Eurasia: The Geographical Pivot of History

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Eurasia: The Geographical Pivot of History

<p>In 1904, Sir Halford J. Mackinder presented a paper to the Royal Geographical Society in which he laid out a strikingly novel conception of world history and helped to establish modern geopolitical

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In 1904, Sir Halford J. Mackinder presented a paper to the Royal Geographical Society in which he laid out a strikingly novel conception of world history and helped to establish modern geopolitical thought. Mackinder divided the earth’s surface into three areas: the ‘World Island’ (with the ‘Heartland’ / ‘Pivot Area’ in the centre of Russia); the Offshore Islands; and the Outlying Islands. In 1919, Mackinder summarised his ‘Heartland Theory’ as follows: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.” But is Mackinder’s ‘Heartland Theory’ correct?


SUGGESTED READING

  • Pascal Venier, The geographical pivot of history and early twentieth century geopolitical culture, The Geographical Journal 170, 4 (December, 2004), pp. 330-336. Available online at: http://www.pascalvenier.com/venier2004c.pdf


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Sir Halford J. Mackinder: brief biography and overview of key writings.
  • Explanation of the main elements of the ‘Heartland’ theory.
  • Analysis and critique of the ‘Heartland’ theory


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the origins of the ‘Heartland’ Theory.
  2. Appreciate the geopolitical significance of the ‘Heartland’ theory.
  3. Comprehend some of the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘Heartland’ theory.