Forget Chineseness: On the Geopolitics of Cultural Identification

Taiwan Studies Lecture by Allen Chun, Academia Sinica

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Podcast of Taiwan Studies Lecture by Allen Chun, Academia Sinica

Forget Chineseness provides a critical interpretation not only of discourses of Chinese identity—Chineseness—but also of how they have reflected differences between “Chinese” societies, such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, PRC, Singapore and communities “overseas.” It asserts that identity has meaning not only in cultural, representational terms but is moreover a product of its embeddedness in specific entanglements of modernity, colonialism, nation-state formation, and globalization. By articulating these processes underlying institutional practices vis-à-vis public mindsets, it is thus possible to elucidate various epistemic moments that lay the basis for their socio-political transformation.

From a broader perspective, this should have salient ramifications for prevailing discussions of identity politics. Not only has the concept of identity been predicated on flawed notions of ethnicity and culture in the social “sciences,” but it has been acutely exacerbated by polarizing assumptions that drive our understanding of identity “politics.”

Allen Chun is Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan and the author of Unstructuring Chinese Society: The Fictions of Colonial Practice and the Changing Realities of “Land” in the New Territories of Hong Kong.

A volume in the SUNY series in Global Modernity
Arif Dirlik, editor

State University of New York Press

The UCLA Taiwan Studies Lectureship is a joint program of the UCLA Asia Pacific Center and the Dean of Humanities and is made possible with funding from the Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, Ministry of Education, Taiwan, represented by the Education Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.

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Published: Thursday, February 2, 2017