Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Constructing Collective Memory for (De)Colonization: Chinese and Taiwanese Images in History Textbooks in Taiwan, 1950-1987
Hsuan-Yi Huang, Hsiao-Lan Sharon Chen

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


History curriculum in Taiwan is an enduring point of contention and unresolved issue. With political power shifts over the past 20 years, history curriculum has undergone several major changes that stirred up vehement debates. The most recent revision, which is supposed to be put into practice in 2018, was criticized as too controversial and finally was repealed in 2016. The history curriculum debates which mostly centered on Chinese and Taiwanese historiography and interpretations of the history of Taiwan under Japanese and Chinese colonization imply a prominent issue of identity. To better understand current issues of identity and implications of history curriculum debates, this study analyzes history textbooks during 1950-1987 for exploring the ways in which Chinese and Taiwanese images were shaped and formed. Based on the theory of collective memory (Halbwachs, 1992), this study sees textbooks as an important medium of creating collective memory for certain purposes. In this way, collective memory is constructed and shaped by contingent political or cultural circumstances. In addition, memory is a symbolic resource for developing a certain collective identity (Hsiau, 2008). Therefore, history textbooks serve as critical sources for this study to delve into how histories of China and Taiwan were told to create specific collective memories and images of Chinese and Taiwanese.

After World War II, Taiwan was taken over by the Nationalist Party of Kuomintang from China and then was implanted completely with the Chinese R.O.C. system in 1949 when the Kuomintang lost the civil war with the Communist Party of China and then relocated to Taiwan. Since then, Taiwan served for the R.O.C. as the base of recovering the Mainland from Communism, and Taiwan’s education system under Japanese rule was replaced by the modern Chinese education system, including curriculum and textbooks. From 1949, under an extreme political agenda (interpreted by some Taiwanese as another colonization), Taiwan entered a long period of martial law and mobilization to suppress the Communist rebellion on the mainland until 1987. This study thus analyzes history textbooks in the early stages of R.O.C. rule (1950-1987) with the political agenda of anti-communism and opposition to Russia and the cultural project of Chinese culture reinvigoration. The analysis suggests that the Chinese nation was the main theme of the Chinese image. The origin and history of the Chinese nation, the history of R.O.C., the development of great Chinese culture, and the imperative for Taiwan to realize the Three Principles of the People and to reunite with Mainland China (under R.O.C.) were major elements in history textbooks that painted the Chinese image and created collective memories in Taiwanese students. Such great Chinese history eventually covered Taiwan and superseded the Taiwanese history, including the history of Taiwan under Japanese occupation. These colonization and decolonization strategies of constructing collective memory for the Chinese nation thus made it difficult to paint an image of Taiwan. The analysis also implies that the Chinese image in history textbooks for over 30 years has dictated Taiwanese imagination of the self and further complicated current educational agenda of history curriculum revision.