How was the Taiwanese identity constructed? Dr. Evan N. Dawley
, an associate professor of history at Goucher College, explores this question in his new book Becoming Taiwanese: Ethnogenesis in a Colonial City, 1880s-1950s
(Harvard University Press, 2019). Dawley traces the waves of newcomers to Taiwan beginning with Qing dynasty transplants from the southeastern coast of China. He then largely focuses on the Japanese colonial period and the first decade of ROC rule in Taiwan, relating significant encounters involving social organizations, religion, and social work. Dawley’s focus is the northern port city of Jilong (Keelung), which was a key site of Japanese modernization on the island due to its harbor and orientation toward Japan. Drawing from rich research conducted in Taiwan and Japan, Dawley highlights the practices of Japanese and Taiwanese local elites who acted as community gatekeepers, and in the process, uncovers how Taiwanese identity developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Laurie Dickmeyer is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University, where she teaches courses in Asian and US history. Her research concerns nineteenth-century US-China relations. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter (@LDickmeyer).