Interaction and Display: Pioneering in Formosa During The 19th Century

Proceedings of The 7th International Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2023



Interaction and Display: Pioneering in Formosa During The 19th Century

Shu-hui, Lin




Travel literature is closely related to cultural diffusion, and authors manage to influence people’s ideas of Taiwan through their observation records and publication. Traveling became a platform where different cultures met and thus sparked a series of incidents such as contacting, encountering, and interpreting, which made traveling different from its original concept of living at a fixed point. This paper takes Pioneering in Formosa by William Alexander Pickering as an example, exploring the narrative strategies of cultural image representation by analyzing narrative plots full of novelty, construction of figure images, and perspectives of interactions. It also uses geographic information systems as research methods to explore the relationship between text and spatial memory. The British writer dissimilates Formosa in order to rationalize political activities. The travel literature revealed the mirroring relationship of rhetoric that both sides were observing each other. It is more than an adventure story; furthermore, it reveals the relevance between economic and political interests in the imperial period. Travel literature is given political, and commercial functions by authors collecting new interesting information from other sources and then weaving their legendary stories. The traveler’s behavior, routes, and observations could be analyzed through the text and GIS tool. These works also encourage later generations to review the international interactions nowadays and understand the perspectives on Taiwan’s cultural images from others. In this way, travel literature could be an important medium to facilitate the reassessment of self-identity and the way of displaying history.

keywords: travel literature, GIS, representation, indigenous, William Alexander Pickering