Reviews: Guided Tour of Taiwanese History 導讀台灣 台灣史系列 導演魏德聖 三立: Geostrategery and Taiwan Republic 台灣国 classrooms

This history series by Taiwan’s 三立 is a rare public forum for Taiwanese history on Taiwanese mass media. Academic historians can, and will, find something to fuss over history for a mass audience. What is notable about this series is that it provides a rare oasis of thoughtful content in an otherwise content-poor Taiwanese electronic media landscape. It also does an admirable job breaking down politically and historically created barriers in how Taiwanese history has and has not been conceptualized. Nothing in the public discourse in Taiwan can escape the omnipresent national identity-historical memory either/or’s, the “Are we Taiwanese or Chinese or both” debate. This series makes a serious attempt to push across these artificial boundaries – periodization, conceptual categories, national identity as confined by modern nation-states, and so on while placing Taiwan the place, and Taiwanese the ever-evolving communities of humans on this island, at the center. In this effort, it echoes the evolving views developed by newer generations of Taiwanese leaders – pushing farther back into Taiwanese history and pre-history (Dutch, indigenous, Oceania), while broadening beyond the usual characters (Han Chinese, Japanese, China KMT) – and providing new ways to include contradictory and competing historical memories, from indigenous to the Japanese to the disaggregated Taiwanese to the immigrants of 1949 to the even more recent immigrants from Southeast Asia and beyond to the global Taiwanese diaspora, into a dynamic Taiwanese national identity bond together by place and by democracy. I have often noted that for a nation that formally declares such reverence for history, Taiwan is comparatively apathetic to its own history and quick in developing historical amnesia. Any effort, such as this series, to reverse this trend will do much to deepen and enhance Taiwan’s democratic sovereignty.

導讀台灣:台灣史系列 導演魏德聖 每周日20:00 三立新聞台 帶您用鏡頭看台灣

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