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    Reading Gerry Kearns’ Geopolitics and Empire: The Legacy of Halford Mackinder

    Kearns, Gerard (2011) Reading Gerry Kearns’ Geopolitics and Empire: The Legacy of Halford Mackinder. Political Geography, 30. pp. 49-58. ISSN 0962-6298

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    Halford Mackinder has had a posthumous existence that many of us might envy. Long after his earthly demise, some of his ideas, particularly that of the “geographical pivot of history,” keep coming back to life. Currently, some well-known pundits in US foreignpolicy circles, typically thought of as neo-conservative and keen on a “muscular” US military presence around the world, have re-discovered Mackinder’s geographical determinism as providing a seemingly naturalistic account for the approaching rebirth of the “yellow peril” (the rise of China) and offering as it did at the turn of the last century a timeless rendering of the challenges to the democratic maritime powers from the despotic land powers of Eurasia. The widely cited American journalist Robert Kaplan (2010: 22), for example, frames the emerging “geography” of China’s power almost entirely in these terms. It is timely, therefore, to have a new intellectual biography of Mackinder that not only critically engages with the central themes of his geopolitics but that does so by both situating them in the historical context of the early twentieth century and showing why they remain attractive in some quarters by dint of their effective depoliticization of the very world politics that they underwrite. This book matters, therefore, in a number of distinctive ways. That was why a session devoted to it was so worth organizing at the Washington DC AAG Annual Meeting in April 2010.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Gerry Kearns; Geopolitics; and Empire; Legacy; Halford Mackinder;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 8638
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Gerry Kearns
    Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2017 12:05
    Journal or Publication Title: Political Geography
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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