Air-age globalism was a discursive phenomenon throughout the development of World War II that accounted for the rapid “shrinking” of the world through air technologies and the internationalization of American interests. Cartography became air-age globalism’s primary popular expression, and journalistic cartographers such as Richard Edes Harrison at Fortune magazine introduced new mapping projections and perspectives in response to these global changes. This essay argues that Harrison’s mapping innovations mediate a geopolitical shift in America toward a modern, image-based internationalism. Through recastings of “vision” and “strategy,” Harrison’s work offers an opportunity to assess the rhetorical tensions between idealism and realism in midcentury cartographic forms and the larger spatial and perceptual challenges facing U.S. foreign policy during its rise to superpower status.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 Michigan State University Press. This article first appeared in Rhetoric & Public Affairs 16:3 (2012), 397-434.