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Digital lecture: Taiwanese Documentary Film between Atrocity and Hope


Date: Monday 19 September 2022

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Location: Zoom

Welcome to a lecture by Prof. Dr. Lawrence Z. Yang, National Yang Ming-Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. The lecture is part of the Digital lecture series - TAIWAN’s literary and visual cultures.

Zoom ID:

Unearthing the Future Past: Taiwanese Documentary Film between Atrocity and Hope

Despite its relatively marginal status in terms of industrial scale and international recognition, documentary film has been crucial to the understanding of modern Taiwan. The distinctive art form not only portrays the island state’s tortuous transformation from a tropical colony, cold war frontier, to a full-blown democracy with global economic outreach, but allowed filmmakers to negotiate with the historical monstrosity that still haunts the nation's troubled present. Contextualizing the four films selected for this series against Taiwan’s emerging movements of environmentalism, judicial reform, indigenous renaissance, and decolonization, the talk will highlight how the documentary film form has evolved from propaganda weapon into a powerful artistic medium with which Taiwan’s civil society envision its future beyond military exigency and developmental imperatives.         

Dr. Lawrence Z. Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Yang Ming-Chiao Tung University. Previously a Research Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, Yang received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Chinese literature, film and media studies. His research focuses on propaganda media industries in modern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with a broader research scope covering war and militarism, theories of materialism, and the intersecting industrial-technological histories of cinema, architecture, and urban space. He is currently completing a book manuscript titled Speculative Statecraft: Logistical Media and the Culture of Chinese Cold War.

Spotlight Taiwan 2022