Gilmartin (2009). Colonialism/Imperialism. (Key Concepts in Political Geography.)

Gilmartin, M. (2009). Colonialism/Imperialism. In Key Concepts in Political Geography (pp. 115–123). London ; Los Angeles: SAGE.

“Commentators have identified three broad waves of European colonial and imperial expansion, connected with specific territories. The first targeted the Americas, North and South, as well as the Caribbean. The second focused on Asia, while the third wave extended European control into Africa. … These three broad waves of colonial and imperial [page break] expansion have often been linked to the development of capitalism. The first wave has been explained in terms of a crisis of European feudalism, with European powers in search of new sources of revenue. The second wave has been associated with the development of mercantile capitalism and also the development of manufacturing in Europe. The third wave facilitated the consolidation of European capitalism, particularly through the provision of raw materials and new markets (see Thomas et al. 1994; Young 2001).” (p 115-116)

“Edward Said wrote that imperialism involved ‘the practice, the theory and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory’, while colonialism refers to the ‘implanting of settlements on a distant territory’ (Said 1993: 9). … Young is suggesting that imperialism is primarily a concept, and colonialism primarily a practice (Young 2001).” (p 116)

“… geographical societies of European colonial powers … The societies’ membership and influence grew as a consequence of their relationship with colonialism and imperialism, and they in turn provided financial support to explorers in search of resources, wealth and knowledge.” (p 117)

“Following World War II, the process of decolonization gathered momentum. There were two significant phases of anti-colonial struggle: in Asia immediately after the war, and in Africa from the late 1950s.” (p 117)

[“Colonialism and Imperialism in British Columbia” (p 119) …]

“Through the creation of reserves, as Harris comments, ‘one human geography was being superseded by another, both on the ground and in the imagination’ (Harris 2002: xvii). Harris describes the resulting reserve geography as serving two key functions. The first was to open up land in the province for exploitation by settlers and by capital. The second was to replace use rights — where members of a group had access to and use of resources without owning them — with a system of private property (Harris 2002: 266).” (p 120)

“Harris is at pains to point out the contested nature of the reserve policy: some colonialists opposed the policy or sought a different, more humane articulation of the relationship between colonizers and colonized; many Natives fought against their marginalization and argued for their place in the territory of British Columbia. Unfortunately, as Harris notes, these alternative visions were sidelined in the interests of state, capital and racial hierarchies.” (p 121)

[“American Empire and the Role of Isaiah Bowman” (p 121) …]

[(Smith, 2003) …]

“Later, Bowman was also described as Roosevelt’s geographer, when he became a special adviser to Roosevelt in 1938. In the same period, Bowman strategically used American military imperatives to reassert the place of geography in American universities.” (p 122)

“More broadly, Smith argues that Bowman was a central figure in the replacement of a territorially based, European-centered colonialism with a non-territorial, market-led, US-dominated imperialism. Smith describes this as the American Empire.” (p 122)

Selected References

  • Harris, C. (2002). Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Said, E. W. (1993). Culture and Imperialism. Vintage Books.
  • Smith, N. (2003). American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Thomas, A., & Crow, Ben. (1994). Third world atlas (2nd ed.). Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.
  • Young, R. (2001). Postcolonialism: An historical introduction. Oxford, UK ; Malden, MA: Blackwell.
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