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The Politics of Memory and the Craft of Governance: Inter-Asian Studies on State, Society, Ethnicity and History

The Politics of Memory and the Craft of Governance: Inter-Asian Studies on State, Society, Ethnicity and History

Convener:Jui-Hua Chen


The subproject is to fulfill the mission to re-evaluate history. Our research strategy is to investigate the politics of memory, and explore how history crystallized into contemporary cultural memory through contemporary thought, cultural movement and cultural governance. What kind of conflicts do excavation and reconstruction of
historical memory reveal, or conceal? What kind of justice do they seek? How does this kind of knowledge production contribute to decolonization?
The subproject is divided into three sub-themes:


I. Literary debates and politics of memory: Literary debates form thought-trends and suggest different views on the relationship between literature and society, and has become the field of representation of social and cultural conflicts. Via re-evaluation of history, the review and rediscovery of literary debates explores the deep contradictions reflected in cultural politics. On the one hand, this sub-theme examines the cultural movements and intellectual debates in different parts of Asia; on the other hand, it interrogates various issues of politics of memory presented in the review of these debates.


II. Cultural heritage and politics of memory: What kind of governance does the state sector demonstrate using cultural heritage as a force? How does one label the cultural heritage of the colonial period? How does the non-state sector adapt to, transform or resist state governance? Do the official narratives of the histories of the nation and of its people’s lives connect or conflict?


III. Ethnic history and politics of memory: How do historical groups such as ethnicities and localities represent their memory? How does their performance of memory differ from the official historical narrative in the framework of cultural governance? Is there a different understanding of justice? What is the significance or function of the narrative established through the project of oral history?

Results in the first three years (2018-2020)
Subproject I’s research results in the first three years include monographs and essays, such as “Class That Matters: National Discourse, Gender Politics, and the Representation of Capitalism in Taiwan Literature” (by Elliott S.T. Shie, Socio Publishing, 2019), “Division in Thought: Chen Yingzhen and Park Hyun-Chae (by Yeon Gwang-Seok, Taishe, 2019), Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Gaze: Lyrical Tradition, Intertextuality, and Political Culture (by Elliott S.T. Shie, Socio Publishing, 2020), “The Snail on the Brier: A Study of Lu Ling and His Works" (by Sung Yu-Wen, National Chiao Tung University Press, 2020), “The Politics of Video Recording: Green Groups and Alternative Media Movement” (edited by Jui-Hua et al., Yuanjing, 2020) and six other essays. Additionally, three papers on Malaysian Chinese literature by Malaysian scholars Zhuang Huaxing, Wei Yueping, and Su Yingxin and a separate paper on Nativist Literature (Xiantu Wenxue) by Taiwanese scholar Liu Yi-hong, given in the conference “Literary Debates and the Politics of Memory” have been rewritten and then published in the special edited volume of Cultural Studies (No. 32) with the theme “Literary Debates and the Politics of Memory.” These monographs and papers reinterpret the historical situation and social significance of these cultural actions through the investigation of literary fields, literary debates, social thoughts, literary creators, and sports groups, so as to carry out a second social intervention in the contemporary era, which itself is a display of the politics of memory.

Sub-theme II “Cultural Heritage and Memory Politics" and sub-theme III "Ethnic History and Memory Politics" combined with the Asia Pacific/Cultural Research Center of National Tsinghwa University to jointly organize the "Dialogue on Memory Politics: Regeneration of Historical Sites" workshop (2019.05.31), "Taiwan’s Contemporary Memory Politics" workshop (2020.01.09), and co-organized the "Reconstructing History Scene" workshop (2020.04.24) in conjunction with Subproject Five. ICCS researchers Wen-Shu Lai and Desmond Sham, and NTHU’s Asia Pacific / The Cultural Research Center Ching-Wen Hsu and Fang-Jay Jung served as reporters, and Subproject I’s Shu-Chin Liu, Ming-Chun Ku, Huang Shaw- Herng, and Jui-Hua Chen served as commentators. The four papers made into a special journal issue “Regeneration of Historic Sites" and are currently under review.


Plans for 2021-2022
The two main tasks for Subproject I for 2021-2022: 1. Completion of the edited volume and publication of the book "Literary Debates and the Politics of Memory: Toward an Inter-Asian Perspective”; 2. A workshop to be organized on "The Dialogue on Memory Politics".


1. Completion of the edited volume and publication of the book "Literary Debates and the Politics of Memory: Toward an Inter-Asian Perspective” Subproject I held an international conference on "Literature Debates and Memory Politics: Toward an Inter-Asian Perspectives” in 2019. Eight researchers from the subproject participated in the organization and invited scholars from Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia to participate in keynote speeches or paper presentations. Other than the four conference papers that had been published in the special theme section of the "Cultural Studies" journal, the remaining papers are being edited and are expected to be published in 2022. In the Sinophone world, there have been many research results in the literary debates on Nativist Literature. Research papers on National and People’s (Minjok-Minjung) Literature in Korea, Debate on National (Kokumin) Literature in Japan, and Debates of Malaysian Chinese/Sinophone (Mahua) Literature have also been published or translated into Chinese. Yet never before had these literary debates across different parts of Asia been assembled and discussed together. We hope to use Inter-Asia as a reference perspective and put these literary debates on the same platform, so as to explore another way of understanding literary debates and even post-war East Asia and Southeast Asia.


2. Holding a workshop on "The Dialogue on Memory Politics" Through holding workshops to promote research dialogue among colleagues, we continue to explore the performance and role of memory politics in Taiwan, East Asia and Southeast Asia. Following the discussions of sub-theme II “Cultural Heritage and
Memory Politics" and sub-theme III "Ethnic History and Memory Politics,” we will focus our discussion on the memory project promoted through the form of cultural policies, and explore what craft of governance these policies demonstrate. What kind of cultural logic and political rationality does it reflect? What kind of social effect has it produced?
      * Dis/Re-located people’s war experiences and the postwar politics of memory—Cho-Ying Li, Institute of History, National Tsing- Hua University

* Empire of Hygiene and the Popularization Movement of Science: From Late Qing to the Republic of China (1873-1945)—Yuehtsen Juliette Chung, Institute of History, National Tsing- Hua University

* Sinology and the Political Thoughts of Modern East Asia: Nationalism and the World Order—Hung-Yueh Lan, Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University

* Study Abroad in the Motherland: Taiwanese Literary Youths in the Left-wing Cultural Corridor (1920-1937)—Shu-Chin, Liu, Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing- Hua University

* Narrating The 1970s: Literary Debates, Everyday Life, and Politics of Memory—Chih-Ming Wang, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

* Class That Matters: Colonial Economy, Empire Culture and the Critical Perspective of Taiwanese Nativist Literature—Elliott Shr-tzung Shie, Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing- Hua University

* Cultural governance and the Politics of Memory in Heritagization of Popular religions— Ming-Chun, Gu, Institute of Sociology, National Tsing- Hua University


* Classifying Historical Memories: A Political-Economic Analysis of the World Heritage Application and the National Identity Construction in Southeast Asian Countries— Shaw-Herng Huang, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Chiao Tung University

* Cultural Politics in the Representation of Migration: A Comparative Study of Migration Museums in Different Countries in the Global World—Jui-Hua Chen, Institute of Sociology, National Tsing- Hua University



* The History Problem, Politics of Memory and Heritage-Making, and the Road Toward Reconciliation in Asia: Perspectives from the Peripheries of Empires—Desmond Hok-Man SHAM, IACS, National Chiao Tung University


* Here and Now at Malaya: Revisiting the 1948 Debate on the Uniqueness of Chinese Malayan literature—SHOW Ying Xin, Postdoctoral Researcher,
The Australian National University, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific


* On National Economics and the Essays of Park Hyun-chae: Using Nativist Literature Debate in Taiwan as a Referent Point—YEON Gwang Seok, Researcher, National Chiao Tung University Asia-Pacific Cultural Studies


* The Negative of an Era: A Study in Narratives by and about Chen Yingzhen—Yu-Wen SUNG, Department of Chinese Literature, National Central University

* The Associate of "Love" : Tongxingai and Socialism—Tsai Meng-Che, IACS, National Chiao Tung University