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Engineering inter-imperialism: American miners and the transformation of global mining, 1871–1910*

  • Stephen Tuffnell (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This article examines the transnational circulation of American mine engineers between the United States, southern Africa, and the Americas in the late nineteenth century. Technology and knowledge was diffused worldwide with the circulation of American engineers who styled themselves as expert race managers as they compared the labour practices of mines across the world. The article's focus is the extension of the United States’ global footprint to South Africa, where an expatriate ‘colony’ of American engineers created a resilient form of Anglo-American inter-imperial collaboration. As they worked the Rand, American engineers made transnational comparisons of South African and North and South American mines. In the process, they led a global discussion of the efficiency of mining labour that reified white management of other races. After leaving the Rand, American engineers migrated across the globe, many to Mexico, where the interwoven networks of expert knowledge, industrial capitalism, and transnational race-making that characterized late nineteenth-century global mining followed.

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For their careful reading, critical insights, and advice, the author would like to thank Jay Sexton, Pekka Hämäläinen, Michelle Hay, and the editors and anonymous readers of the Journal of Global History. Helpful audiences at the University of Oxford, the British American Nineteenth Century Historians Conference at Rice University, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations annual meeting shaped early versions of this article. The British Academy's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship provided research funding essential for its completion.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Stephen Tuffnell , ‘Anglo-American inter-imperialism: US expansion and the British world, c.1865–1914’, Britain and the World, 7, 2, 2014, pp. 174–195

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John Mason Hart , Empire and revolution: the Americans in Mexico since the Civil War, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002, p. 152

Barbara P. Josiah , Migration, mining, and the African diaspora: Guyana in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 43–44

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Journal of Global History
  • ISSN: 1740-0228
  • EISSN: 1740-0236
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-global-history
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