Como no pasa nada en ninguna parte (chiste), hoy le dedicamos un rato a nuestro pasatiempo favorito, que es mirar mapas. Nos vamos a focalizar en algunos mapas Pacífico-céntricos, preferentemente en proyecciones no Mercator. La nota que sigue es la primera parte de un largo artículo aparecido en el sitio web TransPacificProject. Si quieren ver el resto de la misma, vayan allá:
Epígrafe: "Every map shows this . . . but not that, and every map shows what it shows this way . . . but not the other." Denis Wood, The Power of Maps (1992)
Texto: "Both in the selectivity of their content and in their signs and styles of representation, maps are a way of conceiving, articulating and structuring the human world which is biased towards, promoted by, and exerts influence upon particular sets of social relations. By accepting such premises it becomes easier to see how appropriate they are to manipulation by the powerful in society." J. Brian Harley, "Maps, Knowledge and Power" (1988)
This section of the website contains maps relevant to the focus of the Transpacific Project. The worldviews, beliefs, values and perspectives reflected in these maps are an important source of knowledge about the history and contemporary significance of transpacific relations. (Some of the maps can be enlarged by clicking on them.)
Maps of the Pacific Basin
The following maps encompass the Pacific Basin. They represent its physical geography, boundaries and the contemporary political territories within it.
Satellite Composite Image of the Pacific Basin
Pacific Rim Map Showing Contemporary Political Territories
Pacific Basin Map with Contemporary Political Territories
Map Showing Pacific Rim, Pacific Islands and Pacific Ocean Regions
World Map centered on Pacific Ocean
The maps above are examples of the limited number of world maps that are centered on the Pacific Ocean rather than the Atlantic Ocean (typified by the map below). Atlantic centered maps, which are the norm, break up the Pacific Basin, place it on the margins of the map and thereby de-emphasize it, whereas the Pacific centered maps do the exact opposite.
World Map Centered on the Atlantic Ocean
But all the maps above exaggerate the size and hence the importance of the countries and regions north of the equator and de-emphasize the size and importance of the countries and regions south of the equator (they also exaggerate the size of Antarctica). The Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Projection Map below provides a contrasting perspective/world view. It is based on a much more accurate projection of the relative size of the countries and continents of the world than all the maps above.
Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Projection Map
This "South Up Map" reveals a more accurate view of the Southern Hemisphere but de-emphasizes the Atlantic Basin by splitting it and placing it at the margins of the map. To illustrate further how maps shape worldviews and have been used to justify the dominance of certain nations and regions over others in world history we provide a link below to a brief video clip that humorously but effectively demonstrates this point. The main message in the video clip and in this section on maps is the same: maps influence how people see the world and they reflect the political, economic and cultural interests of the people who make and sponsor them.
The video clip in question is taken from a popular television drama series called the "West Wing", which was shown on television for several years in the United States of America and other countries. This television series, which ran from 1999 to 2006, was set in the West Wing of the White House, where the offices of the U.S. President and his senior staff are located. The program won many awards and received positive reviews from media critics, political scientists, and former presidential staff. Click here to see the video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8zBC2dvERM&feature=youtu.be