Faces, Places, Spaces

Humanities,Reading — Zac Townsend @ October 30, 2012 9:59 am

A great read on geography and ideas. Starts with a review of two new books on geography as a primal force in history, goes on the criticize that argument with counterexamples, and continues with a great distillation of the recent historiography around Eastern Europe and the Holocaust, and rounds itself out with a discussion of the U S of A.

Another version of space history is available these days, though. This might be called the cartographic turn, and is characterized by the argument that, while geography matters, it is visible only through the maps that we make of it. Where borders fall is as much a matter of how things are seenas how they really are. We can know the shape of the planet only through maps—maps in the ordinary glove-compartment sense, maps in a broader metaphoric one—and those maps are made by minds attuned to the relations of power. All nations are shaped by belligerence and slaughter.


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