Taiwan and its memory spaces: particularism and attachment to community
This seminar will chart the different stages of an identity affirmation process expressed in Taiwan by what we might call “Formosan tropism”. Indeed, we will try to identify the historical and cultural framework within which an increasingly assertive and insular identity with regards to China was formed and advocated. While observing these identity mutations in light of the debates that continue to accompany them, we will also chart the memorial foundations by exploring memory spaces in Taiwan itself. We will focus just as closely on places linked to the Republic of China, and thus relating to the trajectory of the Chinese mainland, as to those places specific to Taiwan’s own historical and cultural experience.Our studies will deal with concrete, material and geographically located objects, but also with more abstract and diffuse incarnations of memory, such as political symbols, the terms and names for public and private spaces, figures from local and national history, the formulation of narratives, etc.
The seminar will call for the use of primary and secondary written sources in French, Chinese and English. It will also be an opportunity to project video footage, as well as fiction and documentary films connected with the theme of identity and memory.
This year, the seminar will deal more specifically with concurrent readings and interpretations of the past. In particular, we will question the significance of the Sino-Japanese War and the figure of Chiang Kai-shek in today’s collective memory.
From school textbooks to the evolution of historiography, via the analysis of various remembrance policies, we will attempt to follow the evolution of a relationship to the past which tells us as much about the changes specific to Taiwanese society, as to its position towards the memory transformations taking place across the strait, that is in contemporary Chinese society.