Research Project


Narrating the National Fate: Time, Historical Consciousness, and Cultural Trauma in the Study of 'Chinese Modernization' in Post-war Taiwan.

Prof. Dr. A-chin Hsiau

Man is a story-telling animal and social scientists are not an exception. Work in the field of the social sciences is often more informed by historical narratives that function as particular forms of social memory than social scientists would care to admitted. By analyzing the sociological study of “Chinese modernization,” especially the case of Kwan-hai Lung (龍冠海1906-1983) as one of the major founders of sociology, in post-war Taiwan, my project aims to examine the intriguing relationship between national trauma, historical narrative, and the production of social scientific knowledge. It will investigate how sociology became burdened with a story about national fate or destiny and thus became a major agent of social memory and identity formation. The study of Chinese modernization was promoted primarily by social scientists of Chinese Mainlander background who were exiled to Taiwan after 1949 and who dominated the social sciences up to the 1980s. My research will show how these exiled sociologists became the major story-tellers who narrated the past, present, and future of China and Taiwan and how the historical narrative that they constructed contributed to the alleviation of their sense of dislocation, anxiety, and distress by conveying an image of a nation that is in control of its destiny, optimistically charting the course for its future.

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