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Geopolitics and EmpireThe Legacy of Halford Mackinder$
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Gerry Kearns

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230112

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230112.001.0001

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Manly Endeavours

Manly Endeavours

(p.91) 4 Manly Endeavours
Geopolitics and Empire

Gerry Kearns

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how gender and masculinity were central to thinking about geography and Empire, about politics, and about social relations between so-called races, nations, and classes. In particular, gender roles normalized a male monopoly over, and responsibility to use, force for the cause of Empire. An analysis of both Mackinder's and Kingley's writings, as well as the public circulation and reception of their adventures, demonstrates the ways that heroic acts detached the protagonists from responsibility for the consequences and preconditions of their visit. Indeed, notions of Empire ‘as adventure’ presumed a certain masculinity among imperialists, and these two climbs highlight anxieties about masculinity in very distinctive ways. On one hand, for Mackinder, the New Geography represented a claim to objectivity and science, but his New Geography was also dangerously sedentary compared to the manliness of the earlier explorer tradition. For Kingsley, the associations between science, climbing, adventure, and masculinity were more unsettling. She presented her contributions to knowledge as precisely avoiding the objectivity, and thus masculinity, of science, yet, because her climbing was not done in front of European men, she was still able to present herself as a representative of a masculine race.

Keywords:   Mackinder, geography, imperialism, Mary Kingsley, masculinity, gender roles

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