The selected representation of contested prison history: Memorial exhibitions and tourist experiences

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The Jing-Mei Detention Centre, Taipei, is one of the primary sites associated with the 'White Terror', which took place during the imposition of Martial Law in Taiwan (1949-1987), by the authoritarian post-war regime of Chiang Kai-shek. Taiwan's intelligence agencies violated civil rights and liberties. Suspects suffered arrest, interrogation, torture, trial, and imprisonment. The former detention centre has become Jing-Mei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park, which is one of two penal facilities dealing with the processing of political prisoners and for the suppression of activists who struggled for human rights. This study focuses on the interpretation by visitors of exhibitions at the site and the process of historical representation at the memorial park. The roles of the relevant parties were identified through interviews with former prisoners. The selection criteria, and the approaches to interpretation employed by the exhibition planners to represent a contested history, were examined. An analysis of visitor experiences and interaction with historical interpretation and layout in the exhibition demonstrated the visitors' disoriented, yet unified, perceptions. A model of prison history has been developed that selects the memories and materials used to depict the past, unifying the multiple layers of histories during the 'White Terror'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-819
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Conservation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


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