Taiwan Lecture Series - Summer Term 2019

Taiwan Lecture Series 2019: Seeing Taiwan, Thinking Taiwan, Hearing Taiwan — Reflections on Objects, Texts and Sounds from the “Beautiful Island”

Convener: Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler

This year’s Taiwan Lecture Series offers object lessons with objects from Taiwan in the Museum of Ethnology (Seeing Taiwan), a lecture series with renowned LSE Historian Leigh Jenco on colonial Taiwan (Thinking Taiwan), and finally a concert with Taiwan composer Chen Shih-hui and famous Sheng-Player Wu Wei (Hearing Taiwan). Students who would like to take this class for credit will participate in all activities related to the class. They will each analyze and introduce one object, and they will prepare abstracts of the readings for the lecture series and the music workshop. At the end, students will write a seminar paper.

Course Schedule (if a login is required for the readings, use your Uni-ID)

PART 1: Object Lessons—Seeing Taiwan
1. April 24, 11-13 | R.120.01.10
Course Intro (Barbara Mittler) | [show details...][hide details...]
Students will start preparing the primary and secondary readings
2./3. May 23rd , 14-17 VÖLKERKUNDEMUSEUM
Object Lessons I (Barbara Mittler) | [show details...][hide details...]
Students will be taken to the Völkerkundemuseum, they will choose their objects and they will start on their object descriptions
4./5. June 19th 14-17 | R.010.01.05
Object Lessons II (Barbara Mittler) | [show details...][hide details...]
Student introductions to “their” objects with feedback
PART 2: Thinking Taiwan—Text and Discourse
Lecture Series with Leigh JENCO (LSE, London)
Lecture Series: Cosmologies of Difference on the Taiwan Frontier: Chinese Colonial Discourse in Comparative Perspective | [show details...][hide details...]
Taking Taiwan (historically called “Formosa”—beautiful Island) as its focal point, this lecture series situates Chinese discourse about the moral and political status of the island’s inhabitants, particularly its native Austronesian aboriginal peoples, within a comparative framework. By taking into account Dutch and Chinese accounts of colonial enterprise on the island as it evolved from a Eurasian colonial entrepot to a Qing frontier province, I highlight the distinctive philosophical anthropologies brought to bear on discussions of Chinese territorial expansion. The project makes three contributions to broader literature on political theory, the history of empire, Asian intellectual history, and postcolonial studies. First, it situates Chinese “civilizing projects” amid others carried out at various times on Taiwan, including Dutch administrative governance and missionary work in the seventeenth century, as a means of illustrating the specific nature of that oppression. Second, it broadens the study of colonial discourse beyond European political thought to examine how Chinese colonial travellers, philosophers, and administrators grounded distinctive justifications for colonial rule. Finally, it situates China as an agent and not only a victim of imperial aggression, illuminating its historical role in enforcing exploitative power relationships upon disadvantaged cultural groups within its imperial borders.
LECTURE 1: 6.-7. July 22, 10.00-13.00 | R. 010.01.02
Chinese Taxonomies of Difference: Arguing For and Against Territorial Expansion in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Part 1 | [show details...][hide details...]
These first two lectures set the stage for our more particular examination of Taiwan’s colonial history by considering in detail the indices of difference through which Han Chinese literati grounded their arguments for and against Chinese territorial expansion during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1912) dynasties. Most recent historiography has assumed that Chinese colonial discourse follows patterns already identified in its modern European counterpart, specifically in its use of concepts such as race, ethnicity, and culture in defining difference. In contrast, I offer a four-part taxonomy that I argue renders Chinese colonial discourse more accurately in its own terms. The taxonomy might be described as follows: The first “assimilative” view defended colonial expansion as a form of inclusion, in which the imperial center was both normatively required and empirically able to transform ever greater numbers of China’s frontier peoples into proper civilized subjects. Expressed in terms of longstanding Chinese assumptions about the inherent universal tendencies (xing) of human moral development, this argument opposed a second, “exploitative” view in which non-Chinese were seen as sub-human inputs to colonial resource extraction. A third, “materialist” view held that civilized persons possessed different material natures than so-called “barbarians,” and urged the drawing of geographic boundaries between these two populations. Ironically, those separatists who claimed the most radical difference between civilized and barbarian tended to support decolonization policies, urged the protection of aboriginal groups against incursion by Han settlers, and criticized the extension of imperial power beyond the fairly narrow boundaries of the previous Ming dynasty. Their conclusions matched those advanced by holders of a fourth, “contingency” view, who saw non-Chinese barbarians as fully human, yet aligned with historically contingent and culturally relative timelines of development. In this lecture, we examine specifically the discourses associated with the “assimilative” and “exploitative” views. We attend to how xing, human nature, changed conceptually through time, starting from pre-Qin texts such as the Mencius through to their re-emergence in the Tang dynasty, then on to its application to colonial contexts in the late imperial period. How were these assumptions about xing deployed to shore up both state legitimacy and territorial expansion?

Secondary Sources:

  • Teng, Emma. 2006. Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: Chapter 4, “Debating Difference.” [Link]
  • Harrell, Stevan. 1995. “Introduction: Civilizing Projects and the Reaction to Them.” In Cultural Encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers, edited by Stevan Harrell, 3–36. University of Washington Press. (Just pp. 3-20). [Link]

Primary Sources:

  • Mencius, any translation: 2A.6, 6A.2, 6A.6, 6A.7, 6A.8. (An excellent online English translation by Robert Eno is available here)
  • Harrell, Stevan. 1995. “Introduction: Civilizing Projects and the Reaction to Them.” In Cultural Encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers, edited by Stevan Harrell, 3–36. University of Washington Press. (Just pp. 3-20). [Link]
  • Han Yu 韓愈. 1999. “Essentials of the Moral Way.” In Sources of Chinese Tradition, Vol. 1, edited by William Theodore De Bary and Richard John Lufrano. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, pp. 569-574. [Link]
  • Yongzheng, “Great Righteousness Resolving Confusion,” online English translation here
  • Yongzheng 雍正 Emperor of China. 1723. Da yi jue mi lu: si juan (Great Righteousness Resolving Confusion: Four Volumes). 4 juan vols. National Library of China -- Harvard-Yenching Library Chinese rare book digitization project. China: Wu ying dian 武英殿. [Link]

Lecture Video

LECTURE 2: 8.-9. July 22, 14.00-17.00 | R.010.01.02
Chinese Taxonomies of Difference: Arguing For and Against Territorial Expansion in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Part 2 | [show details...][hide details...]
This lecture and reading session continues the work of the first lecture by examining in more detail the tensions of these colonial discourses. Here we focus on some of the adherents of the “materialist/separatist” view, such as the Ming-Qing transition intellectuals Gu Yanwu and Wang Fuzhi. What is the alternative vision of social order they advance, and how is it tied to their critique of Manchu rule? For these separatist views, perceived difference led to indifference toward non-Chinese populations, not their transformation through colonial intervention. In general, the greater the difference claimed to exist between Chinese and non-Chinese, the greater the indifference—and vice-versa. In this lecture, we test this observation by examining the policy suggestions of a well-known frontier general who also happened to become one of the most influential thinkers of the late imperial period: Wang Yangming. Wang’s ideas are of particular interest here because his sophisticated defense of a shared universal human nature (ben xing) appears to contradict comments he makes about the animal natures of the indigenous peoples subject to the pacification campaigns he commandeered in southwestern China in the early sixteenth century. I argue that his seemingly contradictory comments reveal the tensions of the “assimilative” and “materialist” position: specifically, Wang is poised between a commitment to a universal human nature which implies a deeply interventionist civilizing project, on the one hand, and a belief that the non-Han indigenous peoples of the southwest are somehow not quite human and therefore incapable of inclusion within Chinese civilization, on the other. Perhaps not surprisingly, Wang’s pacification campaigns ultimately strengthened a hybrid form of colonial governance shared between indigenous military leaders (tusi) and Chinese civil officials (guan) appointed by the imperial center.

Secondary Sources:

  • Shin, Leo. 2006. “The Last Campaigns of Wang Yangming.” T’oung Pao 92 (1): 101–128. [Link]
  • Crossley, Pamela Kyle. 2002. A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 67-70, 246-253 (all on Wang Fuzhi). [Link]

Primary Sources::

  • Wang, Yangming. 1963. Instructions For Practical Living And Other Neo-Confucian Writing. Translated by Wing-tsit Chan. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 117-124 [Link].
  • “Late Confucian Scholarship: Wang Fuzhi,” in De Bary, Wm. Theodore, and Richard John Lufrano. 2000. Sources of Chinese Tradition Vol. 2: From 1600 through the Twentieth Century. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 26-35 [Link].

Lecture Video:

LECTURE 3: 10.-11. July 23, 10.00-13.00 | R.010.00.01
Chen Di’s Record of Formosa (1603): A Chinese Anti-Imperial Text in Global Perspective | [show details...][hide details...]
Turning finally to the specific case of Taiwan, this lecture examines Chen Di’s Record of Formosa (Dongfan ji), the first text in any language to offer a firsthand account of the indigenous societies of Taiwan. It is also significant in light of our analysis in the previous lectures, because Chen offers one of the few examples of the “contingency” view of human difference examined in Lecture 1. Emma Teng and others have identified Chen’s Record as a key representative of Chinese colonial discourse and its various tropes of hierarchical difference. Yet I argue that Chen’s Record does not contribute to this fraught imperial narrative as directly as some have claimed. To the contrary, Chen offers one of the few examples of a Chinese anti-imperial argument, built from his scholarly commitments to a historicized view of the past and elaborated in contrast to other, more prevalent neo-Confucian justifications for the pacification of Taiwan. Building on a broader understanding of Chen’s biography and his extant works, I argue that Chen reads the perceived cultural differences of indigenous peoples with an imperial center as evidence of the fragility and reversibility, rather than inevitable superiority, of a historical story that produces the outcome of “civilization.” Chen Di rejects the historical timeline that confines indigenous people to some primitive stage of human development, but also goes further to suggest that they might be understood as forging their own contingent history that exists parallel to, rather than behind, that of a civilizational center. By placing the Formosan indigenes along a different timeline altogether, Chen’s historical narrative resists the colonial temptation to align them with Han Chinese forms of development.

Secondary Sources:

  • Teng, Emma. 2006. Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 60-68. [Link]
  • Thompson, Laurence G. 1964. “The Earliest Chinese Eyewitness Accounts of the Formosan Aborigines.” Monumenta Serica 23: 163–204: pp. 163-165, 170-171. [Link]
  • Pidhainy, Ihor. 2008. “A Mid-Ming Account of the Road into Exile.” Ming Studies 2008 (1): 8–42. [Link] (this analysis of Yang Shen is mainly for comparative purposes).

Primary Sources:

  • “Ch’en Ti: An Account of the Eastern Barbarians,” pp. 172-178 in: Thompson, Laurence G. 1964. “The Earliest Chinese Eyewitness Accounts of the Formosan Aborigines.” Monumenta Serica 23: 163–204.[Link]
  • “Yü Yung-ho, Observations on the Aborigines of Taiwan,” pp. 183-199 in: Thompson, Laurence G. 1964. “The Earliest Chinese Eyewitness Accounts of the Formosan Aborigines.” Monumenta Serica 23: 163–204. [Link]

For full Chinese texts, see:

  • Chen Di 陳第. 1959. “Dongfan ji 東番記 (Record of Formosa).” In Minhai zengyan 閩海贈言 (Words of praise from the Taiwan Sea), edited by Shen Yourong 沈有容, 24–27. Taiwan wenxian congkan 56. Taipei: Taiwan yinhang. [Link]
  • Yu Yonghe. 1959. Pihai jiyou 裨海紀遊. Edited by Taiwan yinhang jingji yanjiu shi. Taiwan wenxian congkan 44. Taibei: Taiwan yinhang [Link].

Lecture Video:

LECTURE 4: 12.-13. July 23, 14.00-17.00 | R.440.01.12
The Dangers of Republican Freedom in Dutch Colonial Formosa, 1624-1662 | [show details...][hide details...]
This lecture examines the ways in which Dutch representations of indigenous Formosan political and social life in the seventeenth century, produced by agents of the Dutch East India Company during their 40-year control of Taiwan, were influenced by specific notions of republican liberty emerging from the Dutch Low Countries. The acephalous nature of village society confounded Company attempts to secure what they saw as genuine and free consent to the alienation of indigenous territory to the Dutch. In response, Company agents systematized the selection of representative leaders from indigenous villages by inviting them to participate in annual “Land Day” celebrations, which satisfied key expectations of Dutch republican liberty in securing village representation and collective political participation. The Formosan case suggests heretofore unexamined ways in which republican liberty betrays an imperial logic, demanding dramatic transformation of indigenous social orders to conform to Dutch expectations of what freedom meant. The recognition of indigenous freedom as a natural condition eventually morphed, in theory and practice, into freedom as an implied ability to consent to Dutch territorial and economic expansion on the island. The Dutch extended colonial control throughout Formosan territory not by violating native political rights, but by conferring and recognizing them.

Secondary Sources:

  • Andrade, Tonio. 1997. “Political Spectacle and Colonial Rule: The Landdag on Dutch Taiwan, 1629–1648.” Itinerario 21 (3): 57–93. [Link]
  • Weststeijn, Arthur. 2014. “The VOC as a Company-State: Debating Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Expansion.” Itinerario 38 (1): 13–34. [Link]

Primary Sources:

  • Candidius, George. 1903. “An Account of the Inhabitants.” In Formosa Under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Records, with Explanatory Notes and a Geography of the Island, edited and translated by William Campbell. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. Ltd. [Link]
  • Junius, Robert. 1903. “Robert Junius to the Director of the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce of the East India Company, 5 September 1636.” In Formosa Under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Records, with Explanatory Notes and a Geography of the Island, edited by William Campbell, 116–44. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. Ltd. [Link]. pp. 116-123.
  • François Vranck. 1993. “Short Exposition of the Right Exercised from All Old Times by the Knighthood, Nobles and Towns of Holland and Westvriesland for the Maintenance of the Liberties, Rights, Privileges and Laudable Customs of the Country (1587).” In The Dutch Revolt, edited by Martin van Gelderen, translated by Martin Van Gelderen, 227–38. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Link]

Lecture Video

PART 3: Hearing Taiwan—Reflections on Music and Sounds
Music Workshop: Recreating Tradition Through Musical Composition
14.-15. July 25 | R.010.01.05 | 11.00-12.30
Interactive Lectures with Shih-hui Chen & Kurt Stallmann | [show details...][hide details...]

11.00-12.30: Interactive Lecture: Composing “Solos and Encounters” — a musical response to the Alte Aula

Lecture Video:

July 26, Alte Aula
11.30-19.00 (Open) Rehearsal
July 27, Alte Aula
11.30-16.00 (Open) Rehearsal
19.00 Concert (Alte Aula)

concluded with a short Roundtable Discussion Music and Art in a Global Context

  • Chen Shih-Hui, Kurt Stallmann, Wu Wei, John Eckhardt
  • Moderation: Barbara Mittler
Artist biographies
Chen Shih-Hui [show details...][hide details...]
Chen Shih-Hui

A citation accompanying Shih-Hui Chen’s Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters states: “Among the composers of Asian descent living in the U.S.A., Shih-Hui Chen is most successful in balancing the very refined spectral traditions of the East with the polyphonic practice of Western art-music. In a seamless narrative, her beautiful music, always highly inventive and expressive, is immediately as appealing as it is demanding and memorable.” Her recent CD, Returning Souls, was hailed by Wire Magazine for its “deep musical intelligence.”

Born in Taiwan, Shih-Hui Chen has lived in the United States since 1982 and received her doctorate from Boston University. In addition to garnering a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Harvard/Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Scholar, and an American Academy in Rome Prize, her compositions have been performed widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. Chen’s compositions have brought her into contact with many orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and Utah Symphony. Her chamber music has been presented by the Arditti Quartet, Network for New Music, Voices of Change, and the Freon Ensemble in Rome, Italy.

Seeking a deeper understanding of her native culture and music, Chen recently spent two years in Taiwan studying indigenous and Nanguan music (Fulbright Senior Scholar and Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellowship, affiliated with the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.) Chen is the director of 21C: Contemporary Cross-Culture Asian Music Festival and a Professor of Music at The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Current projects include Withholding the Umbrella for Chinese Orchestra; Ten Thousand Blooms, Falling Petals for the Pacific Rim Music Festival; Silvergrass cello concerto for National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and Messages From a Formosan Village, a 75-minute storytelling musical drama. Her music can be heard on Albany Records, New World Records, and Bridge Records.

Kurt Stallmann [show details...][hide details...]
Kurt Stallmann

Kurt Stallmann is a composer whose approach to sound is inclusive and integrative. His compositions include works for acoustic instruments, electroacoustic combinations, environmental sounds, and synthetic sounds. He also frequently collaborates with artists from other disciplines. After completing his Ph.D. in music composition at Harvard University, he joined the Harvard faculty where he served as Assistant Professor of Music and as Associate Director of the Harvard University Studios for Electro-Acoustic Composition (HUSEAC). Stallmann currently serves as Professor of Music and Director of the Rice Electroacoustic Music Labs (REMLABS), Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Kurt’s work has focused on breaking boundaries between environmental sound and music, finding ways to include personal life experiences in his compositions, and connecting the divide between improvisation and composition. Recent works include: Among Rivers (2019), a forty-five minute, immersive multimedia work with filmmaker Alfred Guzzetti for seven channels of video, twenty-eight channels of audio, and four actors; Vespertine Awakenings (2017), a collaboration with choreographer Dusan Tynek commissioned for the opening of the new Moody Center for the Arts in Houston, Texas; Callings (2017), a solo work for Erhu, electric organ, and Taipei soundscape; Time Present (2013), a sound-image experimental video (with Alfred Guzzetti) that couples parallel constructions in sound from Taipei and imagery from the United States (US premiere at the Siskel Center in Chicago; European premiere at the London Film Festival); and Ten Directions (2012), an electroacoustic work commissioned by Rice University for the dedication ceremony of Twilight Epiphany, a Skyspace designed by artist James Turrell.

Stallmann’s work has been recognized through grants and commissions by Chamber Music America, Meet The Composer/New Music USA, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Fulbright Scholar Program, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Goddard Lieberson Fellowship), and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Wu Wei [show details...][hide details...]
Wu Wei

Sheng virtuoso Wu Wei has developed the ancient instrument into an innovative force in contemporary music. As a soloist, he has performed with such leading orchestras and ensembles as the Berlin and Los Angeles Philharmonics, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and EnsembleModern, The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) , with such conductors as Kent Nagano, Gustavo Dudamel, Marin Alsop, Myung-Whun Chung, Ilan Volkov, Susanna Mälkki, Matthias Pintscher, Markus Stenz, and Jaap van Zweden. He has given world premieres of more than 400 works, including more than 20 concertos for sheng and orchestra, by composers such as John Cage, Unsuk Chin, Jukka Tiensuu, Toshio Hosokawa,Tan Dun, Liza Lim,and Ruo Huang. Mr. Wu is also a prolific composer for the sheng, having received several commissions, including those from FondationRoyaumont and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

Mr. Wu has appeared at a number of prestigious festivals and venues worldwide, including the BBC Proms, Paris Autumn Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Berliner Festspiele, Warsaw Autumn, and Musica nova Helsinki; the Berlin Philharmonie, Royal Albert Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Mr. Wu studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and at the Hanns Eisler Academy Berlin. He is a winner of the German music competition Musica Vitale, and was also the recipient of the German Global Root prize, German Record Critics’ Award, and the Edinburgh International Festival’s Herald Angels prize (2011). He was also named best soloist at the Chinese Music Awards (2017).

Mr. Wu has recorded CDs and DVDs for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Harmonia Mundi, and Wergo. His recording Unsuk Chin:3 Concertos(Deutsche Grammophon) garnered the International ClassicalMusic Award and BBC Music Magazine Award in 2015. http://www.wuweimusic.com

John Eckhardt [show details...][hide details...]
John Eckhardt

Whether performing today’s challenging double bass repertoire, developing his own music, or working sound systems with his bass guitar or a set of turntables - John Eckhardt is constantly involved in today’s music.

He has both collaborated with a wide spectrum of artists and created his personal brand of solo projects. He worked with many composers including Helmut Lachenmann and Pierre Boulez, new music groups such as Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Vienna and musikfabrik, improvisors from Evan Parker, Elliott Sharp and Peter Evans, to today’s new blood in a wide field of today’s music.

John Eckhardt has performed on over 30 recordings, among them Iannis Xenakis’ masterpiece “Theraps” (Mode Rec.) and three internationally acclaimed solo releases. These share an interest in low frequency and spectral immersion, spatial depth, and themes of repetition and evolutional process.

Driven by curiosity and passion for different styles, cultures and artistic means, John Eckhardt keeps drawing new connections and expands a bass cosmos of unusual dimensions. The latest addition is his Basswald DJ project that presents a diverse spectrum of bass music with a special ear for sound system culture. It is accompanied by a steady flow of downloadable podcasts.

John lives within earshot of the Hamburg harbor. www.johneckhardt.de

Zuletzt bearbeitet von: SV
Letzte Änderung: 03.09.2019
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