Panama: Geopolitics of Desire


in Empire of Love

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162950
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199867660 | DOI:
Panama: Geopolitics of Desire

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the ambitious but ill-fated French project for a canal across Panama, and the ways that the engineering challenge was encoded in what one commentator called “glory for the country and a touch of romance.” By following the dreams of universal commerce and brotherhood that were attached to the project, many registers of French emotionalism are explored. In Panama, romantic Jesuit ruins, utopian jungle communities, and attractive isthmian peoples illuminate French Saint Simonian communities of love plotting to conquer the Pacific transit with a passionate Gallic nationalism.

Keywords: Panama; Central America; canal; Saint Simon; French engineering

Chapter.  10393 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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