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History of Science and Engineering

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ACTIVITIES OF MILITARY SURVEYORS IN THE KAZAKH STEPPE. A PRELUDE TO INVASION OF CENTRAL ASIA
K.V. Ivanov

The article intents to discuss one of the most important outcomes of the all-round European military reform, which was held during the first third of nineteenth century, namely, creation of a professional military-topographic service. The main function of this unit was to study the possible theatres of conflicts and provide the proper military logistics (mobilization, movement of the military forces and organization of their supply). The article would focus the particular role played by military surveyors during the territorial expansion when European armies have moved beyond the European region. The actions of military surveyors are often seen as activities rather serving than articulating the interests of their clients. The article presents the alternative view and considers the circumstances in which measuring procedures of surveyors, as well as representations they created, have been inseparable from conditions under which the very topographical task formulated. In such circumstances, the units of surveyors proved to be an articulating authority rather than realizer of already articulated request. Knowledge produced by military surveyors during the European armies’ advance into the region of Central Asia was not only its first geographic description but also means through which the needs of imperial policy could be intelligibly articulated.
Keywords: practical astronomy; military topography; colonization; imperial policy; Central Asia; Kazakh steppe; Russian Empire; Turkestan expeditions; small wars.


DOI: 10.25791/intstg.03.2020.1166

Pp. 11-19.

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