When I was getting up to speed as a political geographer, browsing through textbooks, I came across a small body of literature on what seemed to be the driest, least ‘political’ area of political geography: the science of state shapes.  There’s probably an established name for this, but I’ll just call it “politomorphology.”  The politomorphology literature seemed to combine the worst excesses of scientism (let’s create categories so that we can critique them) with fetishism (let’s study the shapes so that we don’t have to analyze the underlying social processes).  Just last year, I gently mocked a colleague who showed a video to his undergraduate map analysis class on how the U.S. states got their shapes (and the only reason why the mocking was gentle was because the colleague was my department head!).  Of course, twenty years ago when I was going through those textbooks I was equally dismissive of…

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