In "The Contours of America's Cold War," Matthew Farish explores new ways of conceptualizing space as part of post-World War II American militarism. He demonstrates how the social sciences were militarized in the early Cold War period, producing spatial knowledge that was of immediate use to the state as it sought to expand its reach across the globe.
Geographic knowledge generated for the Cold War was a form of power, Farish argues, and it was given an urgency in the panels, advisory boards, and study groups established to address the challenges of an atomic world. He investigates how the scales of the city, the continent, the region, the globe, and, by extension, outer space, were brought together as strategic spaces, categories that provided a cartographic orientation for the Cold War and influenced military deployments, diplomacy, espionage, and finance.
Farish analyzes the surprising range of knowledge production involved in the project of claiming and classifying American space. Backed by military and intelligence funding, physicists and policy makers, soldiers and social scientists came together to study and shape the United States and its place in a divided world.
"The Contours of America's Cold War offers a vital new contribution to American studies. Matthew Farish shows how the geopolitics of the Cold War required a new cartography, producing a wide ranging transformation in how Americans understood urban, national, and planetary space. It breaks new ground in showing how the human sciences were militarized under the logics of global threat during the early Cold War. Essential reading for anyone investigating the deep roots of American militarism or the spatial contours of our modern world." -Joseph Masco, University of Chicago
"The Contours of America's Cold War is an outstanding book directed at understanding the varied geographical underpinnings of the conduct of the Cold War in the U.S. context from 1945 to 1960. Farish addresses the global, national, laboratory/think tank, and urban dimensions of how the Cold War created a new American socio-political consciousness that has not yet been left behind." -John Agnew, UCLA