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Red SeaIn Search of Lost Space$
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Alexis Wick

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285910

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285910.001.0001

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The Scientific Invention of the Red Sea

The Scientific Invention of the Red Sea

(p.121) Four The Scientific Invention of the Red Sea
Red Sea

Alexis Wick

University of California Press

This chapter examines the creation of the Red Sea as an object of knowledge and power through war, trade, and science. It looks at the dramatic expansion of European (and mainly British) military power over the region, and the actual production of the Red Sea as a scientific object, culminating in its thorough charting in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. It considers how the scientific invention of the Red Sea not only brought it into being as an object that could be defined textually and pictorially, and therefore subjected to imperial power from afar; it also indicated by its own spectacle which power ought to dominate that new space. The chapter shows that this becoming-scientific of the Red Sea went hand in hand with British imperial expansion in the region (and the world). It also discusses the eventual rise to hegemony of these spatial and temporal notions, along with their internalization by the Ottomans and Egyptians, who adopt the category “Red Sea” in the 1850s and beyond.

Keywords:   war, trade, science, Europe, military power, Red Sea, scientific object, scientific invention, imperial power, hegemony

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