The New Anglo-Saxons: Race, Place, and the Production of a Geopolitical Discourse

Authors: David Russell*, University of Idaho
Topics: Political Geography, Historical Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Critical Geopolitics, Political Geography, Discourse Analysis, Historical Geography, Special Relationship, United States, British Empire, Medievalism, Ideology, Textual Analysis, Nationalism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Committee Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper presents a case study in the genesis and spread of a geopolitical ideology by elites in academia. The academic and political movement of Anglo-Saxonism is conceptualized as a geopolitical discourse created and disseminated by conscious agents. A review of the relevant literature reveals that in many works of critical geopolitics, scholars have taken a view of discourse emphasizing the agency of powerful individuals in deploying geopolitical discourses for their political ends. In spite of the emphasis on agency, these approaches neglect the meta-narratives of their agents themselves, preferring instead to juxtapose texts and the contexts in which their producers operated and infer intentionality. Instead of taking this approach, I investigate the motives and intentions of two English-speaking historians of the late 19th century—Edward Augustus Freeman and Herbert Baxter Adams—by examining archival material for their own statements about the reasons for and the inspirations behind the production of their texts. Subsequently, I analyze the particular spatial and place-based imageries these two historians deployed in their works, showing how the historians’ consciousness of their production of a discourse shaped the presence and form of this imagery.

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