November 23rd, 2002

Where to begin?

I went downtown at 4:30, leaving the library later than I expected--the computer I was typing my HIST 391 notes on decided to crash and I had to retype things. As a consequence, I was unable to send off a money order to a certain friend, though I did check and I can get it sent at affordable cost and with security via Canada Post, needing only a snail-mail address to send it to. You know who you are, and it's definitely no problem.

After that, I went to The Reading Well bookstore. It's Charlottetown's only independent bookstore, and quite good. So good, in fact, that I ended up buying three books--a new copy of Michael Winter's This All Happened (I saw him reading two years ago, and I read the book one year ago and qutie liked it), a Picador edition of Umberto Eco's In the Name of the Rose, and Jules Verne's Paris in the Twentieth Century (that novel that got recently discovered and was acclaimed for its portrayal of a high-tech if fundamentally alienated and rootless Parisian population). I shouldn't buy so many books, but they're friendly. (More on that later.)

Pat & Willy's was good. Dave and Allan were there, along with Dave's sister Patricia (or Susan? I'm confused on that) and another woman, Esther. Esther ended up going to the performance of the opera Dido and Aeneas at UPEI, but the rest of us went to the theatre after eating (I got a blackened chicken sandwich with fries) to get tickets for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 6:40 PM. Of course, it was sold out, and we had to get tickets for the 10:00 PM performance. In the interim, we haunted the mall and then went over to UPEI to haunt the computer lab and English lounge before heading back to the movie. In the theatre, we met up with Jen Gally, and we five now went to see the movie. Which was great, incidentally. Harry Potter's fictional universe, like all great fictional universes, is a world where choices have serious moral consequences.

It lasted until 12:50, and then Jen drove me home to find that my ordered copy of the first installment of Frank Miller's Martha Washington comic series had arrived. To which I say, excellent.
  • Current Music
    Prince, "Vicki Waiting"

An Explanation

Earlier, I'd said that the journal to which the below URL linked could be useful for my Honours project.

Now, an explanation why.

That URL links to an on-line version of the journal positions: east asia cultures critique issue 8.1 (Spring 2000). The first article in that issue is Kuan-Hsing Chen's "The Imperialist Eye: The Cultural Imaginary of a Subempire and a Nation-State."

The associated Library of Congress headings suggest that this article deals with:

  • Culture -- Study and teaching.

  • Imperialism.

  • Taiwan -- Civilization.

  • Nationalism -- Taiwan.

  • </li>

These definitions suggest only a limited reading of the article, which is (in part) a criticism of academic Taiwanese nationalists, and their wholehearted embrace fo capitalist modernity in a reaction to the theoretically non-capitalist People's Republic. Chen borrows from Fanon and other theorists to suggest that Taiwan--once a Japanese colonial periphery in the 1895-1945 period--is itself aspiring towards some sort of hegemonic position in Southeast Asia replicating earlier patterns of imperialism:

"The policy of “advancing toward the south,” promoted by the Taiwan state and endorsed by the opposition party, has had an enthusiastic response from the “public sphere” since early 1994 and is applauded and propagated by scholars, politicians, and capitalists generally. The scattered dissenting voices focus on the unsatisfactory conditions of southern countries: unstable societies, backward infrastructures, inefficient governments, skyrocketing real estate prices, and rising salaries as the disadvantages of advancing toward the south. (It is noteworthy that transnational capitalism has
described Taiwan’s investment environment in exactly the same terms.) Both pros and cons, however, are framed by the narrative structure of “southward-advancing,” which allows no room for metacritical re.ection in the discursive field. As a matter of fact, advancing toward the South, West, and East projects exactly the same desire as that of imperialist expansionism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In short, the Taiwanese Empire is being formed."

Taiwan--according to Chen's reading, at least--is now a full-fledged member of the semi-periphery aspiring towards its own imperial hinterland.

The potential parallels with Canada in my reading--Canada as a construct of the Anglophone St. Lawrence valley, trying to incorporate outlying areas and cultures like the Canadian shield, the French Canadian peasantry, and Nova Scotia into Canada on its own terms--are quite interesting. I'll have to print it off.
  • Current Music
    Prince, "Trust"