The Mapping of Taiwan, Desired Economies, Coveted Geographies
In The Mapping of Taiwan, Keating steps back and places Taiwan within the shaping framework of world events and global economies. It is a Gestalt of Taiwan's history and of life, but from the crass standpoint of trade, commodities, greed and monopolies. These are all part and parcel of desired economies that often in turn lead to coveted geographies that must be mapped. This book (80 to 85 all color pages of maps and photographs that along with 50 pages of text/context) traces the historical mapping of Taiwan by numerous nations from the 1500s to the present. Included are developments in cartography, the various mapmaking houses and the artistry of maps.
At a different level the book examines how the West came to Asia for the Spice Islands and how Taiwan was later drawn out of its isolation into a vortex of the desired economies and competing monopolies of many nations. Some nations eventually coveted it and colonized it. Taiwan had for a long time been mapped by outsiders, however it can now direct its own economy and map itself.
In the larger framework/vortex (Gestalt of Life), deconstructing maps can also reveal the hidden agenda and unsaid messages of the people and nations that pursue competing personal and national goals, influenced by religion, individualism, greed, power, patriotism, and ideologies. While this book keeps its focus on the mapping of Taiwan, it does include the wider dimensions of life. Maps convey information, yet what seems to be an event is really a construct of a specific quasi-symbolic system conveying information. Visual representations have their own message, but encoded in them also are other multiple messages to be deconstructed. Cartographers in turn have their own multiple motivations and constraints in making maps. A coffee table size, bi-lingual book published by SMC in 2011.
The book, The Mapping of Taiwan, Desired Economies, Coveted Geographies
Completes Jerome F. Keating's Taiwan Tetralogy
Most books on Taiwan try to fit the many aspects of its diverse past under one roof, and thus too often end up belittling one, championing another and cheating a third in that effort. Even if they claim or pledge neutrality and a pervasive ambition to cover all, to the close reader their rhetoric eventually betrays them. This tetralogy presents four crucial perspectives needed in approaching and understanding Taiwan; it may raise more questions than it answers but in its effort, it points directly to areas that cannot be ignored. The author writes not only from the perspective of reading and research but also from having lived in Taiwan for over two decades. In that time, he has constantly and critically observed how too often actions and results speak louder than words. These observations include those who hold wealth, position and power in Taiwan, how they got it, and why the playing field of Taiwan’s newly achieved democracy is still not level.
Book I:Island in the Stream, a Quick Case Study of Taiwan's Complex History
Book II:Taiwan the Struggles of a Democracy
Book III:Taiwan, The Search for Identity
Book IV:The Mapping of Taiwan, Desired Economies, Competing Monopolies, New Perspectives on Cartography, Competing Monopolies, and the Destiny of Taiwan.
All the Reviews
UCLA Media Scape: The Driving Forces and Scope of The Mapping of Taiwan.
GIO Taiwan Today:: Mapping Taiwan: A journey through history.
Gerrit van der Wees's review in Taiwan Communiqué no. 135, March 2012.
Noah Buchan of Taipei Times reviews the book.
Portolan Journal, winter 2012 review.