Friday, December 29, 2017

George Kerr on why he left his Vice Consul position

In Chapter 7 of Formosa Betrayed, George Kerr writes about two reports he sent to the US Embassy in Nanking:
Late in the year I sent along to the Embassy and the Department a secret coded supplementary report upon prominent personalities about town, and certain evident conflicts within the Taipei Government. My report evoked a telegraphic request for more detail, but this was construed to be a rebuke; I had committed an unpardonable bureaucratic sin by raising an issue which called attention to ourselves. 
My second semi-annual report for 1946 on social, political and economic conditions was endorsed, coded, and forwarded through Nanking, to Washington. It carried a warning that tensions within Formosa were near the breaking point, a violent crisis might be upon us at any time. The document was given a number and entered into our secret record book.
Later on, he writes that when he was in Nanking writing a "State paper" to be translated and given to Chiang Kai-shek, he made use of the December report "which had been endorsed and forwarded to the Embassy. But in the Embassy files I found also a brief, secret, unnumbered follow-up dispatch from Taipei which said in effect that the Embassy should not take my December predictions of impending crisis too seriously."

In an October 27, 1974 letter, Kerr expands more on this note and gives also some more context for why he left his position as Vice Consul. It is well-known that Consul Ralph Blake and Kerr did not see eye to eye on how to respond to the crisis in Taiwan. It's also commonly known that the KMT didn't want Kerr to stay on in his position. Hsiao-ting Lin,for instance, writes, "Chiang Kai-shek's officials acridly blamed George Kerr ... for instigating the islanders' rebellion against the Chinese rule, leading to Kerr's disgraceful recall." Kerr suggests, however, that it was he who made the final decision to leave:
In late 1946 I prepared a long Memorandum predicting a crisis at any moment, naming names and citing incidents. It was endorsed by Blake and forwarded to Nanking and Washington. But then Blake flew off to Nanking, leaving me in charge, where he urged that I be pulled out. When the crisis did occur, and I went to Nanking to report to Stuart, I was given access to the files in order to prepare the Memorandum which appears—severely censored to remove all references to Formosan appeals to the USA—in the White Paper. In the files I found an unnumbered Memo from Blake to the Embassy, sent along immediately after the endorsed December Memo, in which he strongly denigrated my report (which he had endorsed). When Stuart and Butterworth asked me to return to Formosa, I drew their attention to it, and on resigning the Service, pointed out that no man of integrity would serve under Blake under those circumstances. Blake knew that if he needed it, he could summon up that unnumbered Memo, but since it was not entered into our register of numbered, secret despatches, it could remain lost forever. (emphasis added)
Kerr suggests that despite his conflict with Blake, Ambassador Stuart and Counselor to the Embassy Butterworth still wanted Kerr to stay on in Taiwan.

(The memo Kerr refers to here appears to be different from the memo Blake attached to a later report, cited by Richard Bush, in which he criticizes Kerr's style of writing.)

Source: Letter to Jonathan Mirsky, available in the Okinawa Prefectural Archives.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The DPP's role in relaxing restrictions on cross-strait travel in 1987

I happened to watch the following video today and was interested to hear how the Democratic Progressive Party was involved in the 1987 movement to allow Mainlanders to return to visit family there. Most accounts that I've read, like that of Murray Rubinstein, depict the opening up of opportunities to visit family simply as one of Chiang Ching-kuo's reforms. Other accounts, like that of Shelley Rigger, emphasize the effects of that policy change.* 

This video depicts in more detail the process that veterans went through to gain the right to visit relatives in China. It describes the veterans' agonizing desire to know what happened to their families. As DPP official Yu Shyi-kun, who was a Taiwan provincial assemblyman at the time, says, "In addition to not being able to see family members, they couldn't even write letters to their relatives. So no one knew if they were dead or alive. Can you think of anything crueler than this?" And as veteran Liu Minguo says, "Soldiers have to listen to orders. ... In the military, if you're ordered not to do something, you can't do it. If they say it's white, it's white; if they say it's black, it's black." But according to the video, these soldiers (who became veterans) had to internalize their pain because they knew it was illegal even to express these feelings. (I've written before about how for some soldiers, such pain led to suicide and even murder.) 

According to the video, members of the dangwai ("Outside-the-(KMT)-party," which later became the DPP) decided to help these veterans try to contact their family by allowing them to send letters via their magazine, Progress magazine (前進周刊), and through the mailbox of then-dangwai legislator Xu Guotai. The program says that they helped send 300-400 letters.

After the veterans formed a "Association for the Promotion of Mainlanders to Return Home to Visit Relatives" (外省人返鄉探親促進會) and took to the streets to ask the KMT government to let them visit their families in China, the DPP voted to support the Mainlanders' attempts to return home. DPP politicians persistently asked KMT officials to allow the veterans to go home. But the KMT, most importantly President Chiang Ching-kuo, was afraid that such a policy would play into the PRC's plot to reunify under the Communists.

The veterans began to take to the streets, carrying signs, handing out leaflets, and organizing speeches to let Taiwanese know about their pain and to pressure the KMT to change its mind. On June 28, 1986, a meeting of the Association held in Taipei attracted over 20,000 supporters and officials from the KMT's intelligence bureau. The veterans' tearful songs about going home to find their mothers moved the audience to tears. At this point, according to the video, the veterans' tears and song were finally heard by Chiang Ching-kuo. In October of 1987, the Executive Yuan declared that Mainlanders with family in China could return to visit their relatives.

In the video, Yu Shyi-kun speculates that because the DPP was promoting this policy, Chiang Ching-kuo became concerned that if the KMT didn't pay attention to the veterans' request, it would lose the support of some of its most loyal followers. Tamkang University professor Chang Wu-Ueh (張五岳) agrees that the support of the DPP was vital to publicizing this issue and pressuring the KMT to change its policy.


* I did find a footnote in this 1999 article by Yu-Shan Wu that cites a 1998 book by Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮), 民進黨轉型之痛 (The DPP's Ordeal of Transformation, or as Wu translates it, The DPP's Agony of Transition). According to Wu, Kuo argues that "there was a period in the late 1980s of far-sighted pragmatism in the DPP's attitude toward the Chinese mainland. At this time, the DPP exposed the rigidities of the KMT's mainland policy, championed open communications with the mainland, and hoped that by unilaterally recognizing the PRC they would encourage Beijing to respect Taiwan's sovereignty" (568 n. 6).

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Three new books in the former native speaker's library

Haven't written anything here for a few months. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write much now, either. But I got three books in the mail today that I had ordered during the University of Hawai'i Press's big sale last month, and I wanted to share the joy:
The first two books cost only $5 each (and the second is a richly illustrated glossy-papered hardback). The third cost $45, but a total of $55 for three academic books is not too bad in my ... ummm... book.

I've got some other books to work on first (after I finish grading, some writing projects, and any other things that come up...), but I hope to dip into them soon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A story from One Family, Three Eras: Wu Bai and his Children

I have more to say about this book, but I'm going to start with a rough translation/paraphrase of the second chapter:
Early on in 《一個家族·三個時代:吳拜和他的子女們》 (One Family, Three Eras: Wu Bai and his Children) by 吳宏仁 (Wu Hongren, or Hong Jen Wu), Wu Bai is asked to stay after class by his fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Kimura. Two years older than his classmates, Wu Bai entered the second grade of the Japanese school in rural Tainan at the age of eleven. Although he started late, Wu is strong in math, and after two years of study, his Japanese is also very good. But the problem that Mr. Kimura faces with Wu and some of his classmates is their refusal to cut their queues. The principal at Kimura's school has been pressuring the teacher to force his students cut their queues, but Kimura wants to try reasoning with Wu in hopes that if Wu cuts his queue, his classmates will follow suit.
Mr. Kimura starts out with the standard argument that the queue is symbolic of the Manchu Qing dynasty's power over the Han people. Now, he tells Wu, there are those in China who want to overthrow the Qing (it's 1911) and Taiwan is already Japanese territory, so there is no connection between the Han of Taiwan and the Manchu Qing.
Wu's reply throws Kimura for a loop--he tells his teacher that his father says that even though the Manchus want the Han to grow queues, at least they don't force them to learn the Manchu language; in fact, they have learned and use Chinese. In addition, many Han people have become officials in the Qing state. "The Japanese..." he says, but stops. Kimura suddenly realizes that he is not only facing a teenage boy, but he's also confronting the boy's father. "How could this rural farmer understand these ideas?" he wonders.
Mr. Kimura tries another approach, reminding Wu about how the Japanese men of the Edo period wore their hair in topknots, which Wu agrees looked silly. Kimura goes on to describe how the Japanese men started cutting off their topknots in the Meiji period, connecting that change to Japan's modernization and suggesting that wasting time on one's hair, as the queue-wearing Han were doing, was comparable to opium smoking and foot binding. Though Wu is suspicious of this comparison, he finally decides to cut off his queue, an act which does in fact influence his classmates to cut off theirs.
What Mr. Kimura doesn't know, writes Wu Hongren, is that Wu Bai keeps his queue in his bookbag, taking it out on the way home and fixing it to his head with one of his mother's hair clips. He knows his father doesn't like the Japanese, and Wu Bai doesn't want him to find out. But as luck would have it, within a week his secret is revealed when his younger brother knocks Wu's queue off his head. Surprisingly, Wu's father doesn't get angry; rather, he says, "If you're going to their school, you can't ignore their rules--I understand." After a pause, he continues: "I just want you to remember two things: don't forget who you are, and don't try to deceive me."
Wu Bai reaches to pick up his queue. A thing that was so important earlier now doesn't seem to have any meaning at all.
(From pp. 34-37 of 《一個家族·三個時代:吳拜和他的子女們》 (One Family, Three Eras: Wu Bai and his Children) by 吳宏仁.)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections on disciplinary "linguistic landscape" assignment

It has been a couple of weeks since we finished the "disciplinary linguistic landscape" assignment that I asked students in my summer interdisciplinary writing course to do. I'm starting to put "linguistic landscape" in quotation marks because I'm not sure that in the end that would be an accurate description--I'm not sure the assignment did justice to the concept of linguistic landscape studies. That said, I do think the assignment was a useful entry into the course and to each other. I will have to tweak it the next time I teach the course, though.

We started out by reading the Latour & Woolgar chapter that I mentioned earlier. There are some challenging concepts in that chapter, such as "literary inscription" and "inscription devices," along with the authors' use of the terms "mythology" and "culture." We kind of stumbled around with some of those terms, and I'll probably have to take us more carefully through that chapter in the future (if I still use it). We actually didn't read the entire chapter because I wanted to focus more on the texts and uses of texts in the laboratory rather than getting into the way that papers were published and the kinds of statements used in the publications. (We are getting into that to some extent in the second project.)

After that, I teamed them up with people in different majors--I had an engineer working with a philosopher, another engineer and a finance major, an engineer with a graphic design major, an engineer with an accounting major and a communications major, etc. (we had a lot of engineers in this class!). I think I will keep this aspect of the assignment, though this time it meant that the presentations they did were pretty long--some of them going up to half an hour. The benefits were several:
  • students got to know someone from a different major (which will also be useful once they get to the third project, which is an interdisciplinary research assignment); 
  • they got to see--and look carefully at--spaces that they quite possibly hadn't noticed (or even seen) before; and 
  • they got a chance to compare the kinds of institutional resources (including the physical plant) another discipline might possess. 
One of my goals for this assignment was to highlight the idea that in talking about discplinarity and interdisciplinarity, we're not just talking about theories, perspectives, research methods, etc., but that it's also important to consider how disciplines occupy physical and institutional spaces in a university. Some students were rather shocked when they saw the differences between their department's space and that of their partner's department. (One amusing example was when the communications major, who was working with an accountant and a chemical engineering student, noticed that some of the offices in her department still had the signs of the room's previous occupant on the wall--in one case, the previous occupant was a chemical engineer!)

Challenges and Thoughts about Revision
One of the challenges for this assignment was helping students find a focus for their presentations. As I mentioned in the earlier post, my colleagues expressed concern that students would end up just showing slides of similar and different things that they saw in their departments. To some extent this did happen, and in the future I will probably need to ask them to be more "ruthless" with their picture-cutting during the revision process. I asked them to take as many pictures as possible at the beginning, but we do need to work more on cutting, arranging, and theoretically grounding discussions of the pictures we take.

I might also have to revise my sample slide presentation because it focused on only one discipline--rhetoric and composition, as reflected in the Writing Program in the English Department. It would be easier for them to imagine the assignment if I were to do an interdisciplinary comparison myself. I'll have to decide which discipline to use, though.

Another point about my sample slide presentation that led in unforeseen directions is that although I wanted students to focus on the physical buildings in which their disciplines/majors/fields were situated, I started off with a couple of slides pointing out how the page on the English Department website introducing the Writing Program describes the WP as "an intellectual home for the discipline of rhetoric and composition"--I included that to point out that the WP is depicted as a discipline (rather than, say, a "subdiscipline" or "area" of English studies) and to have a jumping-off point for talking about the way in which the discipline of rhetoric and composition is present (and not present) in physical spaces of the English Department. What I didn't expect was that students would also start off with discussions of their departments' or majors' websites. Some of these were more relevant and focused than others, but the websites' inclusion led to me start thinking about whether or not I should somehow incorporate the virtual spaces of the disciplines in the assignment. I'm hesitant to do that, if for no other reason than that it will make presentations even longer, but I'm still thinking about this.

All in all, I think this was a good assignment, though it needs some fine tuning. I think I'll try it again the next time I teach the interdisciplinary writing course.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

George Kerr: Teacher, sailor, poor man, ... spy?*

The claim that George H. Kerr was spying for the U.S. during his first period in Taiwan (1937-1940) has resurfaced, this time in a 2017 publication by respected historian Chen Tsui-lien (陳翠蓮), 《重構二二八:戰後美中體制、中國統治模式與臺灣》 (Reconstructing 228: The Postwar US-China System, China's Ruling Model, and Taiwan**).

Chen cites three sources that claim Kerr collected intelligence for the US during his time as a teacher in Japanese-controlled Taiwan. The first, Huang Jinan (or N̂g Kí-lâm [黃紀男]), wrote that Kerr was sent to Taiwan by the Central Intelligence Agency as a spy (臥低的間諜). Chen neglects to point out the problem with  N̂g's story: there was no CIA before 1947--even its precursor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) wasn't established until 1942 (the OSS's precursor, the Office of the Coordinator of Information, was established in 1941).

The second source, Wu Hongren's (吳宏仁) 一個家族。三個時代:吳拜和子女們 (which I am still reading after all these months!), says that after WWII, when someone asked Kerr about why US bombers avoided bombing Taipei First High School (台北高校), he admitted that he had been on a mission to collect intelligence about Taiwan during his time teaching there in 1937-40. However, the "someone" (有人) of whom Wu speaks isn't clear (in fact, it could very well be N̂g--Wu doesn't specify that it was a former student).

The third source that Chen uses is an indirect quote from Wang Chengxiang's (王呈祥)'s awful book, 《美國駐台北副領事葛超智與二二八事件》 (U.S. Vice-Consul in Taiwan George H. Kerr and the "228 Incident"). Wang at least points out that Kerr couldn't have been working for the CIA at that time, though somehow misses out on the fact that the OSS also didn't exist yet during Kerr's first time in Taiwan. Wang quotes a University of Hawaii professor, 鄭良偉 (Robert L. Cheng) who wrote (in a comment board post that is no longer available) that Kerr, who was living in an apartment overlooking Pearl Harbor, told Cheng that he often thought about how, with a heart full of righteousness and patriotism that let him overlook any danger, he went to the enemy territory of Taiwan, on the one hand to teach English, and on the other, to engage in secret field work to collect intelligence (滿腹的公義心及愛國心,讓他無視任何危險,前往敵國國境的台灣,一方面教英語,一方面進行秘密的田野工作,收集情報。) One problem with this statement is that in 1937, Taiwan (or even Japan) wasn't "enemy territory" yet, and unless Kerr was being anachronistic or had a bad memory by the time he talked to Cheng, he wouldn't have been motivated by Pearl Harbor in 1937.

The quote from Cheng in Wang goes on to say during the war, Kerr joined the US Defense Department and was sent to Taiwan. At the time he was publicly known as an English teacher, teaching at Taihoku Provincial College (which is now Taiwan Normal University) and many leaders in the Taiwan democratic movement (like Peng Mingmin) were students of his. (Wang notes in a footnote that Peng actually wasn't one of Kerr's students.) Kerr's "secret identity" was that of a  member of US Naval Intelligence. (在世界大戰期間,Kerr以他的專長學識,投入美國國防部。他被派到台灣。當時他在台灣的公開身份是英語教師,任教於高等學校(現在的師範大學前身),許多台灣的民主領袖(如彭明敏)都曾受教於他。他秘密的身份是美國海軍的情報員。) This account is so totally confused that it's hard to imagine it appearing in a serious history book. It appears to be suggesting either that Kerr was in Naval Intelligence before the US entered the war or that he was teaching English in Taiwan during the time that the US was fighting against Japan. Either way, it's not only factually inaccurate--it's patently ridiculous. I seriously doubt that this came from a conversation with Kerr, unless Kerr was having problems with his memory (or Robert Cheng was having trouble remembering the conversation).

Note that I'm not saying that Kerr didn't make use of his knowledge acquired in Taiwan once he did join Naval Intelligence. I'm also not saying that it's impossible that Kerr might have passed some information on to the US government while he was teaching in Taiwan (though I'm guessing that they would have done better to use a "spy" who could actually speak and read Japanese and/or Taiwanese). But there's no real evidence, as far as I know, that Kerr was "sent" by the US government to Taiwan in 1937 to collect information, and the evidence that has been given in Chen's book is not much more than confused hearsay. The rest of her book seems to be well-documented, and I hope it's more believable than this part.

I have another problem with Chen's interpretation of Kerr's motivations for pushing trusteeship and later independence for Taiwan, but I don't have time to get into that. Suffice it to say that in my view, Kerr's motivations were probably more complicated and changing than what Chen thinks. (She seems to believe that he was totally motivated by his loyalty to the US and its interests.)

*I'm using "sailor" loosely here to refer to the fact that Kerr worked in Naval Intelligence during WW2.

**I know, awful translation of the title.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Another book in the former native speaker's library

I started a post last month on the Taiwan Independence Movement, the assassination attempt on Chiang Ching-kuo, and George Kerr's reaction to it, but had to put it aside while we did some family traveling and I had to prepare for my summer class. Now I've started the summer term, so blogging will continue to be light.

I received a book today with a shipment my wife received from Taiwan. (I limited myself to one book--trying to practice self-control):

陳翠蓮,《重構二二八:戰後美中體制、中國統治模式與臺灣》. 衛城出版, 2017.

There are two excerpts posted on the website Thinking-Taiwan (here and here). Also, there's this review of both Chen's book and Hsiao-ting Lin's Accidental State (which I've written about before). The reviewer sees Chen's book as a good complement to Lin's. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Since I'm working on an introduction to a new edition of Formosa Betrayed, I'll probably start with chapter seven of Chen's book, which discusses the US and the 2-28 Incident, there's a section of about 15 pages on George Kerr and his ideas about trusteeship for Taiwan.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Update on the post-publication fate of Formosa Betrayed

About seven years ago I wrote about some of the theories going around regarding what happened to George H. Kerr's Formosa Betrayed after it was published in 1966 (copyright 1965). To summarize, the book was reprinted by Da Capo Press in 1976 in a more expensive "library edition." Some in the Taiwan Independence Movement believe that the book's copyright was somehow acquired by the KMT or some of its members/supporters. Kerr, for his part, was convinced that China scholar John King Fairbank persuaded Houghton Mifflin to sell the copyright to Da Capo Press because Fairbank was pro-China and wanted to marginalize Kerr's pro-Taiwan book.

As I said then, the idea that the KMT bought the copyright doesn't seem reasonable because if they wanted to suppress Formosa Betrayed, it doesn't make sense that they would go to the trouble of putting out a library edition (especially since they're also accused of having their "professional students" in the US steal the book from libraries). Kerr's belief that Fairbank would go to the trouble of convincing Houghton Mifflin to make a deal with Da Capo doesn't make sense for similar reasons.

After going through more of the records in the GHK collection at the Okinawa Prefectural Archives, I've come to the conclusion that Houghton Mifflin never "sold" the copyright of Formosa Betrayed to Da Capo (or the KMT or anyone else); they merely gave Da Capo permission to reprint the book in a library edition, probably because H-M had no intention of making new printings themselves (sales had declined by 1976). In fact, the Da Capo edition assigns the copyright to Kerr.

Here's the language of the relevant parts of the contract between H-M and Da Capo*:
AGREEMENT made this 25th day of February 1976 between DA CAPO PRESS, INC., ... hereinafter referred to as The Publisher, and Houghton Mifflin Company, ... hereinafter referred to as the Proprietor, concerning a work entitled:
hereinafter referred to as the Work.
Now, therefore, for and in consideration of their mutual promises and for other valuable consideration, receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the parties hereto agree as follows:
1. Proprietor warrants that it is the sole owner of the Work and of all rights granted to the Publisher under this agreement and that the book does not infringe upon any statutory or other copyright, or any right of others whatsoever; also that the book contains no matter which is contrary to law. ...
2. Proprietor hereby grants to the Publisher the sole and exclusive right for the term hereinafter stated [five years, stated in point 3] to publish and sell a hardcover edition of the Work in the English language throughout the United States, its dependencies and possessions, and Canada, and non-exclusively in the Open Market exclusive of the British Commonwealth as presently constituted including the Republics of South Africa and Eire.
9. The Publisher agrees to print on the copyright page of each book the copyright notices as contained in the Proprietor's edition and any new copyright information alsong with the phrase, "reprinted by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company."
10. All rights not specifically mentioned herein remain the property of the Proprietor.  
I'm not a copyright lawyer, but it looks to me as though Houghton Mifflin is keeping the copyright, not selling it to Da Capo.

I'm not sure, though, why the copyright on the Da Capo edition (see the link above) is in Kerr's name. I don't seem to have a copy of Kerr's contract with Houghton Mifflin, so I can't check it to see what they agreed to concerning the copyright ownership. However, the 1965 Catalog of Copyright Entries lists the copyright as belonging to Kerr:

I didn't find any copyright entry for Kerr's Formosa Betrayed after 1965. Nevertheless, after finding out about the deal that Houghton Mifflin had made with Da Capo, Kerr wrote to H-M on 10 May 1982, asking to have "all rights and interests" to Formosa Betrayed reverted to him, as allowed by his contract with the publisher.* Kerr wrote that he had not been notified of the agreement that H-M had made with Da Capo "until months after it had been concluded." After hearing from Da Capo in 1976 and receiving a copy of their edition in 1977, Kerr "heard nothing further on the status of the book" from Da Capo, but after he wrote to them in 1981, he received a check for $29.25 in royalties from H-M based on the sale of 13 copies of the book. As Kerr wrote, "Total sales of thirteen copies over a period of seven years can hardly be considered satisfactory to anyone concerned." Kerr then received another royalty statement in September, 1982 that indicated that seven more Da Capo Press editions had been sold in the previous six months.

As I wrote above, I'm no expert in copyright law, but I wonder if Kerr needed to do all this. Is it possible that he lost possible royalties (no matter how small) by having the rights reverted to him?

*Source of the contract and Kerr's letter to H-M: George H. Kerr papers, Okinawa Prefectural Archives.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Drafting a disciplinary linguistic landscape assignment (Was, Work on a new assignment for my summer interdisciplinary writing class

As I might have mentioned, I'm teaching a summer course in interdisciplinary writing, beginning in June. I've taught this course before, with what I'd consider to be mixed success. The course was inaugurated in the fall of 2014, and as I mentioned back then, in my experience it's ideally (though not necessarily in practice) populated by students from a variety of academic disciplines. At this point, though, it looks like I'm going to have a lot of engineering students in my section, which will make the "interdisciplinary" part of this a bit challenging. One thing that I've found, though, is that there are some interesting differences among the fields (sub-fields?) of industrial engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, etc. (I see that I've mentioned this before.) So I might try to take advantage of those differences to have students look into the interdisciplinarity of engineering.

In the past, I've had students start out by reading up on discourse communities and thinking about the implications of seeing their own disciplines as discourse communities, perhaps stretching the common definitions. For this class, though, I'm going to try to start off with a specific focus on the writing that goes on in their disciplines, in particular by asking students to look at their departments as physical, institutional, and textual spaces. I'm going to ask them to work in pairs (I want to put them in groups comprising students from different disciplines, which will be a challenge) and preparing a PPT presentation in which they'll describe, compare, and analyze the spaces occupied by their departments. Depending on how their departments are physically situated in the school, part of this would involve observing (and photographing) the buildings/hallways in which their departments are located. The other areas might be classrooms, laboratories, lounges, etc., that "belong" to their departments. I want them to pay special attention to the kinds of written texts that are displayed around those spaces and what those texts might tell them about how the department is trying to represent itself to insiders and outsiders. By texts, I'm thinking about not only displays of scholarly work (books, papers, poster presentations), but also signs, postings on bulletin boards, postings on faculty members' office doors, etc. I'm asking students to think about what these texts (including images) might say about what their discipline is "about"--what kinds of activities are valued in the department and how these activities help distinguish the department from or connect it to other departments or parts of the university.

I showed a draft of the assignment to Neal Lerner and Laurie Edwards, the director of the Writing Program and the director of the Advanced Writing in the Disciplines (AWD) program at my school. They kindly provided advice on revising the assignment; in particular, they warned that I should make sure that the students' products don't end up simply listing features and similarities and differences, but that these observed features also need to be analyzed in a theoretical context. So I'm working on revising the assignment to put more emphasis on analysis, and I'm trying to bring in some theoretical perspectives that will be accessible to the students without overwhelming them in the first week of the course.

In writing up this assignment, I've been drawing on several different (and probably incompatible!) sources: the field of linguistic landscape studies, John Swales' concept of "textography" (here's a re-review of Swales' book) and Latour & Woolgar's discussion of the anthropology of the laboratory life, as presented in "An Anthropologist Visits the Laboratory." Most of this material is relatively new to me (thanks to Neal Lerner for introducing me to Latour & Woolgar), but I'm doing my best to cobble it together in a way that will be accessible to students (particularly second-language learners).

I've found the slide presentation below from Dave Malinowski to be useful to me in framing the assignment from a linguistic landscape perspective. In particular, slides 18-20, 22, and 25-33 have been helpful.

One interdisciplinary aspect of this assignment is, of course, that I am asking students to view their own disciplines (or departments--and I know I'm "problematically" equating the two) from the perspective of another discipline (or disciplines! I'm not even sure!). That is, I'm asking them to look at their disciplines from a linguistic perspective, with the values of a linguist (or social scientist, more generally). I'll probably include a question about that in the reflection assignment that goes along with the general assignment.

I'll add more to this post (or add another post) later as I refine the assignment...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

George H. Kerr, Ryukyu: Kingdom and Province Before 1945 on

In their introduction to Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa, editors Davinder L. Bhowmik and Steve Rabson argue that in the 1950s and 60s, Okinawans' preference for Japanese control over U.S. occupation "grew extremely popular, with greater than 70 percent of the Okinawan electorate supporting reunification with Japan at a time when, in one of history's repetitions, U.S. occupation forces encouraged the flourishing of Ryukyuan culture in an effort to distance Okinawans from their mainland cousins" (4).

George H. Kerr took some role in this U.S. effort. Kerr had conducted research with SIRI (The Scientific Investigations of the Ryukyu Islands), a joint academic-military effort. Kerr expressed concern about the Okinawan desire to "revert" to Japanese control. Hidekazu Sensui quotes from a 1952 SIRI progress report in which Kerr worries that this movement "constitutes a threat to our position in political warfare" (qtd in 40). As part of the U.S. occupiers' efforts to distance Okinawans from the Japanese, Kerr was asked to write a history of the Ryukyus that would be translated into Japanese.

The English book was written, as Kerr notes in a foreword, "at the request of Brigadier General James M. Lewis, Civil Administrator for the Ryukyu Islands, who desired a text suitable for translation into the Japanese language for use at the University of the Ryukyus" (ii). Kerr's 1953 book, Ryukyu: Kingdom and Province Before 1945 (available on became the basis for Ryukyu no Rekishi.

In his short biographical essay about George H. Kerr (pdf), Tony Jenkins notes that
Okinawans of a certain generation variously celebrate or scorn George Kerr's Ryukyu no Rekishi (1956), which they were required or encouraged to read in their college days. It was, and still is, seen either as welcome international recognition of Okinawa's place in history, or as American propaganda, occasionally erroneous, that sought to divorce the 1950s Okinawan collective mentality from Japan. (3)
It would perhaps be understandable if the history of the Ryukyus that Kerr was writing was meant only for American civil administration. The fact that the U.S. Civil Administrator saw a need to have an American write a history of Ryukyu to be translated into Japanese was cause for suspicion among Okinawan academics, as Jenkins notes.

But Jenkins also argues that Kerr was at least somewhat aware of the complicated nature of Okinawan-Japanese relations--Kerr saw the Okinawans as needing to emphasize a more equal status with the Japanese mainland so that when Japan retook control of the islands, they wouldn't be treated as second-class citizens. This theme is also evident in the foreword to Ryukyu, where Kerr argues that "the people of Ryukyu are much more eager to be recognized and accepted as 'Japanese', than the people of Japan are ready or eager to claim them without reservation." He concludes,
Okinawa and its people have sometimes been likened to Texas and the Texans. They are proud of their tradition of former independence, and cherish special cultural characteristics which set them apart and give them self-respect. But like the Texans whose pride and patriotism as citizens of the United States should not be challenged, the people of Ryukyu consider themselves patriotic and true citizens of the larger unit, Japan. The attitude of the sophisticated Japanese of Tokyo toward the farmers and fishermen of Okinawa Province finds its parallel in the attitude of the native New Yorker toward the drawling, ranch-born cowhand on the most distant border ranges. With great reluctance the Okinawan will admit that the record shows Japan's discrimination in economics, politics, and social advantage. Nevertheless, the ties of race, common language, education, political and administrative institutions, and economy were and may be assumed to be permanent. (ii)
It would be interesting to know if any of these thoughts made it into the Japanese translation, though. Here's an interesting case where any changes between the English and Japanese versions would be a result of the U.S. civil administration's censors rather than "cultural" differences or censorship by the Japanese themselves.

[Update: Prof. Sensui noted on Facebook that the Japanese translation of the book included the foreword, which was "often quoted by Okinawan writers and politicians (Prof. Ota's was one of the earliest cases), though they usually skipped the part in which GHK drew comparison with Texans."]

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In which my translingual aphasia leads me to explore the origins of the term 五金行

Earlier this evening (or yesterday evening, depending on when I finish this), I was talking with someone who mentioned a store on the corner of a main street in a nearby town. I thought I knew which store it was, but instead of saying the word "hardware," I said, "Is it a five..." before I stopped myself. I wasn't thinking "five and dime"--actually I was trying to say "五金行" in English. (A more-or-less literal translation of "五金行" would be "five metals store.")

About an hour ago, I started to reflect on this and got to wondering what was wrong with me the origins of the term 五金行 were. First I checked the Chinese Wikipedia, but that didn't tell me much, though it did cite an article that's no longer available but evidently discussed a Ye Chengzhong (葉澄衷), who was known as the "hardware king" in late Qing Shanghai.This discovery led me to an English Wikipedia entry about Ye Chengzhong (!). This article links to a 2011 Xinhua News story about Ye, which tells about how he became the hardware king:
According to the book "The Century-Old Famous Factories and Stores in Shanghai" (1987), an American business man once hired Ye's boat for a ride in 1862. But he left behind a briefcase full of cash and valuables.

Ye waited for a long time for the owner to return the briefcase. When he did, he was greatly touched by Ye's honest. The American businessman helped him open the city's first hardware shop on Daming Road in Hongkou District, selling much-needed tools and suppliers to sailors and military personnel at premium prices.

As the hardware business boomed, Ye expanded into many areas, including finance, commerce, industry, shipping and education, and made important contributions before he died in 1899.
But this story, inspiring as it might be, didn't bring me any closer to finding out the origins of the term 五金行. And interestingly, according to Sherman Cochran's book Encountering Chinese Networks: Western, Japanese, and Chinese Corporations in China, 1880-1937 (University of California P, 2000), Ye's hardware store was called "Shunji Imports" (順記洋貨號)--no five metals mentioned there.

I went on to find an entry in the Chinese Yahoo! Knowledge where someone had asked why "five metal stores" were called that ("為什麼賣五金的地方要叫五金行"). According to a somewhat lengthy response to the question, the five metals are gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin (金、銀、銅、鐵、錫). The respondent goes on to say that metals that were most resistant to oxidation were the earliest to be discovered by humans and used for weapons and tools. The writer goes on to suggest a relationship between the five metals and the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth (金、木、水、火、土). Those of you interested in reading more about the five elements (or five phases), can check out Wikipedia for an introduction to Wu Xing (though I make no guarantees about its accuracy or readability).

This was all getting a little too abstract for me, though (especially since it's after 1 a.m.!), but I'm at least temporarily satisfied that even if I don't have a date for the earliest usage of 五金行, at least I have a little information on the term, which seems to be using some ancient terminology for modern purposes. An article in a 1922 issue of The Scientific Monthly also notes this interesting, ummm... element:

And that's where we'll end for now. I've exhausted most my options, including my old copy of Endymion Wilkinson. But I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Another addition to the former native speaker's library

Chang, Sung-sheng Yvonne, Michelle Yeh, and Ming-ju Fan, eds. The Columbia Sourcebook of Literary Taiwan. NY: Columbia UP, 2014.

It's important to note up front that this is not an anthology of Taiwanese literature; it's more like an anthology of Taiwanese literary theory and criticism. The book jacket lists a wide variety of texts that make up this volume's contents, including
seminal essays in literary debates, polemics, and other landmark events; interviews, diaries, and letters by major authors; critical and retrospective essays by influential writers, editors, and scholars; transcripts of historical speeches and conferences; literary-society manifestos and inaugural journal prefaces; and governmental policy pronouncements that have significantly influenced Taiwanese literature.
What the description that I've linked to above doesn't mention is that this book starts off with a 36-page introduction (including endnotes and bibliography) by Chang that lays out the historical background for the 160+ translated writings about Taiwan's developing literary scene. I'm looking forward to digging into this introduction--and into the anthology itself--in order to get a better understanding of the history of Taiwan's literary thought(s).

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author of The Jing Affair identified

A few years ago, I read a 1965 spy novel about Taiwan entitled The Jing Affair, after reading a scholarly article about it written by Chih-ming Wang. In The Jing Affair, a Taiwanese American pilot named Johnny Hsiao, along with what the book jacket describes as "a fistful of desperate men and women," engage in a secret mission to stop Free China's General Jing from secretly selling out Taiwan to the Reds for $30,000,000. The book gets praise from Mark Mancall, known for editing Formosa Today, a collection of essays on Taiwan published in 1964. Mancall writes,
Mr. Spencer has written a provocative and compelling novel, but The Jing Affair is more than a novel; it is a dramatization of unfolding history, as Spencer sees it. Whether or not the future will develop as Spencer describes it is not the question. His predictions might come true. What is important is that people who read this novel should beware; they may be forced to think.
As Wang points out, the novel also got a mention toward the end of  Douglas Mendel's The Politics of Formosan Nationalism (1970), where Mendel speculates on the future of Taiwan. Unlike Mancall, Mendel is skeptical of the possibility for Taiwanese revolution against the KMT, but he suggests that Spencer's idea that the US might intervene is more likely. "But," Mendel concludes, "if the mainland regime at that time were willing to deal with the United States, the latter might well accept the incorporation of Formosa as part of a larger arrangement ..." (231; Wang also quotes this sentence).

Mendel evidently had correspondence with Spencer, as he cites a letter from Spencer in which the novelist "admitted that 'in government circles mine is a rather lonely if no longer a dangerous point of view ... I can think of no other way [to defend the Formosan cause] ... in the framework of the U.S. national interest ... We would be better off with Formosa as the southermost [sic] province of Japan than as the easternmost province of China, and I believe even the Taiwanese would reluctantly concur'" (qtd. in Mendel 231). It's unclear whether Mendel knew Spencer's real identity or not.

Up until now, people who knew about this obscure novel probably didn't know much more about its author than what they got from The Jing Affair's book jacket, which describes the author as follows:
Mr. Spencer, who writes under a pseudonym, is presently with a U.S. government agency in a position concerned with Far Eastern affairs. He has spent more than twenty years in the Far East in various capacities, including stints as a newspaper correspondent. He has lived in Taiwan and knows the people and situations about which he writes.
Googling the novel's title today took me to a new memoir by Danielle Flood entitled The Unquiet Daughter (a clear and important reference to Graham Greene's The Quiet American). A newspaper article about Flood describes her story as "involv[ing] a real-life love triangle that became the basis of British novelist Graham Greene’s classic 'The Quiet American.' ... In real life, [the novel's three main characters] are Flood’s parents: her biological mother, of French and Vietnamese descent, her biological British father, whom she tracked for years, and the man she knew as her father, an American named Jim Flood." The article goes on to say, "In the early 1950s, Jim Flood worked as an American foreign officer in what would become the first U.S. Embassy in Saigon. She suspects, but cannot prove, that he worked for the C.I.A." After Danielle Flood found out from her mother that Jim Flood wasn't her biological father, she started a long search for her father.

I haven't read Flood's memoirs yet, but I came across a reference to The Jing Affair in the Google Books version of The Unquiet Daughter. Flood writes,
The first thing I read when I got back to New York from Washington [where she visited her father] is Dad's novel, The Jing Affair, published by Funk and Wagnalls three years earlier under the pseudonym, D.J. Spencer, Spencer being his mother's maiden name. 
It's a lot for me to follow. It would be decades before I could catch up to Dad's knowledge of: the intelligence community; how its members go about causing insurrection and mini-wars that can lead to big wars; the inner workings of the U.S. government in Washington and abroad; the history of Taiwan, China [sic]; and of Chinese curses even.
So now I know the real name of "D.J. Spencer": James Flood. And I also have another book to buy (and read, sooner or later!).

[Update] Ha! Turns out all I would have had to do is go to the 1965 Catalogue of Copyright Entries and looked up the novel's title! There it is, as plain as day. So much for getting protection through pseudonymity (pseudonymousness?)... Of course, I would have had no idea who James Flood actually was.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

New writing project

It seems that I have added a new writing project to my list of things to do during the summer. I am going to be purposely vague about it at this point, but I can say it involves some people that I've worked pleasantly with before, a subject that I enjoy writing about, and a time frame that... well, it forces me to focus during the remaining moments of my vacation. (I start teaching my summer classes on July 3.)

I'm getting started on that, and still trying to get through the book about the three generations of Wu Bai's family (that's 吳拜, not 伍佰). I also have to get ready for that new fall course I'm teaching. So I'd better stay off Facebook for awhile!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Another new book in the former native speaker's library

This is a two-volume boxed set, published privately in 1966 by Felix Tardio while he was in Taiwan. The first volume, Mr. Tardio Sees Taiwan: A Critical Look at the Physical Environment of Taiwan, consists of essays, poems, and some drawings about Taiwan's architecture. Volume Two, Mr. Tardio Draws Taiwan: Sketches of Taiwan, consists of reproductions of drawings that he did of the physical environment. I went in search of this book when I saw it mentioned in A Borrowed Voice: Taiwan Human Rights through international Networks, 1960-1980. According to the printing information inside Volume One, the print run was 600 copies, and mine is copy number 546. It's signed by the author.

Tardio's bio is printed at the end of Volume Two:
Mr. Felix Tardio has been in Taiwan since 1963. During that time he served as Assistant Professor at Tunghai University in 1963/64, Associate Professor of Architecture at Tunghai in 1964/65, and one semester each at Chung Yuan College and the Chinese Culture Institute in 1965/66.
The summers between school years were spent travelling in Asia, Europe, and the US.
He received his education at the Department of Architecture of the University of Notre Dame and at the Graduate Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in Pennsylvania, Mr. Tardio worked for various Architects in New York for five years prior to coming to Taiwan, and now considers New York City his home.
There doesn't appear to be much else information about Tardio online, but from what I can find, he was born in 1934 and died in Pennsylvania in 2011.

These books have been mentioned in a book by 李志銘 entitled 舊書浪漫:讀閱趣與淘書樂. Joseph R. Allen also quoted from Tardio in his book, Taipei: A City of Displacements, calling his depiction of Taipei's architecture "scathing" (44).

More on this as I (gingerly) page through it...

Update (5/5/17): A Facebook friend pointed to me this (Chinese-language) discussion on Facebook. The poster has done me the favor of scanning the images from the second volume. Some of the discussion is about the locations of the buildings in the drawings, but there's also some discussion about Tardio, including a link to pictures of Tardio when he was in college. They're interested in finding out how they might get the rights to translate and publish the book, but Tardio is dead and apparently didn't have any descendants.

Here is Lynn Miles on Tardio (from A Borrowed Voice, pp. 22-24):
... Felix Tardio ... was bringing his teaching stint at Tunghai to a close so that he could devote full time to the writing of a book on Taiwan's architecture, which he found fascinating, delightful, ridiculous and dreadful. By early spring 1966 Tardio had moved to Taipei, where he burned the midnight oil, putting the last touch to his drawings, soon to become the book-length companion to a volume of drawings that had been accepted for publication by some Taipei printing house which probably had no idea what it was getting into. Both of them were to be a critique--serious in the prose but riotous in the Art--of Taiwan's Architecture (both A-words capitalized throughout). ...
... Felix was holed up in a funky Japanese-era hotel, the Fukuo, at 13 Hsinyang Street, just off Kuanchien Road, in the old Japanese-built section of Taipei between New Park and the railway section. I still have a vivid mental picture of the morning sun glancing off the huge waxy leaves of some tropical tree just outside his window. Tardio had his windows thrown wide open to catch the early spring air, but leftover winter chill still called for multiple layers of clothing. Big of build, he wore a turtleneck sweater under a corduroy jacket, elbows sporting patches, pocket full of pens. His trademark was a full, handlebar mustache and dark curly hair, reminding some of the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, and others of the American comedian and popular talk-show host, Groucho Marx.
But when it came to humor, he was squarely in the Groucho Marx camp. He kept Jack [Cooper] in stitches with his tales of ongoing battles with Government Information Office censors over the deletion or "correction" of every last word. He showed us some of the passages which the GIO deemed impermissible. Naturally, all of them were criticisms of the ruling powers--these "misunderstandings" of his that in their eyes needed "correcting" before the book could go to press.
The discussion of Tardio continues on page 24, but I want to encourage you to get a copy of the book--it's fascinating reading overall. Contact Dr. Linda Gail Arrigo if you're interested.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Thoughts and Questions on the use of Chinese-language scholarship by historians of Taiwan writing in English

(Terrible title, I know.)

In Michael Turton's [no longer] recent post about questions historians have neglected to ask about Chiang Kai-shek's prior knowledge of the situation in colonial Taiwan, he attaches a long reader comment that begins, "Actually quite some research has been done on the [KMT's] preparation committee [for governing Taiwan after the war] you mention (especially by Taiwanese historians and published in Chinese)." In a parenthetical response, Turton implies that because of the language of that historical research, "its influence on the construction of the discourse on KMT entry into Taiwan is limited." This comment set me a-thinking (always a dangerous thing).

Turton's post starts out with George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed, which seems appropriate considering the book's influence both on English-language writing about modern Taiwan and on the Taiwanese independence movement itself. (For instance, in 一個家族。三個時代:吳拜和子女們, author 吳宏仁 describes Kerr's book as having given momentum to the Taiwan independence movement, particularly among overseas Taiwanese: 「該書的出版對台獨運動的興盛,特別是在美國的台獨運動,有推波助瀾的作用。」) As I wrote in an earlier post. the translation of Formosa Betrayed into Chinese provided the book with a new audience not only for Kerr's perspectives, but also for a new perspective on Kerr's narrative--the justification for why Taiwanese had to save themselves (「人不先自救,誰會救我?」). One thing that I didn't say was that when Kerr was corresponding with his editors at Houghton Mifflin about possible audiences for the book, he mentioned the potential for a Japanese translation, but the idea of a Chinese translation is conspicuously absent.

There are, of course, historical reasons for the influence of English and Japanese on historical writing about Taiwan. Many Taiwanese exiles settled in the United States and Japan, for one thing. In the case of Japanese, for instance, in addition to all of the colonial-era writings in Japanese about Taiwan, Japanese is the first language in which important books about Taiwan like Su Beng's Taiwan's 400-Year History and Ong Iok-tek's  Taiwan: A History of Agonies were published. In addition, there are the strong historical ties between the United States government and Taiwan (especially during the Cold War), etc.

Moving up to the present, however, and getting back to the "itch" that I got as a result of reading about the "limited" influence of Chinese-language historical research on "the construction of the discourse on KMT entry into Taiwan," I've been turning this idea over in my mind for the past couple of months, and I'm led to a couple of questions regarding 1) the use of Chinese-language sources (particularly scholarly sources) in English-language historical work on post-WWII Taiwan, and 2) the whole issue of whose "discourse on KMT entry into Taiwan" counts, and for what.* How much do historians of Taiwan who are writing in English cite other academic sources (particularly ones in Chinese)? (By "academic sources," I mean recent academic research rather than primary sources.) And whose research counts?

To take a stab at starting to answer the first question, I did some amateur (emphasis mine) citation analysis of two English-language books about Taiwanese history to see how much they cite Chinese-language scholarship. For the sake of using sources more closely related to the topic being discussed in Michael Turton's post (quoted at the top), I looked at a couple of relatively recent books I had handy: Steven E. Phillips (2003) Between Assimilation and Independence: The Taiwanese Encounter Nationalist China, 1945-1950 (Stanford) and  Hsiao-ting Lin (2016) Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan (Harvard). My method: simply count the sources in the bibliographies.

Since these are academic histories, they rely primarily on archival sources, but I ignored these to focus on their use of published English- and Chinese-language sources. Both books' bibliographies helpfully separate Chinese- and English-languages sources, making counting easier. Here are my rough counts:

Phillips (2003)
Lin (2016)
Chinese sources
English sources
Post-1987 Chinese
100 (49%)
53 (77%)
Post-1987 English
64 (34%)
103 (68%)
Post-1987 “Scholarly” Chinese
88 (43%)
45 (65%) (including some collections of data, etc.)
Post-1987 “Scholarly” English
54 (29%)
98 (64%)

A few points about my counts:

  • They're rough counts (in other words, they might not be perfect).
  • I chose 1987 as the cut-off date somewhat randomly; I originally thought of focusing on sources published up to 10 years before the publication dates of the books I was looking at, but I decided to go with the the official end of martial law as a cut-off date instead. (Maybe if I get the energy, I'll go back and do the 10 years thing.)
  • I realize there's an implied comparison of these two books, but I don't mean to say anything about the quality of these books; as I mentioned earlier, they are both relying heavily on archival resources.
  • It looks like more of the published sources that Lin is using--in both languages--are relatively new (post-1987), though in raw numbers, Phillips uses more post-1987 Chinese-language sources. 
  • Phillips' Chinese sources (narrowly) outnumber his English sources. This is in line with a comment in his preface expressing his hope that the book would "help alert historians in the United States to the efforts of scholars on Taiwan" (x). He seems to have anticipated the question of how to help make Chinese-language scholarship more visible to US scholars. (What that means about how influential they might be on "the discourse" about the KMT's entry into Taiwan is still an open question, however, for the very reason that we haven't yet answered the question of whose discourse is the discourse.)
  • I'm not saying anything about the quality of the sources they're using. Elsewhere, I've critiqued Lin's choice of sources for discussing the White Terror, but I'm not going to evaluate their sources here. That's perhaps material for another post. (Interestingly, Lin doesn't cite Phillips, even though they're writing on related topics.)

Another related question to this issue of citation and recent Taiwan history: How much do historians of Taiwan who are writing in Chinese cite other academic sources (particularly ones in English)? I haven't yet gotten into this side of the issue, but I found two articles by Mu-Hsuan Huang that discuss citation practices in historical journals published in Taiwan:

No conclusions here. Just half-formed thoughts. I don't really have the tools at hand to do a large-scale analysis of recent scholarship on Taiwan history, but perhaps this post will inspire someone else to do more detailed research on this topic.

As far as the second question above--about whose discourse, or rather whose research counts in developing a discourse about postwar Taiwan, that will have to be the subject of another post.

* I started writing this shortly after Turton published his post. Now thinking about it again, I'm wondering if his comment about "the discourse on KMT entry into Taiwan" is referring to gap between academic historical research and popular/political discourse. That might be another way of reading it. (Though I suppose I could just ask him!)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sort of semi-annual end of the semester post

We had the last day of class yesterday, so I now have to get caught up on grading so that I can turn in final grades before the due date. Fortunately, I don't have to give any final exams, so I don't have that to worry about. (I should be working on grading now, but for some reason I can't access Blackboard.)

Once I get my grading done, I want to work on a few projects, including revisions on a paper that I've been writing on and off since 2013 and a few blog posts on various topics. One post that I'm writing concerns some questions I have about the circulation of English- and Chinese-language research on recent Taiwan history. Basically, I'm wondering how much researchers writing in Chinese are using recent English-language research, and vice versa. I don't have the resources to do really involved citation analysis, though. I've found a couple of English-language articles about Taiwanese journals' citations of English-language journals, but they're not talking specifically about Taiwanese history.

I also have to start thinking about the two writing courses I'll be teaching the second summer session. I'm supposed to teach one section of first-year writing for multilingual writers, and I'm thinking that I want to try something different (or perhaps go back to something different). I think I've exhausted--or I'm exhausted by--the work on the university's Academic Plan.

I'm also going to be teaching a new course (for me) next fall: "Writing in Global Contexts." The official course description (with one slight correction from me) reads,
Explores the various ways that linguistic diversity shapes our everyday, academic, and professional lives. Offers students an opportunity to learn about language policy, the changing place of World English[es] in globalization, and what contemporary theories of linguistic diversity, such as translingualism, mean for writing. Invites students to explore their own multilingual communities or histories through empirical or archival research.
The previous instructor, Mya Poe, has provided me with her course materials, so I need to spend some time studying them and thinking about what I might do similarly and differently. I'm thinking of trying to do some cross-course projects if I can also teach First-year Writing for Multilingual Writers next fall. I'm also thinking about something related to the use of sources in other languages when writing. I had some thoughts about this after reading Ingrid Piller's article, "Monolingual Ways of Seeing Multilingualism," in which she critiques monolingual (and English) biases in the ways that multilingualism is discussed in academic research. I was also thinking about my conference paper, "Formosa Translated," and what it suggests about the uses of translation for different audiences and contexts. I recall that Xiaosui Xiao wrote a couple of articles back in the mid-1990s about the rhetoric of translations between English and Chinese:

  • Xiao, Xiaosui. "China Encounters Darwinism: A Case of Intercultural Rhetoric." Quarterly Journal of Speech 81.1 (1995): 83-99.
    Abstract: "An important but neglected path to understanding intercultural communication is to explore how influential works of one culture are adapted to the needs, circumstances and thought patterns of another. Yan Fu's Heavenly Evolution, a rhetorical 'translation' of Thomas Huxley's Evolution and Ethics, the publication of which resulted in a rapid spread of a version of Darwinism in Confucian China at the turn of this century, is analyzed as a case study. It shows the conditions for the rhetorical role of the native interpreter in dealing with Darwinian ideas and terms that were originally in conflict with Chinese modes of thought."
  • Xiao, Xiaosui. "From the Hierarchical Ren to Egalitarianism: A Case of Cross‐cultural Rhetorical Mediation." Quarterly Journal of Speech 82.1 (1996): 38-54. 
    Abstract: "A Study of Humanity (Ren), the first Chinese 'manifesto of egalitarianism,' written by Tan Sitong in 1896–97, was one of the most important spiritual contributions to the republican movement toward the end of China's last imperial dynasty. This essay argues that the particular persuasiveness of its nontraditional egalitarian argument is explained by the writer's skills in exploiting the humanistic and organic ethos of Chinese tradition. This case reveals the interaction of rhetoric and culture. It shows how a dynamic process of rhetorical mediation led to change and also how the fundamental experience of Chinese culture remained intact as long as the Confucian organic world views remained operative in dictating the writer's choice of the appropriate channels, means, and modes of moderation."
Anyway, I have to do some thinking about all this over the break.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Posting on the last day of March

Nothing really to say right now--or rather, I should say that I have a lot to say, but no time to write. I hope to have a few things to add to this blog once classes are over in April. Right now I'm up to my ears in grading...

I should mention that I've been adding some new blogs that look interesting to my blog list, like "Translating Taiwanese Literature." I don't want that list to get too long, though, so I might have to weed out a few blogs or narrow the focus. It seems that I have several Asian book- or lit-related blogs. Maybe that can be a focus. Any suggestions for other blogs to link to? (Or ones to delete?)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

End of spring break review

My spring break is almost over--classes will start again on Monday. Ironically, perhaps, there's a possibility that we'll have a snow day on Wednesday due to a Nor'easter that's supposed to hit Tuesday. (I know, I know, Garrison Keillor would say, "Snow is soft!" Well, not when it's being blown into your face by heavy winds.)

I got a few things done over the vacation, though. I finished grading some assignments that I had put on hold because of a couple of lectures that I had to prepare for in late February. One was an invited talk for my friend and former Tunghai colleague John Shufelt, who's teaching a course on American writings about Taiwan at Brown; the other was a talk at a 70th anniversary commemoration of 228 run by the Taiwanese American Association of New York. (Here's an article about the meeting, written by Grace Jackson.) It was a challenge, but a good experience, to take what I had written about Kerr and Sneider and recast it for different kinds of audiences--in the first case, undergraduates, and in the second, survivors of the White Terror and their descendants.

In addition to getting the grading done, I finished my reflective self-criticismevaluation that is required of us every year. Here's an image I used in the document, based on a comment from a student evaluation.

(As you can see, these self-evaluations are not expected to be excessively formal documents. At least I hope they're not!)

I also started reading 一個家族。三個時代:吳拜和子女們, which is looking to be a very interesting book. I hope to write something about it here once I get it done. (Which might take some time--it's over 400 pages. The language isn't too difficult, though, at least so far.) Lately on Facebook I've been seeing a lot of books mentioned that I'd like to read, including a proposed 9-volume set of the writings of 張炎憲, whose oral history about Taiwanese graduate students in the US was very useful for me in my research (see the post below)--if it weren't for that book, I might not have ever known about the debate (I prefer to call it the "battle of the pens") at KSU back in the 1960s between the pro-independence Taiwanese students and their pro-KMT counterparts and the role Formosa Betrayed played in that debate.

Well, now that the break is ending, I have to get back into teaching mode, so much of this will have to go on the back burner until May.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Taiwanese in Post WWII Korea?

I've been thinking about the author's note for Vern Sneider's 1950 short story, "A Pail of Oysters," that was published in the Antioch Review. It notes that Sneider first met Taiwanese in Korea:
In early 1945 he served as area supervisor of Tobaru, a village of 5,000, on Okinawa, and later went to Korea where he was given charge of the education and welfare sections of Kyongi Province, which contains Seoul. It was on the last job that he first came to know well the various Chinese groups from whom he gathered the material for the present story.  “Whether they were Fukien, Hakka, or Pepohuan,” says Mr. Sneider, “their grievances against the soldiery were always the same.” Afterward, he and a group of Chinese intended to create a fishing fleet, build food processing plants on the Pescadores Islands off Formosa, and distribute their products through the East. The situation became too “chaotic,” and he came home where for the past three years he has been trying to “bring the desperate plight of Asia to light through fiction.”
My question is about what these "Chinese groups" were doing in Korea? Were they former soldiers for the Japanese empire? POWs?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Formosa Translated: Rhetorical Ecologies and the Transcoding of Formosa Betrayed

This paper was presented in absentia at the 20th anniversary conference of the North American Taiwan Studies Association, Madison, WI, USA, June 20, 2014. I decided to post a lightly edited version of the oral script and the images here for feedback. Because this was presented at a Taiwan Studies conference, and not at a rhetoric conference, I felt I had to give an introduction to some of the ways that rhetoricians have discussed the concept of "the rhetorical situation." Comments welcome!

Formosa Translated: Rhetorical Ecologies and the Transcoding of Formosa Betrayed

I want to start out by saying a few things about the concept of rhetorical ecologies as it has been developed by Jenny Edbauer, before using it to talk about George Kerr's 1965 book, Formosa Betrayed.

To talk about rhetorical ecologies, I need to start out by talking about rhetorical situations, because Edbauer’s article adds to the body of work in rhetorical studies about rhetorical situations. So to start out, in 1968, Lloyd Bitzer published an article entitled “The Rhetorical Situation” in which he argued that rhetoric is situational, by which he meant that a speaker, or rhetor, in creating a speech or writing a text, is responding to--is actually dependent upon--an outside, objectively visible situation or exigence. So as Bitzer defines it, an exigence is “an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing which is other than it should be” (6). In the case of a rhetorical situation, an exigence is an imperfection that calls for a rhetorical response--a response in discourse. Now he says that people might not necessarily recognize an exigence, or that the audience might not be convinced by the rhetor that the exigence is something that needs to be addressed or that the rhetor’s approach to addressing the exigence is the correct one. In those cases, Bitzer would say that the rhetor didn’t deliver a fitting response, or that the rhetor didn’t locate the appropriate rhetorical audience, or that the rhetorical situation had “decayed”--had passed its prime--or some combination of these factors.

If we think about George H. Kerr’s book Formosa Betrayed in terms of the rhetorical situation, there are a number of interesting points that could be made. One is the fact that although the book’s main focus is on the February 28 Incident of 1947, Formosa Betrayed itself wasn’t published until almost 20 years later. As Kerr tells it in several letters, including some to people at Houghton Mifflin, he had started working on a book about 2-28 almost immediately upon his return to the United States in 1947. He wanted to get the book out as soon as possible; as he puts it, he “advocated intervention before Chiang Kai-shek should move to Formosa and entrench himself.” Because of this, when the potential publishers at the time sent the manuscript to the State Department, the government objected to the book and its publication was basically killed. So the original exigence seems to have been the takeover of Taiwan by the KMT and the imminent retreat of Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan. However, Kerr’s rhetorical response was delivered to the wrong audience (interestingly, though, this was not of his own doing), and the message was killed. As Kerr puts it in response to an author questionnaire, “By 1950 it was too late; McCarthy was rising, and by the time I had retrieved my MS (not without difficulty) it was not possible to get a hearing.” In Bitzer’s words, the rhetorical situation had “decayed” because by 1950 Chiang was already settled in Taiwan, and the McCarthy era made it impossible for Kerr to get an audience.

Kerr argued in 1964 that the issue of Taiwan was “still one capable of rousing tremendous controversy” even after so many years, and “if there is a succession crisis at Taipei or a noisy debate in the UN, we may be bringing something on the market at just the right moment.” The question for rhetoricians at this point is whether we’re still looking at a situation that is controlling the rhetor’s response or at something else.

Richard Vatz, in a 1973 response to Lloyd Bitzer, argued that Bitzer had everything backwards. Rhetoric is not situational, Vatz argued, but rather “situations are rhetorical.” The rhetoric, or the rhetor, controls what counts as a situation through the choosing of “salient” facts or events. According to Vatz’s view, the rhetorical situation of Formosa Betrayed can be seen as one that Kerr, as rhetor, was creating, rather than an objective reality independent of Kerr’s response to it. Kerr is put in the driver’s seat according to this theory. While Kerr himself would probably subscribe to Bitzer’s theory of the rhetorical situation, judging from his frequent invocation of timing in regards to publishing his book, a Vatzian view of the rhetorical situation is also arguably valid when we think about how Kerr makes his argument to the publishers that this book can “rous[e] tremendous controversy,” suggesting that his book was not simply a response to an objective, outside exigence.

Over the years, there have been other contributions to the discussion of rhetorical situations, but for the sake of time I’m going to skip ahead now to Jenny Edbauer’s 2005 article on rhetorical ecologies, in which she argues that rhetoric operates in a wider context than that of the single situation. In her view, “Rhetorical situations involve the amalgamation and mixture of many different events and happenings that are not properly segmented into audience, text, or rhetorician” (20). Therefore,
an ecological augmentation adopts a view toward the processes and events that extend beyond the limited boundaries of elements. One potential value of such a shifted focus is the way we view counter-rhetorics, issues of cooptation, and strategies of rhetorical production and circulation. Moreover, we can begin to recognize the way rhetorics are held together trans-situationally, as well as the effects of trans-situationality on rhetorical circulation. (20)
An ecological view of rhetoric can take us beyond arguments about whether an exigence called forth Kerr’s rhetorical response or Kerr created the exigence through rhetoric; it allows us to see Formosa Betrayed as part of a process of production and circulation rather than as one speaker’s rhetorical act, addressing one audience in one situation. Here I want to point out a few examples and implications of this perspective.

Around the time that Kerr’s book came out in early 1966, a pro-KMT slide presentation by Margaret Baker, entitled “Portrait of a Free China,” sparked a “battle of the pens” between pro-independence and pro-KMT students from Taiwan in the pages of the Kansas State Collegian student newspaper. Kansas State University, as described by Michael Chen ((陳希寬), was a hotbed of Taiwan independence activity, although participants had to be careful lest their identities be known to pro-KMT elements (in Zhang and Zeng). Reaction to Baker’s presentation was swift, and the debate brought in many speakers, such as American students and scholars (like Douglas Mendel), pro-KMT students (whose names were printed) and pro-independence students (who asked to remain anonymous). On the nineteenth and twentieth anniversaries of 228, Taiwanese students at KSU posted half-page and full-page ads commemorating the massacre.

Ad placed in Monday, February 28, 1966 issue of the Kansas State Collegian, on the nineteenth anniversary of 2-28.
Image courtesy of Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

While the first ad quotes briefly from Formosa Betrayed, it is the second ad that I want to focus on first, because of how its image echoes the image on the dust jacket of Kerr’s book.

Full-page ad placed in Tuesday, February 28, 1967 issue of the Kansas State Collegian, on the twentieth anniversary of 2-28. Image courtesy of Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.
Kerr had not been particularly pleased with that dust jacket, complaining that it gave the book “a cheap and tawdry look” and that “serious readers in search of information concerning our Asian position will be put off by a garish or tawdry exterior.”

Cover of Formosa Betrayed.
However, the image of the dagger from the dust jacket became the symbol that the Taiwanese KSU alumni latched onto to illustrate their 228 anniversary advertisement. The image served for them as a dramatic symbol of the ruthlessness with which the Nationalist Army attacked and killed the “more than 10,000 unarmed and innocent Formosan Brethren who stood up against Chinese tyranny.” The anonymous KSU alumni “vernacularized” Kerr’s text through their adaptation of the dust jacket. Kerr evidently had been hoping to present a more-or-less objective “report” on conditions in Taiwan and felt that emotionalism was to be avoided as much as possible in the presentation (not that he succeeded), but the Taiwanese KSU alumni embraced the use of appeals to pathos as part of their effort to reach out to their American (and Taiwanese) classmates. It is also important to notice that in this case Formosa Betrayed--and Kerr himself--became more than a reference to a particular book. The KSU alumni “re-authored” Formosa Betrayed by taking the title--a title Kerr wasn’t particularly pleased with--and the cover image and focusing on the affective impact of those elements in their presentations.

That use of pathos translates into an affective vernacular the universalizing tendencies of Kerr’s human rights discourse (his “report” to his general American audience--and particularly his audience of US officials). Formosa Betrayed thus went beyond being simply an isolated rhetorical act and became part of a rhetorical ecology where local forces struggled over the identity and future of Taiwan.

Image courtesy of Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.
As I rethought the idea of rhetorical ecologies, I noticed an example of a “neighboring event,” as Edbauer calls it, on the newspaper page on which the 1966 ad appeared. If you look above the ad, you see three articles about the war in Vietnam--one reporting on “failed Viet Cong assaults” against the US, one discussing a debate between Robert Kennedy and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and one on President Johnson’s hope that Congress would approve a renewal of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. For the sake of time, I’ll just discuss the first two. The first article ends with a mention of “Operation White Wing-Masher” carried out by the US 1st Air Cavalry Division. The article doesn’t mention this, but name of the operation, originally just “Masher,” was changed to “White Wing” at the insistence of President Johnson for PR reasons. It resulted in over 2000 Viet Cong deaths. It also sparked a renewed focus on civilian deaths in Vietnam when, according to William M. Hammond, “charges began circulating in Congress and the press that Operation Masher/White Wing had produced six civilian casualties for every Viet Cong” (266), an accusation protested by the US mission in Saigon.

The second article ends with a quote from Hubert Humphrey who, in response to a suggestion by Kennedy that the Communists might end up participating in the governing of South Vietnam, argued that “Americans would not want a group such as the Viet Cong to be able to shoot their way to power. ‘Banditry and murder’ should not be rewarded, he declared.”

I want to use this serendipitous juxtaposition of the “Massacre at Formosa” ad and the articles above it to think about the rhetorical situation here. Clearly in the traditional Bitzerian sense of rhetorical situations, we would have here two separate exigencies that called for the different rhetors--let’s say the Taiwanese KSU students and Vice President Humphrey--to respond to with a fitting rhetorical response. Bitzer does allow for situations to “become weakened in structure due to complexity or disconnectedness,” as when “two or more simultaneous rhetorical situations may compete for our attention” or when “persons composing the audience of situation A may also be the audience of situations B, C, and D” (12). However, the juxtaposition of these two situations might better serve to show how the ecological perspective on rhetorics can allow us to see both counter-rhetorics at work and what Edbauer calls “the effects of trans-situationality on rhetorical circulation.” The Taiwanese students’ ad calls into question Hubert Humphrey’s declaration that Americans don’t reward “banditry and murder” by quoting John King Fairbank, who wrote that “[t]he United States kept hands off, while rapacious Nationalists despoiled Taiwan as conquered territory,” and George Kerr, who wrote in Formosa Betrayed that Chiang Kai-shek’s response to Taiwanese demands “was a massacre.”

Notably, this kind of approach calls for a reader who has not been already situated as an audience for simply one situation or the other. Unlike with Bitzer’s “weakened” rhetorical situation, however, I’d argue that this approach to reading the circulation of rhetorics regarding the US role in Asia is productive. Edbauer’s concept of rhetorical ecologies gives us the opportunity to think about different possible ways through which Kerr’s rhetoric about Taiwan might not only be part of other discourses about Taiwan, but also potentially--depending on an audience that can see connections between neighboring events--take part in other debates about the US’s role in Asia.

Chinese-language edition of Formosa Betrayed.

Finally, I’d like to say something about the translation of Formosa Betrayed into Chinese. When Chen Rong-cheng and a network of Taiwanese expatriates finished work on a Chinese translation in 1973, Chen prefaced the book by tracing the growth of an international Taiwan independence movement, pointing to the Republic of China’s increasing isolation in the international sphere, and arguing that the “Taiwanization” of the government being carried out by the Chiang regime was merely window-dressing. He appears to be calling for readers not to be fooled by the appearance of liberalization and to be pointing to the loss of the KMT’s legitimacy as a looming crisis for the Taiwanese people. Formosa Betrayed thus serves as a warning and reminder to Taiwanese to continue to strengthen themselves if they hope to achieve independence and sovereignty. As Chen writes, “If we do not first help ourselves, who will save us?” (9). (「人不先自救,誰會救我?」)

This preface could be considered an instance of what Rebecca Dingo refers to as “transcoding,” in which rhetorics “travel along transnational networks, subtly shifting and changing to fit various situations while seemingly maintaining a common ideology” (31). Kerr’s text is not only translated into Chinese, but also transcoded by being prefaced with a call for self-salvation that reframes the meaning and purpose of Formosa Betrayed. By addressing an audience of Taiwanese, Chen rearticulates the meaning of Formosa Betrayed as an understanding that Taiwanese should not hope for anyone else to help them anymore if they don’t work for their own freedom. The failure of the US to “save” the Taiwanese is made the evidence for the argument that Taiwanese must save themselves because no one else will help them.

In 1991, when the first legal Taiwan edition was published, martial law had been over for 4 years, but with the opening up of indirect links to China and the beginning of cross-strait negotiations, Taiwanese independence advocates feared that the KMT would reach an agreement with the CCP and Taiwan would be sold out (betrayed) to China. Chen’s preface to the 1991 edition addresses this context, speaking to an audience of Taiwanese who had an increasing say (if only symbolically) in what the government did. The preface to this “Taiwan edition” mentions the need to learn from history, that given the context of peace talks between the KMT and CCP, Taiwan once again faced the risk of being betrayed (5). Chen offers the hope that past mistakes can be avoided and that a home that truly belongs to the Taiwanese can be established (5).

The rhetoric of Chen’s 1991 preface also signals an important but gradual shift in the use of Kerr’s book by this new audience, from human rights rhetoric to public memory. While Formosa Betrayed was always focused on looking at the past as a way of deliberating about the future, during the martial law period, the book was also an attempt to raise awareness of immediate human rights violations that needed to be addressed. In that sense, Formosa Betrayed was an act of “rhetorical witnessing” that had called on its primarily American readership not only to remember what had happened almost 20 years earlier, but also to work to help the Taiwanese escape the bonds of martial law and authoritarianism. But as the martial law period faded into recent memory (and 2-28 faded even further into distant memory), Chen’s 1991 preface called for its new Taiwanese audience to accept this book as an offering so that they may re-member the past.

The shift from human rights witnessing to the focus on public memory is not a total categorical change, of course. As with the rhetoric of public memory, human rights witnessing often focuses on past abuses (though these abuses may be ongoing). The shift from human rights rhetoric to public memory signals a moment of transition that Gerard Hauser addresses when he characterizes “society’s rhetors” as the “custodians of history’s story” who must create narratives that are capable of “meeting the challenge of a past and future moving in opposite directions” (112). Of particular importance here is the fact that the shift from human rights to public memory involves a shift in audience as well as a shift in the meaning of the events recorded in the book. Formosa Betrayed signals, in this new context, the beginnings of Taiwan’s attempts to come to terms with its past (and its future). In the preface to the 1991 edition, Chen looks to the past, hoping its mistakes can be avoided and its martyrs honored, and to the future, in which “a home that really belongs to Taiwanese” can be established. Chen’s preface creates a new narrative that reframes the message of Kerr’s book for a different generation that faces, in Chen’s view, the threat of being betrayed again.

Works Cited
Bitzer, Lloyd F. “The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 1 (1968): 1-14. Print.

Chen, Rongcheng (陳榮成), trans. 被出賣的台灣 (Bei chumai de Taiwan) [Formosa Betrayed]. By George H. Kerr. Taipei: Qianwei, 1991. Print.

Dingo, Rebecca. Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2012. Print.

Edbauer, Jenny. “Unframing Models of Public Distribution: From Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 35.4 (2005): 5-24. Print.

Hammond, William M. Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962-1968. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1988. Print.

Hauser, Gerard A. Vernacular Voices: The Rhetoric of Publics and Public Spheres. Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina P, 1999. Print.

Kerr, George H. “Author Questionnaire.” N.d. TS. GHK2A06002, Okinawa Prefectural Archives.

Kerr, George. Formosa Betrayed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. Print.

Vatz, Richard. “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 6 (1973): 154-161. Print.

Zhang, Yanxian (張炎憲) and Zeng, Qiumei (曾秋美), eds. 一門留美學生的建國故事 (Yimen liu Mei xuesheng de jianguo gushi) [A Story of nation-building by [Taiwanese] students in America]. Taipei: Wu Sanlian Taiwan Shiliao Jijinhui Zhongxin Chubanshe (吳三連台灣史料基金會中心出版社), 2009. Print.