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Book Talk: Island Fantasia with Wei-Ping Lin

January 4, 2023

On Tuesday, February 28, 2023,  at 5p.m. PT, the UW Taiwan Studies Program welcomed Professor Wei-Ping Lin to discuss her newly published work, Island Fantasia: Imagining Subjects on the Military Frontline between China and Taiwan. This is a virtual event which will be livestreamed on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

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).

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.