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Ti-Han Chang - Nature, Ecology and Oceanic Imagination

in Relation to Postcolonial Environment and Taiwanese Literature

The lecture proposes to study contemporary Taiwanese postcolonial eco-literature. Colonized successively by the Dutch, the Japanese, and the Republican Chinese, the natural, the socio-political and the socio-economic environments of the island are significantly tied to its colonial and postcolonial experiences. These experiences are not only kept in Taiwanese authors’ memory, but are also recorded or evoked from their literary imagination, notably their imagination of oceans and rivers. The objective of this lecture therefore aims at presenting some contemporary Taiwanese literary works, which examine Taiwan’s postcolonial environment  through creating and articulating literary imagination of its nature and ecology (particularly through the creating of aquatic imagination).

First and foremost, the lecture wishes to draw attention to an overview of postcolonial literature and then it follows an explanation of how literary writings of ecology and environment have come to be intertwined with postcolonial literature. The literary examples provided in the lecture are limited to the genres of novel and sanwen 散文 (essays) — namely, the works of Wu Ming-yi 吳明益, Sayman Rangpongan 夏曼藍波安, and Fang hui-zen 房慧珍. What is in common among these authors’ works is their artistic elaboration of the aquatic imagination which is tied to the colonial and postcolonial memories. 

Overall, the lecture will be presented in such order: (1) a brief introduction of the Taiwanese postcolonial environment and its historical progression in relation to the development of Taiwanese literature; (2) an analysis of the relationship between postcolonial literature and ecological writings in a global literature context; (3) a presentation on recent transformation of Taiwanese literature (nominally, its growing interest and gradual attachment to creative ecological writings). (4) a detailed textual analysis of some selected works of the authors mentioned above, particularly in regard to the aspect of oceanic imagination.

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: 21.03.2015 - 00:36