Memory, agency and Posthumanity in Taiwanese Literature, Visual Culture and Performative Body

Wan-Ting Wang
East Asian Languages and Cultures
UC Berkeley

The posthumanist turn in the humanities has challenged the fundamental concerns of the field. It has aroused questions about how human memories embody the material world and how human agency can or cannot be distinguished from non-human agencies. This working group examines different sites of memory in Taiwan across aesthetic mediums including literature, cinema, photography, and performative art. Taiwan has witnessed the emergence of a global nexus of technological production as well as its attendant environmental damages across China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Taiwan — as a geographical location, a discursive concept and a heterogeneous community — conjures a web of associations that constantly positions or repositions potential identity in relation to its colonial past and on-going political crises. By emphasizing the relationality of memory, agency and material histories from posthumanist perspectives, we foster dialogues on the legibility of corporeal experience, technologically-induced mobility, and the traumatic historical traces that have not yet been recognized. Our approaches include: examining media technologies as the prostheses of human memories; rethinking the environment as constructions mediated by distinctive perceptions; and reconfiguring human agency as a result of a collaboration with media of inscription.