Joshua Hagen reviews The Birth of Territory in Geographical Review

gere12034A nice review of The Birth of Territory in Geographical Review, by Joshua Hagen (requires subscription).

Here’s the concluding paragraph:

Elden is to be commended for his keen analysis that tackles rather complex issues of meaning and translation while remaining eminently readable. I also credit Elden for undertaking such an ambitious project when the incentive structures in modern academia increasingly tilt toward producing the minimal publishable unit. Upon first perusing the book, I immediately thought of Clarence Glacken’s Traces on the Rhodian Shore, an impression that was only reinforced as I read through the chapters. I was a bit frustrated the book lacked a full bibliography. The main chapters seemed to average around 250 notes, so looking up full citations was laborious. I will refrain from the rather lazy criticism that this or that should have been included in a book that covers so much ground, but I would have liked a bit more explanation about what criteria governed
the selection of source materials. Perhaps my most significant complaint would be that I do not think the title fits the book very well. The story Elden tells is less about the birth of territory than the changing relations between place and power. Elden explicitly acknowledges as much throughout the book. I believe what Elden has actually produced is much more than the birth of territory. With apologies to Glacken, I think the book would be better titled Place and Power in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Seventeenth Century. These small points do not diminish a truly impressive piece of scholarship.


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2 Responses to Joshua Hagen reviews The Birth of Territory in Geographical Review

  1. Pingback: Top ten posts on Progressive Geographies this week | Progressive Geographies

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