, 2016: Living History in the UAE”

November 19, 2016: Grand Mosques and Grand Desert Adventure in Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, and is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.  It holds up to 40,000 worshippers, has four massive minarets, each 106 meters tall with designs incorporating elements from major periods in Islamic history, and 82 domes, each inscribed in gold with verses from the Holy Quran.   Continue reading “November 19, 2016: Grand Mosques and Grand Desert Adventure in Abu Dhabi”