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CSIS/STS Event: Bill Rankin "Radionavigation and the Politics of Geographic Knowledge"

When Apr 24, 2014
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where CSIS/STS Room, SSH 1246
Contact Name
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Please join the Center for Science and Innovation Studies for a talk by Dr. Bill Rankin (History of Science, Yale University).

Dr. Caren Kaplan (Professor of American Studies, UC Davis) will provide a response.

Lunch provided, but please RSVP early.

Abstract: During the twentieth century, radionavigation systems created new forms of geographic knowledge that departed radically from the knowledge produced by paper maps. I analyze these systems in two registers. At a macropolitical level, they promoted new kinds of international intervention, from the battles of World War I to GPS-guided humanitarian response. At a micropolitical level, they gave millions of people – pilots, soldiers, anthropologists, teenagers – a newly embedded experience of geographic space. Taken together, I argue that radionavigation offers crucial insight into the history of twentieth-century territoriality and the broad geopolitical shift from the era of internationalism to the era of globalization.

BIO: William Rankin is an assistant professor of the history of science at Yale University. His work focuses on the intersection of science, technology, and space, including the history of cartography, the history of the earth sciences, and the architecture of scientific laboratories. He is currently writing a history of the mapping sciences in the twentieth century.
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