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To Master the Boundless SeaThe U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire$
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Jason W. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640440.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Wilderness of Waters

Wilderness of Waters

(p.14) 1 Wilderness of Waters
To Master the Boundless Sea

Jason W. Smith

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the origins of navigational science in the American maritime culture of the early nineteenth century, in marine societies, and in the U.S. Navy, linking the institutionalization of naval science to the broader expansion of American maritime commerce and the evolving role of science in the federal government more broadly. The chapter argues that naval scientists, surveyors, and cartographers saw their work as bringing empirical rationality to a watery wilderness, imposing cartographic order over nature and an appropriation of space in the interests of American maritime commerce. In the process, they aimed to replace folkloric and experiential navigational understandings deeply held by the American seafaring community with a growing embrace of science institutionalized in the federal government and in the American navy specifically.

Keywords:   Navigational science, Maritime, Navy, Science, Wilderness, Folklore, Seafaring, Maritime Culture

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