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Imaging and Imagining Taiwan: Identity representation and cultural politics

Chang, Bi-yu and Klöter, Henning , eds. (2012) Imaging and Imagining Taiwan: Identity representation and cultural politics. Wiesbaden, Germany : Harrassowitz Verlag . Wiesbaden. (Studia Formosiana, series 8)

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Abstract

Since the 1990s the issue of identity has been one of the most prominent and hotly-debated topics in Taiwan Studies. A rich corpus of literature has been produced in various fields in the attempt to address this problematic issue, examining questions of Taiwanese identity from political, social and cultural perspectives. Imaging and Imagining Taiwan takes a fresh approach to this important topic, examining Taiwanese identity from a visual perspective and exploring the ways in which the island is presented and imagined. In contrast to those studies that seek to address the issue of identity from an essentialist position, Imaging and Imagining Taiwan offers a new contextualization of identity, investigating the ways in which Taiwan has been represented in films, fine art, advertising, sport, and social spaces at different periods in history. Covering a diverse range of topics, the book aims to capture the fluidity, changeability, fragmentation and dynamism of Taiwanese identity as an imaginary and encompassing whole. Through seven case studies the book focuses on the ways in which Taiwan is represented, how this relates to identity politics, and how the island is imaged and imagined visually, socially, and symbolically. The essays comprising this collection are grouped into three sections, each of which focuses on a particular approach to the topic of Taiwanese identity. The first of these —Colonial Representation —deals with colonial subjectivity and traumatic experience. The second, entitled Imaging Difference, examines cultural practices in film, TV advertisements and fine art, and explores the boundaries between the inside and the outside, the difference marked by the process of othering, and the anxiety and alienation of the excluded. The third section—Identity and Place—focuses on the relationship between identity and the social construction of place, and examines the role of place-making in the new Taiwanese nation-building process. Interrogating the complex issue of Taiwanese identity from various standpoints, the seven contributors write from a range of disciplinary backgrounds (Literature, History, Film Studies, Linguistics, Anthropology and Cultural Studies) and geographical contexts (Taiwan, Europe and America). This combination of fresh perspectives and a range of disciplinary approaches offers a set of diverse yet complementary insights into how Taiwan has been envisioned and imagined, and how the Taiwanese have positioned and identified themselves at different times. By combining different themes and disciplinary approaches together in one publication, Imaging and Imagining Taiwan brings both nuance and depth to the discussion of the representation of Taiwanese identity. The book articulates and examines the complexity of identity, avoiding essentialist approaches to the topic, instead illustrating identity's multi-faceted nature and dynamic messiness. Thus, the book argues, the politics of identity is not only a politics of representation, but also a politics of positioning, whereby identity is formulated both by the construction of sameness and the inscription of difference. The interdisciplinary approach adopted by this book makes the discussion of Taiwanese identity of interest to those both studying and working in a range of subject disciplines, not limited to Taiwan Studies, but also in History, Film, Linguistics, Literary Studies, Nationalism Studies, and Urban Studies.

Item Type: Edited Books
Keywords: Taiwanese Culture and arts, visual culture, identity politics,
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media and Film Studies
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Art and Archaeology
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Centre of Taiwan Studies
Legacy Departments > Contemporary China Institute [closed]
Regional Centres > Japan Research Centre
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISBN: 9783447066747
Depositing User: Bi-Yu Chang
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2013 08:22
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/17305

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