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Re-Designing Africa: Railways and Globalization in the Era of the New Imperialism

Maria Paula Diogo () and Bruno J. Navarro ()
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Maria Paula Diogo: NOVA University of Lisbon
Bruno J. Navarro: NOVA University of Lisbon

Chapter 5 in Technology and Globalisation, 2018, pp 105-128 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract In this chapter we propose to discuss the strategies deployed by Portugal, a peripheral country in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe, to use its African Empire as a token for asserting its position in the European arena. Beyond diplomatic and political demarches, technology—and particularly the building of railways—was at the core of the Portuguese imperial agenda, determining the way African territories were immersed in the global market. Engineers played a central role in this process by discussing and eventually deciding the layout of the railway lines that were at the core of new anthropogenic landscapes, thus establishing an economic hierarchy among geographical spaces not only within the colonies, but also in a worldwide context. We will use two case studies, one in Angola and one in Mozambique, to argue that technological choices in the colonies were strongly pervaded by political and economic European agendas.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-75450-5_5

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