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In the aftermath of 1949, Taiwan's elites saw themselves as embodying China in exile both politically and culturally. The island-officially known as the Republic of China-was a temporary home to await the reconquest of the mainland. Taiwan, not the People's Republic, represented China internationally until the early 1970s. Yet in recent decades Taiwan has increasingly come to see itself as a modern nation-state.A-chin Hsiau traces the origins of Taiwanese national identity to the 1970s, when a surge of domestic dissent and youth activism transformed society, politics, and culture in ways that continue to be felt. After major diplomatic setbacks at the beginning of the 1970s posed a serious challenge to Kuomintang authoritarian rule, a younger generation without firsthand experience of life on the mainland began openly challenging the status quo. Hsiau examines how student activists, writers, and dissident researchers of Taiwanese anticolonial movements, despite accepting Chinese nationalist narratives, began to foreground Taiwan's political and social past and present. Their activism, creative work, and historical explorations played pivotal roles in bringing to light and reshaping indigenous and national identities. In so doing, Hsiau contends, they laid the basis for Taiwanese nationalism and the eventual democratization of Taiwan.Offering bracing new perspectives on nationalism, democratization, and identity in Taiwan, this book has significant implications spanning sociology, history, political science, and East Asian studies.
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