Indigenism as a project: language politics and the hegemony of postcolonialism in Taiwan

Fang chih Irene Yang, Sam L.M. Mak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This essay investigates how Arif Dirk’s works are interpreted in Taiwan through the lens of language politics and argues that postcolonialism, the dominant epistemology, has been central in mediating the translation and interpretation of his works. It traces back the debates in the 1990s over postcolonialism and points out that postcolonial cultural hybridity has been used as the “unquestioned truth” to maintain the colonizer’s language and dismantle the nativist project of recovering lost languages and cultures. In this process, Dirlik’s works are appropriated to legitimize the colonizer’s status quo. This essay demonstrates how Dirlik’s engagement with “the colonial” in his later years helps to theorize contemporary forms of injustices committed by the nation state under global capitalism and offers a radical critique of our postcolonial present in Taiwan. By reading his critique of postcolonialism, we show how Dirlik’s works can be used to challenge the legitimacy of the ROC as a colonial state. By excavating his notion of indigenism and its spirit of utopianism, we hope to engage with the Tâi-gí movement in reviving a language that is on its way to extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-493
Number of pages21
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies


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