Island Fantasia w/ Wei-ping Lin

Daniel Hance's picture
February 28, 2023
Washington, United States
Subject Fields: 
Chinese History / Studies, Asian History / Studies

The UW Taiwan Studies Program will welcome Professor Wei-Ping Lin to discuss her newly published work, Island Fantasia. The Matsu archipelago between China and Taiwan, for long an isolated outpost off southeast China, was suddenly transformed into a military frontline in 1949 by the Cold War and the Communist–Nationalist conflict. The army occupied the islands, commencing more than 40 long years of military rule. With the lifting of martial law in 1992, the people were confronted with the question of how to move forward. Professor Lin's in-depth ethnography and social history of the islands focuses on how individual citizens redefined themselves and reimagined their society. Drawing on long-term fieldwork, Lin shows how islanders used both traditional and new media to cope with the conflicts and trauma of harsh military rule. She discusses the formation of new social imaginaries through the appearance of “imagining subjects,” interrogating their subjectification processes and varied uses of mediating technologies as they seek to answer existential questions.

Wei-Ping Lin is a Professor at National Taiwan University. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cambridge University. She was affiliated with the Harvard-Yenching Institute in 2005-6 and 2017-8, and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University in 2012-3. Her interests include religion (including topics related to material culture, spirit mediums, and urban religious transformation), kinship, and imagination. She is the author of Materializing Magic Power: Chinese Popular Religion in Villages and Cities (Harvard University Asia Center, 2015), and Island Fantasia: Imagining Subjects on the Military Frontline between China and Taiwan (Cambridge University Press).

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