“Conditional Conquest”: Geography, Labor, and Exploration in South America

Neil Smith

in American Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780520230279
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931527 | DOI:
“Conditional Conquest”: Geography, Labor, and Exploration in South America

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This chapter studies Bowman's primary explorations that were conducted in South America. It emphasizes that geographical knowledge is a condition of conquest, and that transforms immediate practical questions of resources and environment into manageable scientific and technical problems. It enumerates the conquests made by Bowman, namely the Davisian Andes expedition and the “Yale Expedition to Peru”, where he led a cartographic survey of the Urubamba River valley. The chapter reveals that Bowman recorded and witnessed economic and social evidence of the “shock of modernity”, and that his South American travels changed him. Bowman's construction of the vista of race and class difference and the political economy of the Ratzelian Andes are discussed.

Keywords: primary explorations; South America; geographical knowledge; conquests; Davisian Andes; Peru; cartographic survey; shock of modernity; political economy

Chapter.  11842 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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