« La guerre, la plus terrible des érosions ». Cultures de guerre et géographes universitaires, Allemagne-France-Etats-Unis (1914-1921)

Nicolas Ginsburger 1
1 EHGO
GC (UMR_8504) - Géographie-cités
Abstract : When the Great War broke out in 1914, the field of academia in geography was divided into local and national schools, connected together through publications, scientific debates and international meetings. My work in comparative history aims at showing that the three main “communities” in the field (namely Germany, France and the United States of America) were affected by the war violence, and that they took an active part in many aspects of “war cultures” in the fighting countries. Indeed, the youngest ones fought, some others did some research for the army (above all in German and American war geology), some others wrote committed books (about German and Russian atrocities, war goals, political and military geography) and geographers of the Home fronts played an important role in cultural diplomacy – every specialist in Earth Sciences mobilized in various ways. They were even to be used as experts, specially during the 1919 peace negotiations. As teachers, scholars, intellectuals and citizens, these men and women went through a very brutal and intense period as far as the shaping of their professional identity is concerned, for they had to reconcile “modern geography” with applied geography. The results proved to be quite disappointing for them: political mobilization, at first enthusiastic, soon turned sour; and their expertise could appear useless as it failed to help political leaders to frame a new map of the world based on scientific grounds. Despite these frustrations and limits, the First World War seems to be a turning point in the shaping of the collective identity of academic geography: its demobilization took a long time, and remained unfinished as long as violence and alliances persisted.
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Nicolas Ginsburger. « La guerre, la plus terrible des érosions ». Cultures de guerre et géographes universitaires, Allemagne-France-Etats-Unis (1914-1921). Histoire, Philosophie et Sociologie des sciences. UNIVERSITE PARIS OUEST NANTERRE-LA DEFENSE, 2010. Français. ⟨tel-01275980⟩

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