Waiting for a Native Theory?: Taiwan on the Fault Lines of Postcolonialism/Postmodernism
Professor Li-Chun Hsiao explores the prospect for a native theory emerging from Taiwan and the epistemological issues related to the commonplace conception of “theory” as exclusively EuroAmerican, hence unthinkable if characterized as “native.”
To this end, this lecture critically reflects on the complicated process of the introduction, dissemination, and appropriations of postmodernism and postcolonialism in the early years of post-martial law Taiwan (circa 1987-95), focusing particularly on a series of debates on these two schools of Western theory and national identity in Taiwan.
These “fault lines of theories” are to be examined not only in terms of the contents of the imported theoretical paradigms, but in light of the “style(s) of thought” or “method(s)” of the local discourses, which, if characterized as postmodern and/or postcolonial, are at once grounded in Taiwan’s historical-social-political conditions and triggered by their source theories.
Based on this genealogical reconstruction of rooted and routed theories, the call here for a native theory rests not so much on the “what” of such theory as on the necessity to think “outside the toolbox” for staid application and develop context-inflected methods that may engender unforeseen substance of theory
Li-Chun Hsiao is Assistant Professor at National Taiwan University and currently Visiting Scholar at UCLA. As a scholar in comparative literature, he has published articles in international journals on topics ranging across postcolonialism, race, the Caribbean, psychoanalysis, and the (in)human. One of his ongoing projects is on the vocal culture and collective memory in Taiwan.
This event is co-sponsored by the "Cultures in Transnational Perspective" Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Humanities
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies
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