By Neil Smith
An American Empire, built during the last century, in the past overtook eu colonialism, and it's been generally assumed that the hot globalism it espoused took us "beyond geography." Neil Smith debunks that assumption, providing an incisive argument that American globalism had a special geography and was once pieced jointly as a part of a strong geographical imaginative and prescient. the facility of geography didn't die with the twilight of ecu colonialism, however it did swap essentially. That the inauguration of the yank Century introduced a lack of public geographical sensibility within the usa was once itself a political symptom of the rising empire. This ebook presents an essential geographical-historical context for realizing the ability and boundaries of up to date globalization, that can now be visible as representing the 3rd of 3 particular ancient moments of U.S. worldwide ambition.The tale unfolds via a decisive account of the occupation of Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950), the main recognized American geographer of the 20th century. for almost 4 a long time Bowman operated round the vortex of country strength, operating to carry an American order to the worldwide panorama. An explorer at the well-known Machu Picchu excursion of 1911 who got here to be recognized first as "Woodrow Wilson's geographer," and later as Frankin D. Roosevelt's, Bowman used to be current on the production of U.S. liberal overseas coverage. A quarter-century later, Bowman used to be on the heart of Roosevelt's nation division, fascinated about the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to eu colonies; he was once defined through Dean Acheson as a key "architect of the United Nations." In that interval he used to be a pacesetter in American technology, served as president of Johns Hopkins college, and have become an early and vociferous chilly warrior. a classy, contradictory, and every now and then arguable determine who used to be greatly within the public eye, he seemed at the hide of Time journal. Bowman's occupation as a geographer in an period while the price of geography used to be deeply puzzled offers a different window into the contradictory makes use of of geographical wisdom within the building of the yank Empire. Smith's old excavation finds, in large strokes but with full of life aspect, that brand new American-inspired globalization springs now not from the Eighties yet from prior moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which resulted in failure. by way of recharting the geography of this background, Smith brings the politics--and the limits--of modern globalization sharply into concentration.
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Additional resources for American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization
By midcentury, according to one historian, the discipline of geography in the United States was “Middle Western . . middle class . . S. global power rendered geography irrelevant except in narrow instrumental terms. S. ambition from 1919, the Paris Peace Conference and Woodrow Wilson, but it also signaled a discontinuity. There was nothing anemic about the geographies on the butcher block at Paris. S. hegemony. If his article “The American Century” voiced an unwarranted historicism, the real issue is what that historicism suppressed.
The second moment came with the next world war. S. capital and culture seemed assured. However truncated and transformed by anticolonial struggles and the cold war, it was this American globalism that ﬂowered after 1945. But that era too was short-lived. S. power facing stringent global competition (political as well as economic), scholars began to perceive the closure or at least a shortening of the American Century. Outmaneuvered in Vietnam and Nicaragua and held hostage in Iran, the United States also suffered serious economic decline.
In the 1980s the Defense Mapping Agency alone employed a reported nine thousand people, far outstripping any civilian counterpart, and was the major single employer of graduating geography majors. S. warplanes was explained away in Washington as a mapping error, whereas skeptics around the world refused to believe that such a powerful geographical intelligence apparatus could be so cartographically incompetent. This presents us with an acute contradiction. S. government built an elaborate if inchoate bureaucracy for the task.
American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization by Neil Smith