A Research Agenda for Environmental Geopolitics
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A Research Agenda for Environmental Geopolitics

Edited by Shannon O’Lear

Challenging the mainstream view of the environment as either threatening or valuable, this book considers how geographic knowledge can be applied to offer a more nuanced understanding. Framed within geopolitics and using a range of methodologies, the chapters encapsulate different approaches to demonstrate how selective forms of knowledge, measurement, and spatial focus both embody and stabilize power, shaping how people perceive and respond to changing features of human-environment interactions.
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Chapter 6: Underground geopolitics: science, race, and territory in Peru during the late nineteenth century

Matthew Himley


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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