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

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 unique geography and used to be 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 swap essentially. That the inauguration of the yankee Century introduced a lack of public geographical sensibility within the usa used to be itself a political symptom of the rising empire. This publication offers an essential geographical-historical context for knowing the ability and bounds of latest globalization, that could now be noticeable as representing the 3rd of 3 exact 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 20th century. for almost 4 many years Bowman operated round the vortex of nation energy, operating to convey 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 used to be on the middle of Roosevelt's country division, occupied with the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to eu colonies; he used to be defined by way of Dean Acheson as a key "architect of the United Nations." In that interval he used to be a pace-setter in American technological know-how, served as president of Johns Hopkins collage, and have become an early and vociferous chilly warrior. a classy, contradictory, and from time to time arguable 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 while the price of geography was once deeply puzzled offers a special window into the contradictory makes use of of geographical wisdom within the development of the yankee Empire. Smith's old excavation unearths, in large strokes but with full of life aspect, that contemporary American-inspired globalization springs now not from the Eighties yet from past moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which led to failure. through recharting the geography of this background, Smith brings the politics--and the limits--of modern globalization sharply into concentration.

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

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Global ambitions. The ideology of the American Century survived only by ignoring the fact that a good half of the world was distinctly un-American or at least strove to be uncapitalist. At one level the geographical contradiction in this period lay between the national scale of political and economic organization and the increasingly global scale of capital accumulation. The international bodies established at the end of World War II, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, later renamed the World Trade Organization), were intended to regulate these contradictions between national and global interests in a way that entwined specifically American interests with global management.

Marx and Engels famously wrote in 1848 that a specter was haunting Europe, and that specter was communism. A century and a half later, a new specter haunts the entire world: globalization. This expanded geography is not accidental insofar as the capital accumulation that undergirds so-called globalization can no longer be contained or even organized on the national scale. Globalization is less a new specter, therefore, than an old one reinvented on a higher scale. As its name suggests, globalization is a quintessentially geographical issue, although of course it is many other things as well.

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.

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