Chapter

Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life

James Moore

in Geography and Revolution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226487335
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226487359 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226487359.003.0005
Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life

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Homo sapiens has been called the world's “most dangerous and unrelenting” predator. For thousands of years, waves of “portmanteau biota”—people, their pets, and pests—swept across seas and lands, culminating in a “Caucasian tsunami” as Europeans overran the globe. The British were in the vanguard, with imperial geography and then evolutionary biogeography developing in their wake. Both disciplines were practical instruments of expansion, but historians have so far neglected to connect them theoretically. Even geographers, following their lead, find Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection to have more social than spatial implications. This chapter establishes the theoretical link by showing, first, how Darwin rendered life itself an agent and ally of empire, and second, how Wallace developed an alternative geopolitics.

Keywords: imperial geography; evolutionary biogeography; space invaders; revolution; Darwin; geopolitics

Chapter.  12672 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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