The first general history of Korea as seen through maps, "Korea: A Cartographic History" provides a beautifully illustrated introduction to how Korea was and is represented cartographically. John Rennie Short, one of today's most prolific and well-respected geographers, encapsulates six hundred years of maps made by Koreans and non-Koreans alike. Short begins by examining the differing cartographic traditions prevalent in the early Joseon period in Korea and its temporal equivalent in early modern Europe. He then explores the cartographic encounters from roughly 1600 to 1900, highlighting the influence of the rest of the world on Korean cartography. In the final section, Short covers the period from Japanese colonial control of Korea to the present day and demonstrates how some of the tumultuous events of the past hundred years are recorded and contested in maps. He also explores recent cartographic controversies regarding the naming of the East Sea/Sea of Japan and claims of ownership of the island of Dokdo.
A common theme running throughout Short's study is how the global flow of knowledge and ideas affects mapmaking, and Short reveals how Korean mapmakers throughout history have embodied, reflected, and even contested these foreign depictions of their homeland.
John Rennie Short is professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
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