Welcome QR Code readers! If you have scanned the QR Code on my poster, it has brought you here. I am still compiling my full presentation for the SouthEastern Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference, to be held November 24-25, 2019. This post is just a placeholder for the presentation and reference list TBA. In the meantime, enjoy this preview.
I will be continuing my “Meteorology and Myth” Weather-and-Climate Education series this fall with another project on weather lore, this time titled “Meteorology and Myth – Part II: A Fair Candlemas”
This post is just a placeholder for now.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: I teach an introductory course in “Weather and Climate”. Whenever February 2nd rolls around, a student will ask if the “Groundhog Day” predictions are true. I used to always answer “NO!” The presence or absence of sunshine on any one particular day can not be used to determine either a shortened or a prolonged winter. Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are just folksy nonsense.
However, I got to thinking about it … and began to hypothesize that there may be a teaching opportunity in this legend. Although the Groundhog’s prediction does not make meteorological sense in the short term, perhaps there are long-term climatological averages about prolonged-winters and early-springs, which may have allowed the folklore to survive and diffuse.
The purpose of the overall project is to develop general education teaching modules which bridge topics in geography, atmospheric science, history, art, culture and folklore. Students in the arts and humanities often struggle with physical science. Equally, students in Geoscience and other STEM fields often need a greater appreciation for the arts and humanities. The intent is not to have students “prove” whether or not Groundhog Day predictions are true. Instead, the goal is for students to have a better understanding of atmospheric circulations, global teleconnections and weather patterns. Secondarily, students should have a better appreciation for folklore, history, culture and environment.
Look for more updates and embellishments in November!
My Poster for the Library’s Annual Creativity Showcase!
The media blurb from Library: “The Mary Livermore Library will be sponsoring the Third Annual UNCP Research and Creativity Showcase on April 15, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This event will feature poster and speaker presentations at the newly-renovated Mary Livermore Library. These presentations will highlight the scholarship, research, and creative works of UNCP faculty and staff during the past year.”
Contact me if you want to learn more about my “Meteorology and Myth” project.
Notice: I have updated this article, originally posted on March 5, to include photos from the event on April 15, 2019. I also contributed another poster to the event “Blogging through the GEOG-ing” as per the TLC Directors request,
Next year my library showcase event poster will continue the Meteorology and Myth theme with a new chapter — “A Fair Candlemas”. See you then.
FYI: The following is the abstract for my oral paper presentation at the upcoming North Carolina Academy of Science meeting to be held in Wilmington, NC March 22-23, 2019.
Science education, meteorology and myth: The lightning and wind gods of Japan.
This project derives from educational modules developed for teaching atmospheric science concepts to non-science, general education college students. Folklore and mythology are not proper history or science fact, however there may be persistent, underlying truths to the narrative themes inherent in folklore. Japan’s Shinto religion holds Raijin as a god of lightning and thunderstorms, and Fujin as the god of windstorms and tornadoes. There are rational, scientific reasons why the activities of these metaphysical sky deities persist into modern, secular Japanese culture. Although Raijin and Fujin were revered as “kami” or gods, they were depicted as demonic, destructive forces of nature in traditional Japanese art and architecture. This educational project will explain the science analogies which can be used to explain the Shinto allegory in Japanese culture. Meteorological lessons were made to describe, or at least reinforce the mythology as depicted in Japan’s art, architecture and land use. Myths such as Raijin’s penchant for eating the navels of children, or why Fujin’s skin is green, can be used as discussion points to illustrate meteorological principles in an interesting way for non-science majors. For example, all Japanese painters of the Edo Period depicted lightning flashes as red in color, even though lightning clearly is not red. It might have been artistic license, or perhaps there are meteorological reasons as to why lightning was always colored that way. This teaching module explains weather phenomenon such as gust fronts, nitrogen fixation by lightning, the destructive east winds of cyclones, and others. Through the use of atmospheric science concepts in the context of art and mythology, it is hoped that arts and humanities students will come to better appreciate meteorology. Geoscience majors in turn, could have basic meteorological concepts reinforced, and also gain a better appreciation for art, history and culture.
Feel free to contact me for a copy of the full presentation or collaborative ideas.
Update! Here is a slide show gallery of my presentation.