By Neil Smith

ISBN-10: 0520230272

ISBN-13: 9780520230279

An American Empire, built over the past century, some time past overtook ecu colonialism, and it's been largely assumed that the hot globalism it espoused took us "beyond geography." Neil Smith debunks that assumption, delivering an incisive argument that American globalism had a different geography and used to be pieced jointly as a part of a robust 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 yank Century introduced a lack of public geographical sensibility within the usa used to be itself a political symptom of the rising empire. This e-book presents an important geographical-historical context for realizing the facility and boundaries of up to date globalization, that can now be visible as representing the 3rd of 3 targeted ancient moments of U.S. international ambition.The tale unfolds via a decisive account of the occupation of Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950), the main recognized American geographer of the 20 th century. for almost 4 many years Bowman operated round the vortex of kingdom energy, 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 identified 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 international coverage. A quarter-century later, Bowman was once on the heart of Roosevelt's country division, serious about the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to ecu 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 technological know-how, served as president of Johns Hopkins college, and have become an early and vociferous chilly warrior. a classy, contradictory, and from time to time debatable determine who was once greatly within the public eye, he seemed at the hide of Time journal. Bowman's occupation as a geographer in an period whilst the price of geography used to be deeply wondered presents 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 large strokes but with energetic aspect, that latest American-inspired globalization springs now not from the Nineteen Eighties yet from prior moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which resulted in failure. via recharting the geography of this background, Smith brings the politics--and the limits--of modern globalization sharply into concentration.

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Extra info for American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization

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If his article “The American Century” voiced an unwarranted historicism, the real issue is what that historicism suppressed. The shift to “century” from an older, expectant language of an American “Empire,” so instinctive to Brooks Adams and his generation, did not simply mark a displacement of geography by history but confessed an integral political shift. Whereas the geographical language of empires suggests a malleable politics—empires rise and fall and are open to challenge—the “American Century” suggests an inevitable destiny.

S. lawyer and diplomat J. H. 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.

A new political and economic geography was very much the point in the State Department, if not in the pages of Life, and Roosevelt’s version of a new world order was an intensely geographical affair. As war wore on, these private and public officials wrestled with the precise architecture of a postwar global political economy that simultaneously fixed postwar political geography and constructed the requisite institutions to regulate the transborder fluidity of goods and raw materials, capital and people, ideas and technology.

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American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization by Neil Smith


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