«Visualising culture and gender: postcolonial feminist analyses of women's exhibitions in Taiwan, 1996-2003 This item was submitted to Loughborough ...»
The newly independent countries hoped to form a non-aligned movement following these principles and many of them began to adopt the collective term ‘Third World’ following their first meeting in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. Broader use of the term followed the publication of the sociologist Peter Worsley’s book of the same name in 1964 but it also served to widen the meaning of the concept by incorporating into the discussion not only the common heritage of these countries (colonialism), but also a common legacy (poverty).73 Thus, the concepts of ‘Third World’ were to categorise nations which were newly established after the Second World War and which were
categorised as a less materially privileged group. Ray Kiely proposes that ‘it was in the post-1945 period that it [the idea of development] was consciously advocated as a way for “the Rest” (or Third World) to become more like “the West” (or First World)’.74 More specifically, the concept of ‘Third World’ was created based on the standards proposed by the West. Kiely further argues that ‘development is simply a form of cultural imperialism [which] homogenises both the West and Third World, and reduces the latter to David Drakakis-Smith asserts that ‘[t]he term “Third World” had its principal origins in the search for an alternative to the polarised politics of the immediate post-war years. A third way or path between the capitalist and communist protagonists of the cold war’.
Drakakis-Smith, David. Third World Cities, Second Edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2000, p 1. Trinh T Minh-ha also suggests that ‘Third World commonly refers to states in Africa, Asia and Latin America which called themselves “non-aligned”, that is to say, affiliated with neither the Western (capitalist) nor the Eastern (communist) power blocs’. Trinh (1989), op cit, p 98.
Drakakis-Smith, op cit, pp 1-2.
Kiely, Ray. ‘Introduction’ in Kiely, Ray and Phil Marfleet (eds). Globalisation and the Third World. London and New York: Routledge, 2000, p 6.
M. Turner, © 2008 passive recipients of the former’s idea’.75 Thus, the term, Third World, itself is opposed to the principles of postcoloniality, which aim to re-consider Western dualism and essentialism. Additionally, since rapid economic development happened in some (ex-) ‘Third World’ countries, such as, for example, in East Asia (including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong) in the 1970s, ‘the end of the Third World’ has arrived.76 Hence, I propose that the term, Third World, appears to be inappropriate and outdated for use in contemporary cultural studies. Additionally, it is interesting to note that since the mid 1970s, there have been some reports indicating more worlds than three.77 Consequently, I replace the term ‘Third World’ with the more accurate term ‘the developing world’ when describing issues happening in contemporary Taiwanese society.78 Theoretical Concerns In order to analyse contemporary Taiwanese women’s art, I have begun by narrating Taiwan’s historical and social background, which has provided me with the stimulus for undertaking this project. However, the theoretical points I address are based on the acquisition of an understanding of postcolonial feminism, which, being one of the most influential theories in academia in recent decades, has provided me with various ideas and perspectives for Ibid., p 36.
More details regarding the rapid economic development (also called the ‘economic miracle’) happening in East Asia will be addressed in the second chapter. The phrase ‘end of the Third World’ is cited from Kiely, op cit, p 9.
Regarding the idea that ‘there are more worlds than three’, Drakakis-Smith states that ‘Newsweek […] outlined four worlds; the third encompassed those countries with significant economic potential while the fourth world consisted of the “hardship cases”. […] Time magazine suggested five worlds: here the third comprised the oil producers, the fourth constituted other resource-rich states, while the fifth contained the “basket-cases”’.
Drakakis-Smith, op cit, p 2.
Elizabeth Wilson also argues that ‘[t]he term “third world” is used as a familiar, although unsatisfactory, shorthand’. Wilson, op cit, p 121.
M. Turner, © 2008 analysing the questions and issues raised by Taiwanese women artists’ works.
I am now going to look briefly at the theories I have studied.
The theories considered here have been advanced by postcolonial feminist scholars, many of whom originated in the developing regions but now hold academic positions in the West.79 Ankie Hoogvelt remarks that ‘[i]n First World academe, Third World scholars found a welcome home and symbiotic environment in the burgeoning discipline and polemics of “cultural studies”’.80 It is through the change of environment that diasporas become aware of the differences between their motherlands and the developed world in which they are living. Robert Young describes how postcolonialism, as a field of academic discipline, has developed by asserting that ‘[it] has emerged from Anglophone universities around the world […] though by no means exclusively, in western institutions’. Young further argues that postcoloniality is a subject of cultural studies by intellectuals who increasingly ‘invented critical, analytic and politically assertive ways of resisting the west’.82 The ‘West’ in Young’s arguments refers not only to Western Europe and America but also to any colonial power that dominates any region in the world. Therefore, postcolonial studies, even though generated in academia in the West, can be used in the issues related to Taiwan when researching the Ien Ang also makes the same observation by stating that ‘[t]he figure of the postcolonial diasporic intellectual – born in the Third World and educated and living and working in the West – has become the subject of much controversy in recent years. […] [S]ome diasporic intellectuals […] have gained international celebrity status in the halls of the Western academy’. Ang, op cit, p 1. Additionally, Robert Young proposes an identical view and asserts that ‘[i]n Europe and the US, it was above all minorities, particularly people of colour, who developed postcolonial theory for its radical political potential’. Young, Robert J. C.
Postcolonialism: an Historical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001, p 61.
Hoogvelt, Ankie M M. Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development. Basingstoke: MacMillan Press Ltd, 1997, p 157.
Young, R (2001), op cit, p 63.
M. Turner, © 2008 colonial political and cultural power from the Chinese Nationalists and the Japanese.
When being interviewed by Alfred Arteaga during 1993 and 1994, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak mentioned that one of her earliest memories was of her country’s negotiating its political independence. She asserted in the
interview with Arteaga that:
My generation was on the cusp of decolonisation. On our childhood and adolescent sensibilities was played out the meaning of a negotiated political independence. We were not adults; yet we were not born after independence. In a way, it’s more interesting to have been in my generation than to have been a midnight’s child, to have been born at independence, to be born free by chronological accident.83 I grew up against the background of a similar kind of society and nation as many postcolonial and feminist scholars (for example, Spivak); thus, their texts become essential for my research.84 Most of the Taiwanese women artists and curators who I am currently researching, were born before 1987, which was the year when martial law was suspended. Those who have experienced an unstable society and political uncertainty, especially because of the historical past, are more likely to have a tendency to determine their own position in terms of culture and politics. Thus, postcolonial literature has been created by those who have tried to establish a new identity for their Arteaga, Alfred. ‘Bonding in Difference: Interview with Alfred Arteaga’ in Landry, Donna and Gerald MacLean (eds). The Spivak Reader: Selected Works of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. London and New York: Routledge, 1996, pp 16-17.
The theories, which I have employed in my work, are mainly produced by Ien Ang, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin, Homi Bhabha, Arif Dirlik, bell hooks, Ankie Hoogvelt, Trinh T Minh-ha, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Robert Young.
Among them, I have mostly been inspired by Bhabha.
M. Turner, © 2008 people. Because of this ideology, I intend to search for a position for contemporary Taiwanese (women) artists in world history.
Many of those who have contributed greatly on the subject of postcoloniality, especially in the English language, are members of Asian and West Indian diasporas, who reside as intellectuals in Britain, the United States and Australia and who have a strong affiliation with the history of post-war immigration. These postcolonial intellectuals have argued that postcolonial discourses, inspired by the colonial experiences of their origins, have become trans-national research, which is engaged with issues of culture, politics and economics related to more than two nations. Nevertheless my research centres on the contemporary Taiwanese women’s art scene, and my research questions are actually based on how the Taiwanese consider themselves in their colonial history, and how complex the Taiwanese
explore contemporary Taiwanese culture requires cross-national analyses as clearly, Taiwan is deeply under the influences of China, Japan and even the West. Particularly, I propose that Taiwan, itself, is a typical postcolonial nation.
Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin address how to define and use Young has clearly demonstrated that the academic origins of postcolonial studies are
strongly associated with the history of post-war immigration:
In Britain, with the arrival of the SS Windrush in London in 1948; in the US, with the changes Bobby Kennedy made to the US Immigration laws in 1965, which altered the immigration quota system from one directed predominantly towards Europe to one divided more equitably on a global basis; in Australia, with the abandonment of the ‘white Australia’ immigration policy as recently as 1972.
Young, R. (2001), op cit, p 62.
M. Turner, © 2008 the term, postcolonial, and state that ‘[w]e use the term, ‘post-colonial’ […] to cover all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonisation to the present day. 86 Hence, according to Ashcroft et al, ‘postcolonial’ is the term used to denote countries that are politically independent but whose cultures are still under the influence and control of the former imperial authority. Young interprets postcolonial theory in an
inspiringly historical sense, which I think is worth citing at some length:
The origins of postcolonialism lie in the historical resistance to colonial occupation and imperial control, the success of which then enabled a radical challenge to the political and conceptual structures of the systems on which such domination had been based. Historically, therefore, postcolonial theory works from a number of different axes: a product of revolutionary Marxism, of the national liberation movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the political and cultural consequence of the success of those movements, the tricontinental economic and cultural critiques of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and the historical effects of migration, past and present, forced or voluntary.87 From Young’s argument, the concepts of postcolonialism first appeared after the revolutions in the independent Marxist states, although, at the time the term was often hyphenated: i.e. post-colonialism. It has now been widely used in the spheres of politics, culture, academic literature, international relations and area studies.88 Therefore, the theory has today gone beyond specific geographical territories and has been affiliated with discourses of Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back. London and New York: Routledge, 1989, pp 1-2.
Young, R (2001), op cit, pp 60-61.
Here it is worth noting that before postcolonial cultural critique was used in the spheres of political and academic literature, the term ‘post-colonial’ (usually with a hyphen) was used ‘in social sciences with a specific Marxist reference, a usage that continues today in the language of contemporary area studies, economics, political science and international relations […]’. See Young, R. (2001), op cit, p 58.
M. Turner, © 2008 diasporas, transnational migration and international studies.
I suggest that postcoloniality is understood to refer to the period when the colonisers arrive and people start to fight against this violent invasion (in this case, ‘post’ means ‘after a period of time’). Additionally, it indicates that postcolonialism describes cultural affairs in the time when political colonisation has finished (here ‘post’ refers to ‘against some ideas’). When understood in the former sense, postcolonial theory indicates the revolutionary battles against the dominant political power, whilst the latter means that postcolonialism is a theory that opposes colonisation in terms of culture and identity. The latter has inspired postcolonial scholars to argue ‘tricontinental’ issues about identity, hybridity and ambivalence, which have formed the main themes in my thesis. Postcolonialism can, therefore, be defined from many different perspectives, depending on the subject to which one refers.
Postcolonialism has been developed as a globally influential set of debates and political arbitration in the last thirty years. This fact can be observed by the large proportion of the present global population that used to be colonised.
Ashcroft et al note that ‘[m]ore than three-quarters of the people living in the world today have had their lives shaped by the experience of colonialism’.89 Young also states that by the First World War, ‘imperial powers occupied, or by various means controlled, nine-tenths of the surface territory of the globe’. 90 Reclaiming the term is empowering and it helps to develop an Ashcroft et al (1989), op cit, p 1.