SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Becoming Sinophone: Literary Representations of “Mainlanders” in Taiwan

Dr Phyllis Huang

Date: 6 July 2020Time: 11:00 AM

Finishes: 6 July 2020Time: 12:30 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Summer School

As part of the 2020 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend.

This event will be held online through Blackboard Collaborate.

*Please be aware that all Summer School event times follow British Summer Time (BST)


This book examines literary representations of Chinese civil war migrants and their descendants in Taiwan, a group referred to as “mainlanders” (waishengren). Delving into eight literary works published from 1982 to 2011 by second-generation mainlander writers, which all focus on the theme of mainlanders’ relations to “China”, this monograph explores how the literary narratives of mainlander identity reflect mainlanders’ changing attitude towards the concepts of “China” and “Chineseness”.

Drawing upon theories of Sinophone Studies and memory studies, this book argues that during the three decades in which Taiwan marched away from the Kuomintang’s authoritarian rule to a democratic society, mainlander identity was narrated as in transformation from a diasporic Chinese identity to a more fluid and elusive Sinophone identity. Characterised by the features of cultural hybridity and emotional in-betweenness, mainlander identity in these works contests the existing Sinocentric discourse of Chineseness.

In this talk, Phyllis will share her motivation for writing the book, discuss the role of second-generation mainlander writings in Taiwanese Literature, and explain the importance of seeing “mainlanders” as a migrant group who has gradually “Taiwanised” in the host land.


Phyllis Huang Profile

Phyllis Yu-ting Huang received a PhD in English Literary Studies from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in Chinese Studies from Monash University. She was awarded Taiwan Fellowship in 2020. Phyllis teaches Taiwan-related topics at Asia Institute, the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include ‘Chineseness’ in contemporary Chinese and Sinophone literature, and cinematic and literary representations of cross-Strait relations.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: