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24 April 2019

Time and Tourism in (Post)Colonial Taipei

Dr. Michael Facius
University College London

24 Apr 2019 (Wed) 4:30-6:00
CRT-4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Click to view poster

Michael Facius explores the historical construction of Taipei as a post/colonial tourist space. Urban environments consist of layers upon layers of sedimented history in their buildings, grids, growth patterns and forms of movement and circulation. These layers, held together only by their material coexistence, are channeled by modern tourism and its specific mode of creating relations between place and viewer/visitor. In the case of Taipei, the transformation of the city into a tourist destination was particularly fraught, as it took place at a time when its cityscape underwent drastic alterations by Japanese colonial rule: buildings were demolished and repurposed, parks were created, and broad new roads cut through neighborhoods. The recognition of Taipei as a tourist destination hinged in part on its modernization. Analyzing early and contemporary tourist maps and guides of Taipei produced by municipal, colonial and national institutions in Taiwan and Japan, the talk focuses particularly on a contentious issue for the colonial government with respect to the promotion of tourism: how to recognize the touristic value of landmark buildings such as the Confucius Shrine or the Guest House for Imperial Envoys that preceded colonial rule without recognizing the symbolic capital and claims to political legitimacy associated with them. The aim is to further our understanding of the temporalities of the tourist experience as it connects to imperial self-representations, national symbolism and residues from pre-colonial times.

Michael Facius is a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the Department of History, University College London. His research interests are broadly in the early modern and modern cultural history of Japan in its regional, transnational and global contexts. His book China übersetzen: Globalisierung und chinesisches Wissen in Japan im 19. Jahrhundert was published in the Campus series “Globalgeschichte” in 2017.


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