Manoel Fernandes De SOUSA NETO, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Gabriela FURIA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
In his On the concept of history (1940), Walter Benjamin suggests as a task of the historian, particularly the dialectical materialist, to brush history against the grain. He thus points out one can face a document of civilization as too a document of barbarism.
In 2021 the bicentenary of the Paris Geographical Society’s foundation is celebrated. This was the first of many societies alike in the 19th century, particularly in its third quarter, a moment in which tons of Societies bloomed. This boom, far from being unexpected, explains the particular stage of capitalism that was then arising and is still today a reality. These societies were created in the global north under the aegis of capital and have been intimately connected to the process of universalization of capitalism, which in this period acquires the crucial characteristics of monopoly under the auspices of banks and financial institutions.
The division of the world, whose apogee was the so-called scramble for Africa and in which geographical societies proudly and abundantly participated, served the interests of these same monopolies. Through a fistful of rich states they controlled the whole world with its trusts and associations, with which they sought new markets and exported capitals for the 1873-1890 european crisis’ lessening.
This process is commonly read in the history of geography as a moment of geographical explorations, whereby the elective affinities (SOUSA NETO, 2021) of both the members of Societies at the time and those who now study them remains veiled, hiding thus the inherent ties of geography in the historical geography of capitalism.
The circulation of knowledge, as well as the intellectual relationships of distinct geographers, naturalists, travellers, merchants, military through these machines of world inventariation that were the geographical societies, allow us to understand elements from that civilization project through barbarism in the conformation of the capitalist world system.
Mots clés : geographical societies|imperialism|elective affinities|historiography|history of geography