Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror, edited by Ian Rowen, has just been published.
This book is part of the Cambria Literature in Taiwan Series, headed by Professor Nikky Lin (National Taiwan Normal University), a collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the National Human Rights Museum, and National Taiwan Normal University.
Paperback (ISBN: 9781621966975) $32.99 • 290pp. • E-book editions start at $19.99—Order from Cambria Press.
Taiwan’s peaceful, democratic society is built upon decades of authoritarian state violence with which it is still coming to terms. At the close of World War II in 1945, after fifty years of Japanese colonization, Taiwan was occupied by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The party massacred thousands of Taiwanese while it established a military dictatorship on the island with the tacit support of the United States.
Although early episodes of state violence (such as the 228 Incident in 1947) and post-1980s democratization in Taiwan have received a significant amount of literary and scholarly attention, relatively less has been written or translated about the four-decade period known as the White Terror, which began right after the 228 Incident and continued until the end of martial law in 1987. The White Terror was aimed at eliminating alleged proponents of Taiwanese independence as well as supposed communist collaborators, and it wiped out an entire generation of intellectuals. Both native-born Taiwanese as well as mainland Chinese exiles were subject to imprisonment, torture, and execution. During this time, the KMT institutionally favored mainland Chinese over native-born Taiwanese and reserved most military, educational, and police positions for the former. Taiwanese were forcibly “reeducated” as Chinese subjects. China-centric national history curricula, forced Mandarin-language pedagogy and media, and the renaming of streets and public spaces after places in China further enforced a representational regime of Chineseness to legitimize the KMT’s authority.
Taiwan’s contemporary commitment to transitional justice and democracy hinges on this history of violence, for which this volume provides a literary treatment as essential as it is varied. This is among the first collections of stories to comprehensively address the social, political, and economic aspects of the White Terror and to do so with deep attention to its transnational character. Featuring contributions from some of Taiwan’s most celebrated authors and from genres that range between realism, satire, and allegory, this book examines the modes and mechanisms of the White Terror and party-state exploitation in prisons, farming villages, slums, military bases, and professional communities.
Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror is an important book for Taiwan studies, Asian Studies, literature, and social justice collections.
This book is part of the Cambria Literature in Taiwan Series, in collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the National Human Rights Museum, and National Taiwan Normal University.
Table of contents:
Introduction (Ian Rowen)
- “Long, Long Ago There was an Urashima Taro” by Chu Tien-hsin (translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt)
- “The Taste of Apples” by Huang Chun-ming (translated by Howard Goldblatt)
- “Rice Diary” by Sung Tse-lai (translated by Ian Rowen)
- “Dixson’s Idioms” by Huang Chong-kai (translated by Brian Skerratt)
- “Disappearing Manhood” by Wu Chin-fa (translated by Chris Wen-chao Li)
- “Beef Noodles” by Li Ang (translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin)
- “My Second Brother, the Deserter” by Wu He (translated by Terence Russell)
About the Editor and Translators