The clash of continents is not visible on maps

Ross argues that the clash of continents isn’t necessarily something that one can see on maps.

Although the most characteristic medium of geopolitics was the “suggestive map”, in Ross’s oeuvre cartography only plays an ancillary role. Most of his book publications include maps, but with only few exceptions these are functional, not argumentative maps. They were drawn from F. A. Brockhaus’s in-house collection and were included merely to allow the reader to follow the course of Ross’s travel itineraries. In this article, Ross ascribes an impotence to cartography, as it is unable to depict the most salient spatial realities of the time: 

“We are witnessing a new division of the Earth, a shifting of the continents’ centers of gravity, and of the power relations between the races or, more accurately, we are already in the middle of these developments, even if globes and atlases don’t reflect any of these fundamental shifts”.

Although geopolitical cartography was ubiquitous by the time Ross penned this article, he doesn’t make use of it to communicate his vision of “shifting power centers” and new “divisions of the Earth”. This lack of cartographic communication left unchecked those mental maps of conflict generated by his readers.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Die Neuverteilung der Erde. Grundsätzliches zur Kolonialfrage. In: Zeitschrift für Geopolitik. 1936 June; 13 (9): 582-596.

Topic: Clash of Continents
Case: Geopolitics

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