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Durham e-Theses
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Territorialising Colonial Environments:
A Comparison of Colonial Sciences on Land Demarcation in Japanese Taiwan and British Malaya

YEH, ER-JIAN (2011) Territorialising Colonial Environments:
A Comparison of Colonial Sciences on Land Demarcation in Japanese Taiwan and British Malaya.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Er-Jian Yeh_Territorialising Colonial Environments_2011) - Accepted Version


The thesis seeks to establish how far, and in what ways, colonial science articulates a distinctive mode of environmental conceptions and governance. It concerns the entanglement between the government, science, and knowledge. To examine how these combinations may vary it compares how land demarcation progressed in two different imperial territories: Japanese Taiwan (Formosa) and British Malaya. The discussion is based on this pair of case studies of environmental territorialisation, driven by imperial forces, whose legacy is still apparent today. The abrupt nineteenth-century colonial intrusion into these two sparsely populated areas, though occurring in different ways and scales, evoked a similarly dramatic landscape change from the centuries-old indigenous practice of subsistence activities.
There are both similarities and considerable divergences referring to land classification in these two dependencies. In both cases most of the land was delineated as state-controlled forest reserve, which not only enhanced the revenue of government but also supplied the required timber or fuel resources. Another space delimited was aboriginal reservation that sustained the native subsistence or usufructory rights at least in part.
By examining the genealogy and material discursive practices of territorialisation as they interacted with local environments and peoples the thesis offers a comparative account of the logics of different empires and the construction of territorial administration. It examines the political ecology of how colonial nature was produced as a resource, with the commodification of forest areas. It unpacks the two cases by studying the role of colonial science, especially cartographic practices, in demarcating and defining territories and peoples. It contrasts the state run surveys in Colonised Formosa with the networks of knowledge production in British Malaya.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Oct 2011 12:38

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