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Entangled Geographies

Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War

Edited by Gabrielle Hecht

Publication Year: 2011

Investigations into how technologies became peculiar forms of politics in an expanded geography of the Cold War.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Inside Technology

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The contributions for this volume took shape at a pair of workshops entitled Bodies, Networks, Geographies: Colonialism, Development, and Cold War Technopolitics, held at the University of Michigan (2005) and the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (2007). ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-12

From its earliest days, the Cold War proceeded in uneasy tension with empire. Tensions ran through global disputes over politics, economics, society, and culture. They were also enacted in struggles over technology. Technological systems and expertise offered less visible—but sometimes more powerful ...

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2. Islands: The United States as a Networked Empire

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pp. 13-42

In the spring of 2003, US President Bush, British Prime Minister Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, and their host, Portuguese President Barroso, landed on the island of Terceira to hold a press conference and present Iraq with an ultimatum for war. The location of their press conference in the Portuguese Azores ...

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3. The Uses of Portability: Circulating Experts in the Technopolitics of Cold War and Decolonization

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pp. 43-74

Technical experts saw their professional geographies change, sometimes dramatically, as a consequence of the Cold War and decolonization in the years after World War II. Stunned businesspeople watched the cozy relationships they enjoyed with imperial powers disappear under decolonization, and the stable and profitable colonial business environment with it. ...

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4. On the Fallacies of Cold War Nostalgia: Capitalism, Colonialism, and South African Nuclear Geographies

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pp. 75-100

A peculiar nostalgia for the Cold War has pervaded American public discourse since September 11, 2001. Pundits and scholars alike invoke the Cold War as a time of clear, stark choices: capitalism vs. communism, good vs. evil, us vs. them. The oddly wistful tone of this false memory flows from the fiction that the Cold War remained cold, ...

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5. Rare Earths: The Cold War in the Annals of Travancore

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pp. 101-124

In a way it begins with semantic confusion. So-called rare earths were “rare” because it was assumed that these naturally forming mineral-laden compounds were scarce and hard to find.1 It didn’t mean they were valuable— though economists are quick to assume the identity of scarcity and value ...

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6. Nuclear Colonization?: Soviet Technopolitics in the Second World

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pp. 125-154

In 1990, the government of reunited Germany had every Soviet-designed nuclear power reactor in the former German Democratic Republic shut down, ostensibly for safety reasons. Shortly thereafter, Czechoslovakia split peacefully into two republics. A decade later, the Czech Republic and Slovakia each launched two Soviet-designed reactors ...

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7. The Technopolitical Lineage of State Planning in Hungary, 1930–1956

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pp. 155-184

The battle to gain allies and control territory in the Cold War was orchestrated in large part by experts in economic development promising technological innovation to usher in a modern future. The epochal break symbolized by the Iron Curtain was rendered visible in geographic polarities of East and West, ...

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8. Fifty Years’ Progress in Five: Brasilia—Modernization, Globalism, and the Geopolitics of Flight

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pp. 185-208

The airplane approaches Brasilia, after flying for some minutes over a ondulating tableland [sic], cut by low groves of trees. Then, at a distance, the reflection of a lake surprises us for its vast dimensions; the city, shaped like an airplane, rests near the shore. . . . The plane lands and the passengers are exposed to their first terrestrial contact with the city. ...

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9. Crude Ecology: Technology and the Politics of Dissent in Saudi Arabia

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pp. 209-230

In November 1979, in an unprecedented act of dissent, thousands of Shi’i men and women revolted against Saudi Arabian authority. Over the course of several days, rioters attacked local symbols of sate power in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, burning the offices of the Saudi Arabian National Airline, demolishing government vehicles, ...

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10. A Plundering Tiger with Its Deadly Cubs? The USSR and China as Weapons in the Engineering of a “Zimbabwean Nation,” 1945–2009

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pp. 231-266

Does it make sense to talk about the “Cold War,” let alone “The Global Cold War,” in the Global South? What happens to local time when “watershed moments” in the Global North are extended uncritically to mark global time? Are we sure that the materiality and meaning of these “local” events are shared beyond their borders? ...

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11. Cleaning Up the Cold War: Global Humanitarianism and the Infrastructure of Crisis Response

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pp. 267-292

Sven Lindqvist’s book A History of Bombing grimly details the brutal fantasies and colonial violence accompanying the advent of aerial warfare. It also incorporates counterpoint themes: growing concern for civilians and fitful claims to common humanity.1 ...


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pp. 293-328

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About the Authors

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pp. 329-330

Itty Abraham is an associate professor of Government and Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Chair. He is the editor of South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India and Pakistan (2009). ...


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pp. 331-337

E-ISBN-13: 9780262295710
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262515788

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Inside Technology