Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCornell U.
Grant numberGr. 10428
Approve DateOctober 11, 2022
Project TitleLiang, Yu (Cornell U.) "Being indigenous or being native? Politics of history and national reconciliation in settler colonial Taiwan"
My project examines how a wide cast of actors associated with the recently established Indigenous Transitional Justice Committee in Taiwan (The Committee) define and contest the concept of indigeneity as they seek state recognition and reconciliation. “National reconciliation” is a process of political negotiation and historical reckoning between the state and formerly oppressed people occurring in numerous post-authoritarian states or countries with colonial past across the globe. Following a recent presidential apology, the Taiwanese government officially established The Committee as a way of according formal recognition to Taiwanese indigenous peoples, defined as non-Han ethnic minorities who speak Austronesian languages. Descendants of Chinese settlers, however, who migrated to Taiwan in the 18th century, have contested these claims by noting that they, too, are victims of imperial Japanese colonization and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s authoritative rule. By demonstrating an East-to-East, South-to-South form of colonialism, this ethnographic research explores how historical narratives of colonialism and political confrontation animate diverse claims to indigeneity in contemporary Taiwan, and unfold the contested notions of justice and reconciliation. My research will thereby contribute to anthropological scholarship on settler colonialism, indigeneity, and politics of reconciliation.