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Historical Construction in The Path Towards "Civilization"

Lectures and Speeches
Ying-kuei HUANG (National Tsing Hua University)

In my three- volume ethnography of the Taketonpu people, "The Path Towards "Civilization" ("Wenming "zhi lu)", I divide the last century of Taiwan's history into three periods: Japanese colonialism, government by the Nationalist Party (KMT), and governance under the neoliberal order. The distinctiveness of this third period, detailed in my third volume, has not yet been widely accepted in mainstream Taiwanese society. This may be understandable, though, because the effective recognition of a period's existence can be achieved only after a long process involving an ongoing dialectic between a grasp of the overall socio- cultural situation and historical processes, historical consciousness, the native's subjective cultural perspective, a comparative perspective on the whole of human society and culture, and insights gained from literary sources. As such, the goal of this work is not only to represent a unique local history, but also to reflect on general historical trends in Taiwan over the past century as well as general global trends. In this sense, it is both micro- history and macro- history. The work also represents an anthropologist's effort to use a case study to condense the historical process "towards civilization" in a specific period.

Journal of History and Anthropology