Politics and Geography of Radionavigation: World War I to GPS
4/18/2013, 4:10 pm
- Heidi Welch
- Wilson Hall 113
- Open to the Public
Territory in the Twentieth Century: The Politics and Geography of Radionavigation from World War I to GPS
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.
Hosted by: Digital Humanities Group, Department of History and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities
Partial Abstract: Historians face two competing narratives about the international state system in the twentieth century: one highlights the universalization of the nation-state ideal and the increasing stability of international boundaries, while the other emphasizes globalization and the shrinking relevance of nation-state control. Rather than addressing these competing visions in purely macro-political terms, this paper looks at the micro-political level of the spatial technologies that were used to make geographic space legible and navigable – namely, radionavigation systems. Of these, GPS is only the most recent and most widely adopted; the first such systems were developed in the 1910s and dozens more came online during World War II.