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Digital lecture: Writing Back Across the Pacific: Taiwanese American Writer Shawna Yang Ryan


Date: Monday 7 November 2022

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Location: Zoom

Welcome to a lecture by Prof. Dr. Irmy Schweiger, Stockholm University. The lecture is part of the Digital lecture series - TAIWAN’s literary and visual cultures.

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Green Island books

Writing Back Across the Pacific: Taiwanese American Writer Shawna Yang Ryan

This lecture will discuss Taiwanese American writer Shawna Yang Ryan and her literary work Green Island (2016), which centers around the 28 February 1947 Incident. The 2/28 Incident and its bloody follow-up, the White Terror era, have come to acquire the status of the ‘national trauma of Taiwan’ and consequently the foundational metaphor of Taiwanese nativist identity. As ‘impact event’ 2/28 is charged with perceptual patters that share at least three common features: a national trauma that shattered the material and symbolic world, a forced collective amnesia and, a history of betrayal and abandonment. Green Island employs family history to interact with these cultural patterns by reconfiguring the traumatic experiences of the generation of witnesses/ victims from a transgenerational and transnational perspective. As an ideology-oriented narrative Green Island formulates ethical concerns and builds a future-oriented historical consciousness, but it also generates a transpacific space from which the formation of Taiwanese American identity can be negotiated against the background of trans/national history.

Irmy Schweiger

Irmy Schweiger (Ph.D. Heidelberg) is professor of Chinese Literature and Culture at the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University. Her research interests are situated in the realm of modern and contemporary literature of China and Taiwan, including historical trauma and cultural memory, the future of memories, literature as counter narrative to official discourse, cultures in contact.

Spotlight Taiwan 2022