Memory as Resistance

Social Movements and Cultural Preservation in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet

event banner for Taiwan Roundtable on social movements and cultural preservation

"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."- Milan Kundera

Memory has always been an essential form of resistance against power and hegemony. Such was the case in Taiwan during its decades-spanning period of authoritarian rule. Since democratization in the 1990s, various social movements in Taiwanese society have made considerable efforts to tell the unspoken or erased stories forged under authoritarian rule as part of a larger unpacking of historical trauma and shaping of Taiwanese identity. On the other side of the Strait, political dissidents and ethnic minorities inside of the People's Republic of China continue to struggle to protect and preserve their respective cultures, ways of living, and identities against the backdrop of the Chinese Communist Party’s conception of a unified “Chinese culture.” Specifically for Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers, those who are still in China are facing increased restrictions of political and cultural expression. Maintaining the social memories of their respective political identities, cultural practices, languages, and histories have thus become critically important to the work of diasporic communities.

The Sigur Center and the North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA) are co-hosting a hybrid in-person and virtual Roundtable event to examine the different experiences among Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Uyghur, and Tibetan social movements and to foster dialogue between activists and scholars to explore ways of resisting authoritarian suppression through the power of social memories.

This Roundtable is free and open to the public and media. A recording of the Roundtable will be made publicly available in the days following the event. Additional support for this event is provided by GW East Asia National Resource Center and the Taiwan Education & Research Program.