Aliyah Michaela Bixby-Driesen

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10285

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Bixby-Driesen, Aliyah (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Suspended Animation: The Politics of Reading in Taipei“

What is reading such that one can do politics with it? How are reading practices shaped to produce and sustain political life? As tensions between the PRC and ROC continue to escalate, Taiwan’s fraught national status produces equally fraught reading publics, and readers and institutions use reading to negotiate the national and political identity of the island in relation to the PRC and in relation to its own past and future. Different understandings of the political and market potentials of reading motivate institutions to cultivate distinct social spaces for reading, in which text-based interpretive practices mediate social collectivities at various scales. In this context, I look to collective reading events, such as book clubs and author talks, and social reading spaces, such as bookstores and libraries, to ethnographically study how readers make sense of texts, and use those texts to animate orientations towards the world of political action.