Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood

Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood

by Joshua Keating


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A thoughtful analysis of how our world’s borders came to be and why we may be emerging from a lengthy period of “cartographical stasis”

What is a country? While certain basic criteria—borders, a government, and recognition from other countries—seem obvious, journalist Joshua Keating’s book explores exceptions to these rules, including self-proclaimed countries such as Abkhazia, Kurdistan, and Somaliland, a Mohawk reservation straddling the U.S.-Canada border, and an island nation whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Through stories about these would-be countries’ efforts at self-determination, as well as their respective challenges, Keating shows that there is no universal legal authority determining what a country is. He argues that although our current world map appears fairly static, economic, cultural, and environmental forces in the places he describes may spark change. Keating ably ties history to incisive and sympathetic observations drawn from his travels and personal interviews with residents, political leaders, and scholars in each of these “invisible countries.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300221626
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 06/26/2018
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 594,036
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Joshua Keating is a foreign policy analyst, staff writer, and editor at Slate. Previously he was an editor at Foreign Policy.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Introduction: What Is a Country? 1

1 How Countries Conquered the "World 19

Outlier: Knights of the East Side 59

2 A Nation between Countries 66

Outlier: Virtual Countries, Real Borders 99

3 The Invisible Country 107

Outlier: Land of the Free 144

4 The Dream of Independence 150

Outlier: Out of State 190

5 The Country Vanishes 197

Conclusion: The New Map 227

Notes 247

Acknowledgments 263

Index 267

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