2011.05.02 and 2011.05.03 Public Lectures by Dr. Shih Fang-Long

Posted on Apr, 27 2011

Dr. Shih Fang-Long from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, will hold two public lectures. The first lecture, entitled "Area Studies and Comparative Perspective: Theorizing Connectivity" will take place in on Monday, May 2nd, 6 to 8 pm. The following day, Tuesday 3rd, 6 to 8 pm Dr. Shih will talk on "Social Memory and Political Trauma: Recognizing the Subject"

"Area Studies and Comparative Perspective: Theorizing Connectivity":

In this first lecture, Dr Fang-long Shih begins by highlighting problems with the insular methodology of area studies. In relation to Taiwan, area studies have typically focused either on Taiwan as part of a greater China or on Taiwan as a nation, and both approaches isolate Taiwan from other contexts. Shih argues that it is more fruitful to consider places in relation to connections, rather than as imagined as regions or nations, etc. It is connections that are constitutive of places, not the other way around. Shih then moves on to demonstrate the advantages of a comparative approach: it contextualizes the processes of modernization and globalization through cross-disciplinary studies of significant issues that use Taiwan as a point of comparison. As an example, Shih explores Taiwan Studies in comparison with Irish Studies: both Taiwan and Ireland are small islands adjacent to large powers with which they have had a complex history. This approach seeks to stimulate new interactions between places by developing new scope for dialogue and for understanding situations of human connectedness.

"Social Memory and Political Trauma: Recognizing the Subject":

In this second lecture, Dr Fang-long Shih examines the issue of memory in relation to political trauma. She begins by referencing theories of memory: memory is not merely a matter of individual recall but is inherently social, conveyed by collective performances and also materialized in language. Following this, Shih provides two empirical case studies: the first concerns the White Terror trauma in Taiwan from the early 1950s to the present, while the second considers trauma relating to the Jewish Holocaust. Shih examines both case studies in terms of social memory, analyzing how the surviving victims were eventually recognized as subjects, and therefore became capable of speech. Shih then explores how public recognition of the memories of these two traumas has taken shape through political discourses in relation to monuments, museums, and textbooks etc. Shih further explains how these memories have been passed on from one generation to the next, and concludes by comparing some similarities and differences in the social memory of the two cases.

Both lectures will take place in the Department of Chinese and Korean Studies, Wilhelmstr.133, Room 30.