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      Exoticizing Japan: Taiwanese Films, Post-Colonialism, and Fictionality in City of London

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      February 2, 2017


      City of London, Westminster WC1H 0XG

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      Exoticizing Japan: Taiwanese Films, Post-Colonialism, and Fictionality

      Speaker: Dr. Carsten Storm

      Date: 2 February 2017Time: 7:00 PM

      Finishes: 2 February 2017Time: 9:00 PM

      Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116

      Type of Event: SeminarAbstract

      This talk starts from a theoretical problem that arises from analyzing the case of Taiwan within the frame-work of post-colonial theory which has been developed based on histories and experiences of Western colonialism and neo-imperialism. Taiwan is a special case in these post-colonial frameworks. One reason among others surely is that Taiwan’s relations towards its former colonizer Japan have been reframed by KMT “colonialism.” Processes of overwriting colonial experience by newer forms of dominance and mar-ginalization have enabled fragmented and hybrid reconstructions of the Japanese occupation that quite differ from many other examples of post-colonial histories.

      Post-colonial theory has developed a general understanding of the aims and practices of literature and film that is produced in de-colonized societies. Important issues are (among others): re-constructing the memories of colonial experiences; writing alternative narratives: probing into, implementing and enforcing strategies of voicing and de-marginalizing; exposing ongoing forms neo-imperial alienation and exploita-tion; uncovering past and present forms of being exotized. A range of the works of Taiwanese literature and film which are constructing images of Japan do fit into this agenda. On the other hand, however, we can witness images of Japan as an exotic place. Especially Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang repeatedly reevaluated the Taiwanese past under Japanese rule and its present under KMT rule and thus probed into notions of Taiwanese identity beyond colonial narratives. Images of Japan are recurring topics in many movies of both directors, i.e. in City of Sadness, A Time to Life, A Time to Die, Millennium Mambo, Café Lumi-ere or Yi yi.

      The paper probes into the chances and difficulties to address these images of Japan through post-colonial theory. I argue that both directors are constructing exotic images of Japan, which in terms of post-colonial theory is problematic. The assumption of ongoing, neo-imperialist hegemonies within post-colonial theory suggests that it should be the former colonizer who establishes and implements exotic images of the formerly colonized, but not the opposite way. Instead, any form of voicing is regarded as being always-already contaminated by hegemonic representations. To meaningfully explain the phenome-non of exoticizing Japan, either post-colonial theory needs to be adopted to the case of Taiwan-Japan or other approaches that counter established post-colonial theory need to be sought for. I will suggest that French notions of exoticism and theories of fictionality might provide an option in this case.Speaker's Bio

      Dr. Carsten Storm is currently professor of sinology at the Department of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern Languages and Cultures at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Cologne specializing on Ming- and Qing-dynasty Chinese crime fiction. Since then he worked on Chinese and Taiwanese literature and film and focusses on issues of identity, notions of globality, locality and spatial and temporal (dis-) continuities, and images of the self and the other. He is especially interested in narrative and aesthetic strategies in creating meaning and coherence as well as their relevant processes of transformation and transmission. Carsten Storm has engaged in Tai-wan Studies for more than a decade.

      Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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      Categories: Education | Film | University & Alumni

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