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Particular Visual Ties Structure Certain Kinds Of Geographical Knowledge's

By Author: Mark Gary
Total Articles: 61

The aircraft offered pioneering pilots and early airlines a potent means of traversing and colonizing land. What has been little recognized is that the first aviators to fly across colonial territories were presented with novel experiences of the landscapes, places and people they overflew. In a unique fashion, the pioneering aviators were "seeing-men" whose imperial eyes were able to Merrell Boots look out and possess in unprecedented ways. In Saint-Exupery's works, such experiences were represented in vivid language that contains a 'geography from above,' which reflected and reproduced various myths about culture, civilizations, and nature, wilderness, Europeans and 'others.'

Such a view was important, not least because it was "saturated with power relations" and its expressions accompanied and legitimated the colonial expropriation of land. Aviation was a powerful tool for these constructions for several reasons: it allowed a new perspective; it gave greater range and access to uncharted lands; it facilitated new forms of cultural contact; it catalyzed the pace of cultural exchange, allowing rapid juxtapositions of different cultures and places; and it produced a heightened sense of power in those individuals who experienced landscapes, places and people from the air. This article has shown how these factors could, in the work of a skilled author, lead to the production of powerful, imaginative geographies. In Saint-Exupery's career, a previously unthinkable variety of landscapes, places and people were observed, analyzed, described, interpreted and represented to a large readership that it spanned several continents.

Although few aviators had an influence comparable to that of Saint-Exupery, his work suggests that he regarded himself as Merrell Sandal one of a community of airmen, ground personnel, airline staff and colonial officials who collectively established the early airmail routes. His writings offer valuable insights into that community and their capacity to develop and communicate new geographies from above. More generally, however, this article provides an example of the ways in which "particular visual ties structure certain kinds of geographical knowledge's": in this case, how the view from an airborne, moving platform shaped the perceptions of an influential aviator writer. In turn, through the translations of his works, Saint-Exupery's imagery has reached a worldwide audience of millions and continues to shape the ways in which the landscapes, places and people he overflew are envisaged.

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