SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Accountability and Redemption: Cinematic Representation of Atrocity in Taiwan

Sylvia Li-chun Lin
Sylvia Li-chun Lin

Date: 29 July 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 29 July 2014Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Special Lecture


In the heyday of anti-Communist hysteria in Taiwan ruled by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government, an estimated twenty thousand people suspected of subverting the government were tried in secret military courts and tortured into confessing crimes they never committed. Some were summarily executed and hastily buried, without notifying the families. After the lifting of martial law (1987), the people in Taiwan finally were free to reflect upon this ignoble period, the White Terror Era, with fiction writers and filmmakers recreating this dark page of their country’s past.

Wan Ren’s Super Citizen Ko explores the functions of memory and its cinematic re-creation in the form of flashback. The indictment of government thought police, which was a hallmark of the White Terror, comes through most powerfully when the public and the private clash, when one’s passion for the future of one’s country results in eighteen years of imprisonment and a broken family. With its cinematic subject and techniques, this film raises such issues as accountability, responsibility, and recovery from trauma, all of which have been de-emphasized in Taiwan’s search for truth and reconciliation.

Recording of the event

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Accountability and Redemption: Cinematic Representation of Atrocity in Taiwan - 29 July 2014


Speaker's Bio

Sylvia Li-chun Lin received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She recently resigned, to be a full-time writer and translator, from the University of Notre Dame, where she was Associate Professor of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. A scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, she has been awarded scholarships from various organizations and published scholarly works in different venues, including a single author book, Representing Atrocity in Taiwan: The 2/28 Inci¬dent and White Terror in Taiwan (Columbia University Press, 2007), a co-edited volume, Documenting Taiwan on Film: Issues and Methods in New Documentaries (Routledge, 2012). She has translated over two dozen short stories and co-translated with Howard Goldblatt several novels by authors from Taiwan and China, two of which were award-winners--Chu Tian-wen’s Note  of a Desolate Man (Translation of the Year 1999, American Literary Translators Association), and Bi Feiyu’s Three Sisters (Man Asia Literary Prize, 2011).

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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