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Mapping Moral Geographies: W. Z. Ripley's Races of Europe and the United States

Heather Winlow
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 96, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 119-141
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3694148
Page Count: 23
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Mapping Moral Geographies: W. Z. Ripley's Races of Europe and the United States
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Abstract

Racia and anthropometric cartography produced and reinforced biological, intellectual, and moral hierarchies and was situated within wider scientific racial discourses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The practice of mapping "race" based on the widespread collection of anthropometric measurements occupied both European and New World anthropologists and geographers. My discussion centers on the work of American economist and anthropogeographer, W. Z. Ripley, who in 1899 published a widely acclaimed text on The Races of Europe. This work is contextualized and informed both by Victorian obsessions with categorizing racial hierarchies and by specifically American racial discourses that included concerns over increasing immigration from southern and eastern Europe and the threat immigration posed to the Anglo-Saxon ruling elite. Using the conceptual framework developed by J. B. Harley and other recent contributions to critical cartography, this article focuses on Ripley's use of cartographic images to support his tripartite racial scheme for Europe, and explores his projection of a "moral geography" onto European and, in turn, American landscapes and populations. Central to this analysis are the links between anthropogeography, environmentalism, heredity, and American immigration, all key elements in Ripley's racial science.

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