Book Launch of Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan

Key information

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Speaker: A-chin Hsiau
This session will be held using Microsoft Teams. Click the LINK to join.

Book synopsis:

After about a decade of Kuomintang (KMT) authoritarian rule in the 1950s, Taiwan’s economy took off. During the 1960s, the martial law system thwarted any significant challenge to the KMT, whether political or cultural. But the series of major diplomatic setbacks at the beginning of the 1970s posed a serious challenge to KMT rule and to the claim that the Republic of China (ROC) was in exile. The unprecedentedly difficult international situation triggered domestic dissent and activism in politics and culture informed by ideals of “return-to-reality” and “return-to-native-soil.” These developments transformed society, politics, and culture, in ways that continue to be felt. The decade deserves to be called the “Axial Age” in postwar Taiwanese history. In openly challenging the status quo, the return-to-reality generation was the main agent of “de-exilic” cultural politics in the 1970s. Despite their Chinese identity and embrace of the Chinese nationalist narrative of history as an interpretative framework, local Taiwanese members of this younger generation were particularly active in bringing to light Taiwanese historical, social, and cultural particularities that were previously neglected or suppressed. In doing so, they helped to create a matrix within which politics and culture could be reoriented in a “Taiwan turn.” Their politico-cultural activism and explorations of Taiwan’s past paved the way for political and cultural indigenization and Taiwanese nationalism in the 1980s and subsequent decades.

Speaker's Bio:

A-chin Hsiau is a research fellow and professor at the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He works in the areas of nationalism, ethnicity, generation, collective memory, historical narrative, and Taiwanese literature. He is the author of Contemporary Taiwanese Cultural Nationalism (London: Routledge, 2000), Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan: Youth, Narrative, Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2021), Return to Reality: Political and Cultural Change in 1970s Taiwan and the Postwar Generation (in Chinese, 2nd edition, Taipei: Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, 2010), and Reconstructing Taiwan: Contemporary Cultural Politics of Nationalism (in Chinese, Taipei: Linking Publishing, 2012). He is also the co-editor of Cultural, Ethnic, and Political Nationalism in Contemporary Taiwan: Bentuhua (with John Makeham, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Ethnicity, Nation, and the Modern State: Rethinking Theory and Experience in Taiwan and China (with Horng-luen Wang, in Chinese, Taipei: Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, 2016). He is currently researching the relationship between the ocean, fishing village tourism, and national imaginary in Taiwan and the role of Taiwan’s civil-society actors in the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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