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Nation-States and the Global EnvironmentNew Approaches to International Environmental History$
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Erika Marie Bsumek, David Kinkela, and Mark Atwood Lawrence

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199755356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755356.001.0001

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The Imperial Politics of Hurricane Prediction

The Imperial Politics of Hurricane Prediction

From Calcutta and Havana to Manila and Galveston, 1839–1900

Chapter:
(p.137) 7 The Imperial Politics of Hurricane Prediction
Source:
Nation-States and the Global Environment
Author(s):

Gregory T. Cushman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755356.003.0008

This chapter analyzes an early case of international collaboration to obtain protection from environmental harm, highlighting the importance of science and new communication technologies to imperial politics. It demonstrates the impact of competition for geopolitical prominence between nation-states on the development of knowledge about hurricanes, while revealing the ability of missionaries, merchants, scientists, and other non-state actors to influence international diplomacy for their own ends. Above all, this story reveals some grave dilemmas posed by human engagement with the ocean and atmosphere—the quintessential transboundary environments. It also challenges our faith in the ability of science and technology to protect us from harm.

Keywords:   hurricane, imperial science, missionaries, meteorology

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