Looking through Taiwan: American Anthropologists' Collusion by Keelung Hong

By Keelung Hong

Anthropologists have lengthy sought to extricate their paintings from the regulations and agendas of these who dominate—and usually oppress—their local matters. searching through Taiwan is an uncompromising examine a troubling bankruptcy in American anthropology that unearths what occurs while anthropologists fail to make basic ethnic and political differences of their paintings. Keelung Hong and Stephen O. Murray study how Taiwanese realities were represented—and misrepresented—in American social technology literature, particularly anthropology, within the post–World struggle II interval. They hint anthropologists’ complicity within the domination of a Taiwanese majority via a chinese language minority and in its obfuscation of social realities. At the bottom of those distortions, the authors argue, have been the mutual pursuits of the Republic of China’s army govt and American social scientists in mischaracterizing Taiwan as consultant of conventional chinese language tradition. American anthropologists, desirous to examine China yet denied entry by way of its communist executive, became as a substitute to fieldwork at the Republic of China’s society, which they incorrectly and disingenuously interpreted to mirror conventional chinese language society at the mainland. Anthropologists ignored the cultural and old changes among the island and the mainland and successfully legitimized the People’s Republic of China’s declare on Taiwan. searching through Taiwan is a strong critique of yank anthropology and a important reminder of the political and moral implications of social technological know-how learn and writing. (20070501)

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Extra resources for Looking through Taiwan: American Anthropologists' Collusion with Ethnic Domination (Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology)

Sample text

Even after the lifting of martial law in 1987, the kmt government treated advocacy of independence for Taiwan as sedition. 0pt P ——— Normal P PgEnds: [29], (5) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Whether the only army of occupation from World War II still holding power when Lai et al. wrote should have been able to define sedition (or, indeed, to define law in general) is a question with a moral dimension that they ignored.

It was Dutch colonists who sponsored the first large-scale migration from southern China to Taiwan in the early seventeenth century. Contrary to the kmt myth (given American currency by anthropologist Stevan Harrell) that Taiwan was settled by Ming loyalists after the Ming Dynasty fell, early settlers violated the Ming ban on overseas travel—cutting themselves off from the most distinctive feature of “Chinese culture,” the lineage organizations on the mainland—and intermarried with the aboriginal (Austronesian) population already on Taiwan (Su 1986:13).

Rather than the tragedy being the jettisoning of the principle of selfdetermination supposedly maintained by the United States, the tragedy conjured by Lai et al. was the failure of Taiwanese to appreciate the frustrations and travails of the army of occupation allocated to them and that, rather than appreciating the systematic looting of the island, Taiwanese were instead dismayed by roc corruption, incompetence, and brutality. “The tragedy was a reflection of China’s struggles in the 1940s to turn itself from a traditional society into a modern one, with an efficient democratic government,” according to Lai et al.

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