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By Neil Smith

An American Empire, built over the past century, some time past overtook eu colonialism, and it's been commonly assumed that the recent globalism it espoused took us "beyond geography." Neil Smith debunks that assumption, supplying an incisive argument that American globalism had a unique geography and was once pieced jointly as a part of a strong geographical imaginative and prescient. the ability of geography didn't die with the twilight of ecu colonialism, however it did switch 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 e-book offers an important geographical-historical context for figuring out the ability and bounds of latest globalization, that could now be obvious as representing the 3rd of 3 exact ancient moments of U.S. international ambition.The tale unfolds via a decisive account of the profession of Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950), the main well-known American geographer of the 20 th century. for almost 4 a long time Bowman operated round the vortex of country strength, operating to convey an American order to the worldwide panorama. An explorer at the recognized Machu Picchu day trip 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 construction of U.S. liberal overseas coverage. A quarter-century later, Bowman was once on the heart of Roosevelt's kingdom division, all in favour of the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to ecu 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 sophisticated, contradictory, and every now and then debatable determine who was once greatly within the public eye, he seemed at the hide of Time journal. Bowman's profession as a geographer in an period whilst the price of geography used to be deeply wondered offers a special window into the contradictory makes use of of geographical wisdom within the building of the yankee Empire. Smith's ancient excavation unearths, in huge strokes but with vigorous element, that state-of-the-art American-inspired globalization springs now not from the Eighties yet from prior moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which led to failure. via recharting the geography of this heritage, Smith brings the politics--and the limits--of modern globalization sharply into concentration.

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Among these was a prescient Vladimir Lenin, who, drawing on the German geographer Alexander Supan and challenging Luxemburg directly, argued that while the colonial powers had “completed the seizure of the unoccupied territories on our planet,” so that “for the first time the world is completely divided up,” this implied no inevitability of capitalist collapse. ”29 An arch-anticommunist, Mackinder would have been horrified by the parallels between Lenin’s relational geography of capitalist expansion and his own.

Precisely because geography was everything—the American Century was global—it was simultaneously nothing. The American Century, therefore, was premised on a quite opposite connection between geography and political economy vis-à-vis that which drove the European empires and fueled European geographical traditions. European attention to local and global geographies was integral to strategies of territorial expansion in a way that no longer applied to the United States lost geography of the american century / 19 in the mid-twentieth century.

Choate said it most bluntly. Mr. Choate was “troubled in regard to the future of the two great Geographical Societies in England and America, because it was perfectly clear,” he fretted, “that in a very short time all these [worldwide] boundary questions would be definitely and finally settled. . ”31 So powerfully mourned in the whole subsequent edifice of Turnerian history and replicated in myriad forms up to and including the contemporary nostalgia for old places in a globalizing world, this loss of vacant, conquerable space has provided an enduring wellspring for the antispatial imagination of the American Century.

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