Edited by Shannon O’Lear
Chapter 6: Underground geopolitics: science, race, and territory in Peru during the late nineteenth century
Building on recent scholarly interest in the technoscientific discourses and practices through which the underground is constructed as a political–economic space, this chapter investigates the relations between science, race, and territory in Peru during the late nineteenth century. This period saw an expansion of state-sponsored science aimed at generating knowledge of Peru’s territorial features, including its subsurface resources. Through an analysis of one mineral-focused scientific text by the naturalist Antonio Raimondi, the chapter addresses the normative visions that motivated and were expressed through state-sponsored subterranean knowledge-making during this period, while also calling attention to the racialized dimensions of these scientific endeavors. Overall, the chapter seeks to give further momentum to a “subterranean geopolitics” research agenda, including by illustrating the potential for research in this area to address power–knowledge relationships through studies of the discourses and practices of the Earth sciences.
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