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Geographical intelligence: American geographers and research and analysis in the Office of Strategic Services 1941–1945

Authors
Journal
Journal of Historical Geography
0305-7488
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
32
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2005.06.001
Disciplines
  • Geography

Abstract

Abstract The paper provides an interpretation of the role played by the Research and Analysis (R&A) Branch at the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the Second World War, and, in particular, the contributions made by some American geographers. Richard Hartshorne was especially important because he held a key administrative position at R&A, Chair of the Projects Committee that oversaw all research publications. But other geographers were involved including Kirk Stone and Edward Ullman who produced strategic regional reports (the JANIS studies), and Arthur Robinson and Leonard Wilson who held key positions, respectively, in cartography and map intelligence. Conceptually, the paper is informed by Bruno Latour's writings on the history and sociology of scientific knowledge. Three of his ideas are especially pertinent: ‘centres of calculation,’ ‘translation,’ and ‘action at a distance.’

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