Abstract: This dissertation examines a diverse body of postwar cultural production in Taiwan (1945 to the present), including literary, cinematic, and other forms of media texts, through the lens of settler colonial criticism. Taiwan, an island whose indigenous inhabitants are Austronesian, has been a de facto settler colony due to large-scale Han migration from China to Taiwan beginning in the seventeenth century. However, the prevailing discourse in Taiwan, particularly in the field of Taiwan literature studies, has been “postcolonial,” articulating Taiwan either in terms of the end of the Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) or the lifting of the Martial Law (1949-87), neither of which acknowledges the continued colonization of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, Taiwan has long been excluded from the global arena of settler colonial studies. Owing to the twofold invisibility of Taiwan as a settler colony in both local and global contexts, I employ the analytical framework of settler colonialism—a specific colonial formation whereby settlers displace the indigenous residents and take over the land—so as to address the discursive limits and academic blind spots described above. More specifically, this research project mobilizes settler colonial criticism to critically reflect on various media/genres of contemporary cultural production by Han Taiwanese authors as settlers in order to challenge current academic trends and the Han settler structure of Taiwan. In so doing, this dissertation not only fills in the gaps of the postcolonial paradigm in Taiwan but also provides significant insights for global settler colonial studies based on Taiwan’s unique experience. As such, it contributes to the redistribution of knowledge production in Taiwan’s intellectual sphere, partaking of the recent calls for “indigenous transitional justice” as a means of decolonization. In this sense, to re-conceptualize Taiwan as a settler colony through examining its cultural production is not only to re-situate Taiwan onto the world map of settler colonial studies but also to reimagine a new form of relational ethics between the indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Taiwan.

Excerpt: What are our responsibilities not only to the Indigenous peoples whose lands we occupy, but also to the Indigenous peoples and people of color whose practices we benefit from? This special cluster of Race and Yoga recognizes the need to (re)center Indigenous lands, practices, and peoples locally and globally in discussions of decolonization and yoga. Settler colonial and/or dominant yoga discourses exclude peoples who are Indigenous to the partition of Turtle Island often referred to as the U.S. as well as the Indigenous South Asian, South Asian, South Asian American, and/or South Asian diasporic peoples from whose ancestors and lands yoga broadly originated. Whereas Native American/Indigenous, South Asian, and South Asian American studies have frequently overlooked embodied practices and the ways that movement means, academic fields that center the body, embodiment, and performance studies have often omitted Indigenous peoples and their contributions. With the primary exception of Native American/Indigenous studies, fields often do not account for settler colonialism or Indigenous futurities. In the U.S., discourses around “decolonizing yoga” frequently focus on globalization and likewise do not acknowledge settler colonialism or Native American sovereignties. That is, these discourses often do not recognize the over 900 federally recognized and unrecognized tribes within the settler state boundaries are actually nations and/or that yoga is practiced on Indigenous lands that are not acknowledged as such.

Abstract: The health of Māori, the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, New Zealand, like that of almost all Indigenous peoples worldwide, is characterised by systematic inequities in health outcomes, differential exposure to the determinants of health, inequitable access to and through health and social systems, disproportionate marginalisation and inadequate representation in the health workforce. As health providers, we are often taught that ‘taking a history’ is a critical component of a patient consultation to ensure that the underlying conditions are treated rather than the often superficial presenting symptoms. In the same way, attempts to make sense of the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples is inadequate unless health providers engage critically with the history of their respective nations and any subsequent patterns of privilege or disadvantage. Understanding this history, within the framework of western imperialism and other similar colonial projects, allows us to make sense of international patterns of Indigenous health status.

While health commentators acknowledge the unequal health outcomes of Indigenous people, and an increasing number also link these inequities to Indigenous marginalisation resulting from historic events, very few go further and expose the deep relationship between racism and coloniality and how these continue to be the basic determinants of Indigenous health today. This work includes honest examination of the role that science and the health disciplines have played historically in colonisation through the subjugation of Indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge production, as well as being complicit in the creation and maintenance of a fabricated hierarchy of humankind. Despite the ‘science’ of this racial hierarchy being discredited, it retains a false validity in our societies. As long as oppressive systems that continue to re-inscribe racism and white privilege remain in communities, including our academic communities, coloniality continues its discrimination.

Indigenous voices on migration, ethnicity, racism and health will always demand the elimination of inequities in health but to do so will require a parallel commitment to critically interrogating all of our histories and our disciplines, as well as examining how our practice, including research, disrupts or maintains global systems of racism and coloniality.

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