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Reading: Maps of the South-Pacific: How Britain invented Australia


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Maps of the South-Pacific: How Britain invented Australia


Alessandro Bucci

University of Edinburgh, GB
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This study seeks to investigate an alternative view of land and of its cartographic representations. Such view sees land not as a priori given, but as available to be interpreted in relation to the subjective gaze of those who look at it and determine it as a social space. In particular, this study looks at the South-Pacific. The ‘discovery’ of the landmasses in that area is to be read in a typically European context, for it completes the vision of the world of those that had earlier ignored its existence. From this point of view, I have analyzed representations of Australia that show the evolution of how the rest of the world learnt to think about it. In particular, I have taken into account cartographic representations that show how the unknown lands of the South were turned into the fetished British possession of Australia. Looking at them is a useful way to develop considerations about the processes of appropriation of land by the British Empire.
How to Cite: Bucci, A., 2014. Maps of the South-Pacific: How Britain invented Australia. JOMEC Journal, (6), p.None. DOI:
Published on 01 Nov 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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