Eliana Ritts

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York U.

Grant number

Gr. 9841

Approve Date

April 30, 2019

Project Title

Ritts, Eliana (New York U.) "Broadcasting Indigenous Futures: Contested Sovereignties at Taiwan Indigenous Television"

My research offers the first ethnographic study of Taiwan Indigenous Television, the mainstream media network for Taiwan’s diverse Austronesian Indigenous groups. As a publicly-funded station, TITV constantly negotiates the paradox between its reliance on the state and its commitment to Taiwan’s Indigenous communities. In recent years, this negotiation has become increasingly challenging, as an emergent Indigenous sovereignty movement pressures the state to support Indigenous self-determination and provide justice for centuries of land, language, and culture loss under colonial regimes. My study situates TITV in the context of Taiwan’s growing Indigenous sovereignty movements. How does TITV negotiate the incredible diversity of Indigenous politics and cultures across the island? How does the station produce Indigenous sovereignties through programming and everyday production practices, and how might the station’s dependence on state funding restrict the sovereignties it is able to represent? I explore these questions through participant-observation and interviews with TITV production teams, Indigenous Taiwanese activist groups, and local Indigenous media producers around Taiwan. By approaching political and televisual representations of Indigeneity from different perspectives, I aim to position TITV within Taiwan’s Indigenous media worlds and examine how the station works to produce contemporary and future Indigenous sovereignties.