Geography and Empire (Institute of British Geographers Special Publications)

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9780631193845: Geography and Empire (Institute of British Geographers Special Publications)

This text re-examines the role of geography in imperialism and reinterprets the geography of empire. It brings together new work by 17 geographers from eight countries. This book argues that the histories of geography and empire are inextricably entwined. Geographers were often the avant garde of an imperial presence, frequently of colonization. Their theory helped provide the justification of empire both for the conquerors and on behalf of the conquered; their diligence in mapping and exploration pinpointed the potential of resources and the means of their exploitation and trade. For better or worse, geographers - along with anthropologists - described and interpreted the cultures and peoples under imperial sway and, through publications ranging from reports and travelogues to tales and textbooks, informed the perceptions of the world for centuries. The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 considers the early engagement of geographers with the imperial adventures of England and France. Part 2 focuses on the links between 19th-century European imperial expansion and the establishment of the first geographical institutions. Part 3 examines the rhetoric of geographical description and theory. Part 4 explores the role of geographers in imperial administration and planning, with the beginnings of a critical perspective on imperial ambition. Part 5 describes the experience of decolonization and of post-colonialism - the ambiguous role of the USA in the former, the difficulties of finding a true voice for the latter. "Geography and Empire" aims to provide new insights and perspectives not only on the development of the profession and discipline of geography, but on the interactions between individuals, ideas, events and movements - and, most notably, on what happens when one culture invades and attempts to dominate another.

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From the Back Cover:

Geography and Empire examines the role of geography in imperialism and reinterprets the geography of empire. It brings together new work by seventeen geographers from eight countries.
The histories of geography and empire are inextricably entwined. Geographers were often the avant garde of an imperial presence, frequently of colonization. Their theory helped provide the justification of empire both for the conquerors and on behalf of the conquered; their diligence in mapping and exploration pinpointed the potential of resources and the means of their exploitation and trade. For better or worse, geographers - along with anthropologists - described and interpreted the cultures and peoples under imperial sway and, through publications ranging from reports and travelogues to tales and textbooks, informed the perceptions of the world for centuries: and they continue to do so.
Geography and Empire provides new insights and vivid perspectives not only on the development of the profession and discipline of geography, but, most notably, on what happens when one culture invades and attempts to dominate another. It concludes with notes for further reading, a comprehensive bibliography, and a full index.

About the Author:

Neil Smith is Professor and Chair of Geography at Rutgers University. He has published widely on urban geography, social theory, and the history of geography, include Uneven Development: Capital, Nature, and the Production of Space (Blackwell: revised edition 1991).

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