The Great Exodus from China: Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Modern Taiwan

Apr 11, 2022, 14:15 - Feb 11, 2022, 16:30
(GMT+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna

Time: Monday 11 April, 14.15-16.30 (CET) ( 15:15-16:30 PM Helsinki Time)

Format: Online

Register here before Thursday 7 April in order to receive link. 

The Great Exodus examines one of the least understood forced migrations in modern East Asia—the human exodus from China to Taiwan following the Nationalist collapse and Chinese Communist victory in 1949. Peeling back layers of Cold War ideological constructs, the book tells a very different story from conventional historiographies the Chinese civil war, Chinese revolution, and Cold War Taiwan. Underscoring the displaced population’s trauma of living in exile and their poignant “homecomings” four decades later, Yang presents a multiple-event trajectory of repeated traumatization with the recurring search for home, belonging, and identity. By portraying the Chinese civil war exiles in Taiwan both as traumatized subjects of displacement and overbearing colonizers to the local peoples, this thought-provoking work challenges the established notions of trauma, memory production, diaspora, and reconciliation. It speaks to the importance of subject position, boundary-crossing empathic unsettlements, and ethical responsibility of researching, narrating, and representing historical trauma.

About the Speaker

Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang is Associate Professor of East Asian History in Department of History, University of Missouri-Columbia. His first book The Great Exodus from China: Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Modern Taiwan won the Memory Studies Association First Book Award in 2020, and in 2021, was selected as a Finalist for the International Book Award in the category of History: General. For his research, Dominic also received University of Missouri Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award in 2020. He is the first faculty in University of Missouri Department of History to receive this honor in the award’s twenty-year history.

University of Helsinki

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