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Michael Rudolph - Ethnical growth and ethnical re-classification

The case of the Sakizaya in Taiwan

In 1994, nine Taiwanese indigenous groups were first officially acknowledged. 5 additional groups, namely, the Thao, Kavalan, Taroko, Sakizaya und Seediq, became official during the presidency of Chen Shui-bian (2000 – 2008). Others, especially plains aborigines of the Taiwanese lowlands, were not granted acknowledgement, and the methods of classification have been widely criticized ever after.

This lecture concentrates on the example of the Sakizaya who were officially acknowledged as an ethnic entity in 2007. Supporters made use of international, especially United Nations policies favouring indigenous territorial and political rights to support their application. They proved to be familiar with national and international human rights' and post-colonialism discourses. The lecture introduces the influential, but also elitist movements for ethnical re-classification in Taiwan that are at the same time remote from and not representative for the normal aborigine folk.

Michael Rudolph has studied Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Heidelberg. He is specialized in comparative social and cultural studies with focus on Greater China. After his first research on social problems of ethnic minority workers in Taiwan’s rapidly modernizing Han society (MA thesis, 1993), he conducted research on social movements (Doctoral thesis, 2003), and the dynamics of rituals in Taiwan (Habilitation thesis, 2008).



Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0
Lastupdate: 05.10.2014 - 12:04