Imagining Taiwaneseness through history: The reworking of narrative in general histories of Taiwan

Chung-chun Ni, University of Pennsylvania


Both in definition and approach this dissertation is enlightened by Benedict Anderson who regards the nation as an imagined community and believes that the convergence of capitalism and print technology on the fatal diversity of human language created the possibility of a new form of imagined community. Thinking of that the texts of historical narrations should be also available examples of print-capital and are usually far more influential in the process of nation-making in formerly Chinese communities, this dissertation focuses on some representative texts of Taiwanese general history and concentrates on the ethnic imaginations behind the contexts of those the narrations of Taiwanese history. The development of the Taiwanese historiography of Taiwanese history was a process of whereby Taiwanese's historians reconstructing deconstructed and then deconstructing reconstructed Chinese orthodox historiography in the historical narrations of Taiweanese history. However, the deconstruction did not eliminate the debate over legitimacy, which is still interpreted to serve various political agendas. Thus, historical narrations are still instrumentalized to serve politics. Through these changing narrations, the Taiwanese recomprehend or redefine both their own identities and their conception of "China." Here are the conclusion: (1) During the process of historiographical transformation, the discourse about legitimacy or orthodox legitimacy is usually the main concern of Taiwanese historical narration. (2) The transformation of Taiwanese subjective identity mirrors Taiwan's evolution from a regional entity to a national entity. (3) The meaning of the term Zhongguo, as used throughout Taiwanese historical texts, changed with time according to political and social conditions. ^

Subject Area

History, Asia, Australia and Oceania

Recommended Citation

Ni, Chung-chun, "Imagining Taiwaneseness through history: The reworking of narrative in general histories of Taiwan" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3309485.