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Geography, Empire, and Environmental Determinism
Vol. 82, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 143-153
Published by: American Geographical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/215428
Page Count: 11
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This article explores the relationship among geography, environmental determinism, and early-twentieth-century development of the Panama Canal Zone. The apparent scientific basis of environmental determinism provided both American policymakers and American Canal Zone residents with an acceptable explanation and rationalization for imperialism in Panama. On the basis of the thesis's academic trappings, everything from pay, privileges, racial hierarchy, and spatial patterns of housing to social control could be understood in ostensibly objective terms. Interpreting Panama through the theoretical lens of environmental determinism offers insights into the character of American prejudices and interests abroad.
Geographical Review © 1992 American Geographical Society