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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

Teaching Imperialism

Teaching Imperialism

(p.163) 6 Teaching Imperialism
Geopolitics and Empire

Gerry Kearns

Oxford University Press

Much of Mackinder's teaching of Imperial Geography is contained in a series of popular school textbooks and in a number of published illustrated lectures. This chapter describes some of the main features of these texts, starting with the ways that Mackinder trained children to look upon any landscape as would a military leader and how he invited them to extend that strategic gaze to global relations. Markers of visual difference were exoticized by Mackinder within a comparative framework that vaunted British over other values and mores. An imperial gaze was connected to a geopolitical imaginary in these textbooks through stories about and pictures of people in different regions of the world, and maps depicting how these regions were interconnected. Mackinder further taught children that these global dependencies rested upon the threat or use of force, and that in this contest the British needed to prevail because they alone had a uniquely democratic tradition to offer the rest of humanity. Finally, the chapter discusses Mackinder's instruction on the geography of the British Empire itself, including his descriptions of how and why the Empire should be defended, and the particular attention he gave to the jewel in the imperial crown, India.

Keywords:   Mackinder, imperialism, geography, Elisée Reclus, British Empire, India

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