SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

“Mirimiringan” and “Taucikel”: Historical Genres and Political Struggle among the Austronesian-speaking Paiwan in southern Taiwan'

Ku Kun-hui
Prof. Ku Kun-hui

Date: 5 March 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 5 March 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116

Type of Event: Seminar

This talk comes from a paper that examines the Paiwan political dynamics which involves status competition between house members of La Gaguligul and La Kazangilan regarding their claim to the chiefly house/house name “La Mavaliu” and struggle for community leadership in Piuma. I analyze the political dynamics by examining the competing interpretations of the past through strategic use of mirimirngan and taucikl (two different historical genres/narratives) in different contexts. Particularly, I will examine the cultural idioms adopted by different parties to further their claims, such as origin or beginning of time (vinqacan) and the associated concepts of life (nasi), blood (djamuq) and names (ngadan) as opposed to the idiom of settlement (qinalan).
I argue that these two genres are complementary in understanding different aspects of Piuma past yet they are opposing to each other in terms of how they are used in contemporary Piuma political struggle.  The past might be a scarce resource but the cultural criteria used to assess these historical evidences are not.


Kun-hui Ku, Associate Professor at the Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University and currently a visiting Scholar at Cambridge University. She teaches Austronesian Studies at NTHU and has done extensive research among Austronesian-speakers in Taiwan since late 1980s and recently has also extended the area to island Southeast Asia. Her research interests include religion and modernity, material and symbolic cultures, historical anthropology and legal anthropology.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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