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Monday Lecture Series: History is a Green Island: Memory Practices in Post-Authoritarian Taiwan


Date: Monday 18 October 2021

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Welcome an open lecture by Dr. Serena de Marchi, National Taiwan Normal University.

Monday Lecture Series: Taiwan Literature and Culture in Focus
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History is a Green Island: Memory Practices in Post-Authoritarian Taiwan

Green Island (Lüdao 綠島) is a small volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan. Today it is a popular tourist destination, but during the Kuomintang’s authoritarian rule – a period known as White Terror – the island served as a penal colony for political prisoners who opposed the regime. In 2001, as part of Taiwan’s democratization process, the prison facility was turned into a memorial park, and starting from 2019, the National Human Rights Museum has been hosting the yearly “Green Island Human Rights Arts Festival,” that showcases a number of Taiwanese and international artists reflecting on this traumatic part of Taiwan’s history through visual and performing arts.

To further testify to the unwavering relevance this issue has in contemporary Taiwanese society, the same museum has also supported the publication, in 2020, of a four-volume collection – edited by Hu Shu-wen and Tong Wei-ge – that brings together a selection of literary works that re-elaborate personal and collective experiences of the White Terror. Let the Past Become this Moment includes contributions by renowned Taiwanese authors such as Huang Chun-ming, Zhu Tianxin, Li Ang, Walis Nokan, as well as talented younger generation writers like Huang Chong-kai.
Taking Green Island as an actual and symbolic entry point, in this talk I will explore and compare multiple contemporary artistic reconfigurations – both visual and literary – of Taiwan’s authoritarian past, and reflect on the significance of different memorialization practices.

Serena De Marchi is a postdoctoral visiting researcher at National Taiwan Normal University, as a Taiwan Fellow. She holds a PhD from Stockholm University and her research interests include contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese fiction, prison writing, memory, and embodiment in literature.

The Monday Lecture Series: Taiwan Literature and Culture in Focus is curated by Prof. Irmy Schweiger, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies. This lecture series has been made possible with the generous support provided by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan and the kind support from Taipei Mission, Stockholm.