2020-2021 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group, Center for Chinese Studies,
P.A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
are pleased to present
COLONIALISM AND NATIONALISM IN TAIWAN MUSEUMS:
The National Taiwan Museum, the National History Museum
and the Taiwan National Museum
Yanqi Wei, Ph.D. Candidate
Minzu University of China, Beijing
Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley
Friday, November 20, 4PM-6PM
Zoom Link [click here to enter webinar]
Museums are part of the public cultural sphere, places to preserve "memories", but"memories" are also constructed by museums. Museums are not only spaces for studying, collecting and displaying cultural objects, but also for shaping the collective social memory and identity. In 1908 the Japanese Empire established the "Taiwan Governor's Mansion Museum" known today as the National Taiwan Museum. In order to reinforce the legitimacy of the Japanese colonial government, this displaced the previous "Tianhou Palace" museum featuring Qing Dynasty folk beliefs. After Japan's defeat in 1945, Taiwan was returned to the Chinese KMT (Kuomintang) regime. The museum was rededicated to eliminating the "proof of Japanese presence" by reinforcing the imagination of "Motherland (China)" through the reorganization, elimination or renaming of the displays. In 1949, the CCP founded the People's Republic of China (PRC) eventually becoming recognized as the representative state of China, whereas the KMT insisted on remaining the "Republic of China" as a state in Taiwan. In 1956, the KMT established the National History Museum to show its legitimacy and the orthodoxy of China. While the PRC and the ROC were competing for sovereignty over Taiwan, the nationalist Taiwan Independence Movement forged a third claim, to be a nation-state with no connection to China. They backed the formation of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) in 1986 and became the major opposition party. The election of DPP-nominated President of the ROC in 2000 marked a historical watershed, shifting the momentum to ROC nation-building. In order to construct a historical view based on Taiwan identity, a new museum named the National History Taiwan Museum was established in 2011. This research attempts to analyze how different regimes used display strategies to achieve the replacement of collective memories and shape new identities.
Yanqi Wei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ethnology and Sociology at the Minzu University of China, Beijing, and she is a visiting scholar at in the Departments of Art History and Anthropology at UC, Berkeley in 2019-2021, specializing in Museum anthropology and Cultural anthropology. She majored in ethnology for her BA at South Central Minzu University, Wuhan, and was awarded an MA in ethnology at Southwest University, Chongqing.
Her PhD dissertation project is based on narratives of space and power relationships in China Revolution Memorial Halls ("Red Tourism"); her field work was undertaken in Tibetan and Chiang ethnic areas of Sichuan Province. But she has also carried out important research on "Chinese Identity and Memory in Taiwan" in an original study of the major "national" museums in Taipei since the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century. That is what she is going to talk to us about today.