Geography and Internationalism in Britain after 1918

Authors: Michael Heffernan*, University of Nottingham
Topics: History of Geography, Historical Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: History of Geography, Interwar Internationalism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Embassy Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This presentation considers how British geographers sought to re-position their still inchoate discipline to engage more effectively with the new international conditions created by the First World War. This involved a concerted attempt, resisted in some quarters, to engage more effectively with professional geographers from Europe and the United States, including those deployed as territorial ‘experts’ at the Paris peace negotiations, and to re-establish personal and professional relations with geographers in former enemy countries. Drawing on archives from the Royal Geographical Society, the League of Nations and other international organisations, the presentation highlights some of the ironies and unintended consequences of these well-meaning efforts to shift the focus of British geography away from its traditional concerns with exploration and empire and towards the seemingly progressive ideals of scientific collaboration, internationalism and pacifism that were energetically promoted by the League of Nations.

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