【Colloquium】Geographical Imagination and Territoriality in Maritime Spaces: U.S. Foreign Policy and Challenges in the Pacific Region

Lecturer Sandra Meerwein (PhD Candidate / Research Assistant, Mainz University)
Date May 11, 2023 17:30-19:00
Venue Sophia University, Central Library 7F, Room 721A, Institute of American and Canadian Studies
This lecture will be held in-person.
Admission: Free*Visitors from outside the university are kindly asked to register at the library entrance.
Registration ▸Pre-registration is required:
  For graduate students and faculties
Abstract      Maritime spaces always played a significant role in U.S.-American national identity formation processes and foreign policy dynamics. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Pacific Ocean became increasingly important regarding the promotion of national characteristic features that would bolster U.S. foreign policy in relation to the maritime space. Since then, territorial interpretations of the sea from a “great highway” and “wide common” to divisions into maritime zones that would – amongst other jurisdictions – navigate nations’ access to natural resources have been integrated into U.S.-American foreign policy concepts.
     Starting the 1960s, reinforced perceptions of the Pacific as a basin for resources to support U.S.-American economic interests and industrial development emerged. At the same time, the negotiation process of access to these resources in the context of international law and order reflects ways in which the U.S. pictured opportunities and challenges in the context of its national interests. Moreover, this imagination also reveals how the nation positioned itself ideationally and geographically within the Pacific region.
     Put together, these aspects ultimately create a narrative that interprets the territorial space of the Pacific in relation to U.S. interests and reactions to regional dynamics. The rhetoric implemented in such narratives therefore shed light on U.S. perspectives and foreign policy approaches in the Pacific. Whereas past U.S.-American concepts were navigated under conceptions of the marine space as resource itself, or labels like “America’s Pacific Century,” the current narrative is titled as “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” In this context, this lecture explores how aspects of geographical imagination and territorial interpretation are translated into U.S. foreign policy concepts pertaining to the Pacific, and what kind of challenges it poses in juxtaposition with other regional concepts.
Language English