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By Neil Smith

An American Empire, developed during the last century, in the past overtook eu colonialism, and it's been extensively 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 different geography and used to be pieced jointly as a part of a strong geographical imaginative and prescient. the facility of geography didn't die with the twilight of eu colonialism, however it did swap essentially. That the inauguration of the yankee Century introduced a lack of public geographical sensibility within the usa was once itself a political symptom of the rising empire. This booklet presents an important geographical-historical context for figuring out the facility and bounds of latest globalization, that could now be obvious as representing the 3rd of 3 unique historic 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 many years Bowman operated round the vortex of kingdom energy, operating to deliver an American order to the worldwide panorama. An explorer at the recognized 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 kingdom division, fascinated with the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to eu colonies; he was once defined via 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 collage, and have become an early and vociferous chilly warrior. a sophisticated, contradictory, and now and then arguable determine who used to be a great deal within the public eye, he seemed at the hide of Time journal. Bowman's occupation as a geographer in an period whilst the worth of geography used to be deeply puzzled offers a special window into the contradictory makes use of of geographical wisdom within the development of the yankee Empire. Smith's historic excavation unearths, in large strokes but with energetic element, that brand new American-inspired globalization springs no longer from the Nineteen Eighties yet from prior moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which resulted in failure. by way of recharting the geography of this historical past, 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

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As the territoriality of power, geography is as important to American hegemony today as it was to European hegemony, but in a radically different way. The absolute geography of territorial possession and control that anchored eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European expansionism is certainly of less central importance now, but such a narrow conception hardly exhausts our sense of geography. In the American Century, as we shall see, a far more fluid and relational geometry has been thoroughly constitutive of global power.

If anything, the opposite may be true: pollsters at the beginning of the twentyfirst century routinely record the geographical ignorance of the American populace at an all-time high. Rather, the journey from casual global assumption to intense geographic paranoia, from imperial fumbling to a reallife Dr. Strangelove, expresses a central shift in the political and economic meaning of geography in the American Empire. S. globalism was gathering power in the early decades of the twentieth century, a certain way of understanding the world geographically was being submerged.

The United States was overprinted with a paternal bald eagle while Nicaragua was emblazoned with a large red hammer and sickle. North’s imaginative political cartography conveniently suppressed the fact that Nicaragua is actually smaller than Florida, had a lower population than Alabama, and could have seated its entire army in the University of Michigan’s football stadium with a bevy of seats left over. 2 / lost geography of the american century These two events may be seen as bookends of an American Century that began, in political if not strictly calendrical terms, with the ill-founded colonial adventurism of 1898.

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