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Modern Taiwanese aboriginal literature and cultural identity

Author: ZhouXiang
Tutor: ZengSiQi
School: Central University for Nationalities
Course: Chinese Ethnic Language and Literature
Keywords: Taiwan aborigines modern literature cultural identities
CLC: I206.7
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 504
Quote: 4
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The dissertation analyzes the Taiwan aboriginal literature from the perspective of cultural identity. The cultural identity is that the individual cognition to the culture which he belongs to and the emotion adheres to. Under the context of the globalization, it is a new method on literature studies to focus and emphasize on the cultural hegemony, cultural status, cultural identity, explanation anxiety, trans-cultural experience, historical memory, difference, margin and minority discourse.Different from Han culture, the dominant one, Taiwan aboriginal literature has its particular background of the ethnic culture of Austronesian ethnic groups. Taiwan aborigines are the earliest exploiters in Taiwan. Since thousands year ago, they have been living there peacefully, inheriting the ancient tribalism traditions, and form their own unique cultural systems separately. The big immigration of Han people from 17 century broke their peaceful living. Taiwan aborigines lost their dominant status gradually after the wars among nationalities and the historical change through more than three hundred years. As the compact of the capitalism commercial economy, the traditional society, not only its tribe structures, religions and believes, but also traditional customs and languages, almost collapsed.Facing to the impact and difference of foreign culture, the Taiwan aboriginal writers, in vulnerable environment, begin to think their own cultural identity, status and social condition: Which group I belong to? How to identify? Which way of thought, speech and language I should to use to express myself? The trace of this cultural identity exploration must be presented in the writers? works. Almost 40 years history of Taiwan modern aboriginal literature can also be regarded as the developing history of cultural identity by Taiwan aborigines. The self-cultural identity recorded in aboriginal literature is the rewriting as the dominant cultural status by Taiwan ethnic groups, they use it to identify their own cultural character and spirit, and the self-cultural identity can be taken as the nationality collective unconscious and the spirit centripetal force.The introduction is about the definition and summary of modern aboriginal literature, introducing the research motive, method of this dissertation and some research trends of modern aboriginal literature.Chapter I discusses the historical background and the representation of the Taiwan aborigine抯cultural identity crisis. It mainly focuses on the big influence on Taiwan aboriginal traditional social systems, cultures and languages, religions and believes the right of naming and the others, by a series of assimilation policies established by Kuomintang after it immigrated to Taiwan. The plainlization is the main one in these policies, which forced the aborigines who live on mountains to change their culture to the one of Han people who lives on plain.Chapter II discusses the practical significance of Taiwan modern aboriginal literature. The creation of journal Gaoshanqing and the establishment of the Association of Taiwan Aboriginal Rights Protection integrate lots of Taiwan ethnic elites. During a series of the resistant movements of Taiwan Aborigines, the intellectuals deepened the Taiwan aboriginal ethnic group identities and cultural identities, and became the self-identity of whole aborigines in Taiwan. The value of both aesthetics and social level were presented in Taiwan aboriginal writers?works.Chapter III discusses the relationship between Taiwan aboriginal literature and cultural identities. Literature plays an important role on constructing the ethnic group cultural identities. What the aboriginal writers faced was the big cultural difference and the cultural impact they never faced. The whole ethnic groups faced a large cultural crisis and the most subordinative status. While the aboriginal writers awoke the indigenous people抯 ethnic group cultural identities, they also faced anxiety of self-identities. Their conflict and choice also presented in their works. Serious cultural self-reflection is the necessary to reconstruct a nationality cultural identity. The aboriginal writers? aim is to reconstruct the dominant culture.Chapter IV discusses the significance and value of aboriginal writers? travel back to tradition and the awaking of nationality cultural identity.Writers, for example, Syman Rapongan, travel back to their tribe on their own initiative. They seek their inspiration of writing in their traditional culture. Some of them try to write in their mother tongue writing system. The writers and scholars who focus on collecting aboriginal oral literature also regard their tribes as their base. And they get abundant harvest. Oral literature also provides them with lots of inspirations.The epilogue is about the thinking and prospect on Taiwan aboriginal literature. In the age of cultural globalization, each traditional culture of an ethnic group faces the challenge, while the writers try to reconstruct their culture as a dominant one, they should not go back to the parochialism of cultural explanation and the nationalism. Moreover, some aboriginal writers overemphasize to write in their own language writing systems, it will be an obstacle for communication and the cultural spread. And, the themes for aboriginal literature should be widened.The appendix is the list for Taiwan aboriginal works.

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