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2018-2019 Year Book


In search of the DNA of contemporary Taiwanese society and culture


Topic: In search of the DNA of contemporary Taiwanese society and culture
Date: 21 March 2019 (Thursday)15:20-17:20
Venue: Rm. 309, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, National Tsing Hua University
Speaker: Yeong Ha RYU (Associate Professor, Department of Chinese, Baekseok University)
Chairperson: LIU Shu-qin (Professor, Institute of Taiwanese Literature, National Tsing Hua University)
* The lecture will be conducted in Mandarin.
According to latest research of Brain Science, frontal lobe and temporal lobe are the two relatively important parts of the human brain. These two parts are responsible for rational and emotional reactions and operations. To stimulate the temporal robe will cause the reaction of endorphin immediately, and intoxication gradually. Yet after the emotional reaction by endorphin, it needs further stimuli to weaken frontal lobe. Gradually, one loses the ability of thinking. Further stimuli of the temporal lobe will cause the habit of being emotional and further weakening of the frontal lobe. This is a threat to rational thinking.  Recently, the subjects of power all over the world use history as a tool to stimulate temporal lobes. The intoxicated citizens (including students) lost the ability to judge. This create vicious circles in society, a.k.a. brainwashing.
When state apparatuses (including schools and museums) mobilize the logic of victimization, and emotionalize history to stimulate students and audience, their abilities of critical thinking are very likely to be destroyed. It tends to cause a collective emotional society, and obstructs the formation of a healthy society. I believe that the contemporary Taiwanese social image is very positive and rational. We can see fresh and cute character image everywhere, instead of propaganda slogans of the grand narrative of the nation and the state. In this multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual society, the social condition enables the citizens to activate their frontal lobes, and shapes people’s open and tolerate worldview. In Taiwan, different languages keep stimulating the frontal lobes. The multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-colonial structure also brings Taiwan a unique history and cultural accumulation. The Taiwanese society has experienced multiple layers of changes. It has also born different types of power system, and collectively uncovered and disentangled multiple layers of conflicts and social traumas.
I will rely on the Taiwanese images that I have visited during my stay in Taiwan to analyze the social and cultural characteristics of contemporary Taiwan. These images include: traditional markets, pawnshops, arcades, lanes, communities, cultural and creative Industries, religions, traditional Chinese characters, languages, and museums (e.g. National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taiwan Hakka Museum, National Museum of Taiwan History, National 228 Memorial Museum). One of the major goals of my stay in Taiwan is to search the DNA of contemporary Taiwanese society and culture, and the meme of Taiwan.

Supervisor: Ministry of Science and Technology
Organizers: Institute of Taiwanese Literature, NTHU; Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, NTHU; Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, NTHU; International Center for Cultural Studies, NCTU; International Institute for Cultural Studies, UST; Literary Lecture of Mo-jen Wang and An-Yi Chou

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