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  • ISBN: 9780226740553
  • ISBN10: 0226740552

The Geographical Imagination in America 1880-1950

by Susan Schulten

  • List Price: $64.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/2001
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Description: What is the history of geography in this country? How have Americans been taught to see the world around them? Susan Schulten addresses these questions by examining how ideas and images shaped popular understandings of world geography from the 1880s to the 1950s, a critical period in history that saw the United States evolve from a relatively isolationist nation to an international, economic superpower. Schulten examines four enduring institutions of learning that produced some of the most influential sources of geographic knowledge in modern history: maps and atlases, the National Geographic Society, the American university, and public schools.

New technologies adopted by Rand McNally, for instance, transformed cartography from an elite craft into a mass-market industry. Concerns of style and profit as well as cartographic accuracy governed the maps they produced. The historic growth of National Geographic, meanwhile, underscored a complicated relationship between knowledge and power. The journal first focused on the mundane work of surveyors and scientists, but soon became a vehicle to bring the exotic reaches of America's newly won territories home to the public. The growth of geography in American universities and public schools also reflected the nation's changing commitments abroad. After the Spanish-American War, educators refashioned geography into a coherent discipline that mirrored America's newfound confidence in crossing and redrawing international borders. In these and many other ways, geography struggled to present and legitimate the nation and its goals.

Abundantly illustrated with maps and photographs, The Geographical Imagination in America is a searching andfascinating history of geography and cartography, and their place in popular culture, politics, and education.

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