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Where Lies Germany: Science and the Visualization of the German Nation, 1848-1914

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Title: Where Lies Germany: Science and the Visualization of the German Nation, 1848-1914
Author(s): Hansen, Jason
Director of Research: Fritzsche, Peter
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Fritzsche, Peter
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Liebersohn, Harry; Todorova, Maria; Micale, Mark S.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): German History Science Cartography Statistics Nationalism
Abstract: This dissertation examines the use of the quantitative sciences – particularly statistics and cartography – to bring order to the chaotic landscape of nationalities in central Europe across the long nineteenth century. It shows how numbers and maps were used to transform the abstract and frustratingly plastic concept of nationality into a seemingly tangible entity, whose exact spatial dimensions could objectively be measured, classified and ultimately managed. The production of this scientific knowledge, I argue, thus made possible the practical application of nationalist ideology to everyday life. Armed with scientifically ‘accurate’ ethnographic tables and maps states could redraw political and administrative boundaries to match perceived lines of ethnic difference, while nationalist organizations could develop actionable strategies to intervene in nationality conflicts across the globe. In this way, my work contributes to longstanding debates about the origins of radical nationalism at the end of the nineteenth century. It highlights the linkage between scientific practice, visuality and the nationalization of politics, paying particular attention to the role played by technologies of representation and knowledge networks in convincing Europeans that they had found a reliable way to objectify nationality.
Issue Date: 2010-08-20
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Jason Hansen
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-20
Date Deposited: 2010-08

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