Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Contours of America’s Cold War

The Contours of America’s Cold War

Matthew Farish
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 384
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Contours of America’s Cold War
    Book Description:

    In The Contours of America’s Cold War, Matthew Farish explores new ways of conceptualizing space as part of post–World War II American militarism. He demonstrates how the social sciences were militarized in the early Cold War period, producing spatial knowledge that was of immediate use to the state as it sought to expand its reach across the globe.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7508-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION A History of Cold War Spaces
    (pp. ix-xxviii)

    In June 1959, on the eve of a trip to the Soviet Union (one that would feature the famous Kitchen Debate), American Vice President Richard Nixon and his family joined Rear Admiral Charles C. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Navy on the first voyage of the world’s largest atomic submarine fleet. The tour took them past a graveyard of sunken ships and led one reporter for theChristian Science Monitorto exclaim that the spectacle was “sheer fun, as though the real purpose of technological achievement, after all, was human happiness.” Although the submarine project had been blessed by the federal...

  4. 1 GLOBAL VIEWS Geopolitics, Science, and Culture
    (pp. 1-50)

    Long before the termglobalizationacquired popular currency in the 1960s, the earth was represented as a unitary sphere. To conceive of the globe as a single object requires a perspective removed from the planet’s surface—a view named by Denis Cosgrove as the “Apollonian eye.” This disinterested and rational outlook is paradoxical. Its universality is proclaimed from and for a particular location such that the object becomes anobjective. “The imperial imperative,” Cosgrove argues, has consistently been “figured through the image of the globe.”¹ Likewise, to see the world as an ordered whole, from a position of supposed detachment,...

  5. 2 REGIONAL INTELLIGENCE The Militarization of Geographical Knowledge
    (pp. 51-100)

    For many Americans, the Second World War prompted tremendous interest in previously ignored parts of the world. This attention resulted in a quest for geographic knowledge that frequently rationalized and familiarized foreign landscapes in the language of military interests. Because every place, and every type of place, possessed a potential wartime purpose, the globe and its geographical parts were present in both the schematic language of grand strategy and more intricate discussions of intelligence gathering and war planning. Networks of research were therefore established for the systematic study ofregions. These spaces—some clearly more important than others—became testing...

  6. 3 ILLUMINATING THE TERRAIN Social Science Finds Its Targets
    (pp. 101-146)

    By the end of the 1950s, the habit of partitioning the world into three parts was commonplace across disciplines, political perspectives, and even states. The simplistic “three worlds” framework was firmly anchored, if not unequivocally tailored, to themetageographyof the Cold War and simultaneous decolonization.¹ Those who invoked a tripartite globe were keenly aware that the third, developing sector was the object of a political and economic competition between the first and second worlds. In the United States, modernization theory was the most significant scholarly outgrowth of the Cold War’s stark divisions. Modernization theorists mandated that in the titanic...

  7. 4 THE CYBERNETIC CONTINENT North America as Defense Laboratory
    (pp. 147-192)

    Coined by MIT’s Norbert Wiener in 1947, the wordcyberneticsreferred to “the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal.”¹ During the Second World War, Wiener worked extensively for the military on a unified human–machine system that could target an enemy plane and launch antiaircraft fire. After the war, he and a diverse group of intellectuals generalized this cybernetic vision to encompass human behavior. Humans were, as Alan Turing “proved” in 1950, not so different from machines.² Computers operated like human minds—and vice versa, as cultural archetypes from organization men...

  8. 5 ANXIOUS URBANISM Strategies for the Atomic City
    (pp. 193-238)

    Even as it diverged from George Kennan’s original formulation, the termcontainmentcould be relied on to clearly differentiate America—or a larger sphere of allied comfort—from a threatening exterior realm. Of course, as the case of the fragile continental defense network shows, the two spheres were not so easily separated. In a discussion of colonialism and nationalism, Homi Bhabha has argued that “paranoid projections ‘outwards’ return to haunt and split the place from which they are made.”¹

    In the case of the Cold War, then, it is not surprising that the doubling back of paranoid political projections can...

  9. CONCLUSION Into Space
    (pp. 239-250)

    Popular Cold War science fiction films such asInvaders from Mars(1953),Them!(1954), andInvasion of the Body Snatchers(1956) figured the perils of communism through the trope of bodily replication. Although “reds” remained a distinctly alien category, the threat posed by these others could not be contained within a field of visible externality. Rather, danger emerged frominside, producing a problem of indeterminate identities and insecurity.¹ InBody Snatchers, personal vulnerability is a product of sleep—when the temptations of the unconscious prevail over self-vigilance. Set on the aptly named world of Altair IV,Forbidden Planet(1956) positioned...

    (pp. 251-254)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 255-328)
    (pp. 329-330)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 331-352)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 353-353)