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Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia

Proceedings of the Conference, Leiden, 13-17 October 1997

Edited by Jelle Miedema, Cecilia Odé and Rien A.C. Dam

The Bird's Head Peninsula of Irian Jaya has long been an area neglected by New Guinea Studies. Only in the late seventies, interest began to focus more intensively on this scientifically important border area between Austronesian and Papuan languages and cultures. In the early nineties, this led to the creation in The Netherlands of the Irian Jaya Studies programme ISIR, which organizes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the Bird's Head Peninsula. Within this framework, study of the peninsula has reached a peak, with research being conducted in the area by scientists from different disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, (ethno)botany, demography, development administration, geology and linguistics. The diverse perspectives of these disciplines are subject to constant internal debate. Through ISIR and other research initiatives, there is a growing body of data on and insights into the various disciplines concerned with this fascinating area, with each discipline developing its own specific perspectives on the Bird's Head. These perspectives were presented during the First International Conference Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, organized by ISIR in cooperation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences LIPI (Jakarta) and the International Institute for Asian Studies ILAS (Leiden) and held at Leiden University, 13-17 October 1997. Researchers were informed on current perspectives in many disciplines to facilitate integration of findings into wider, interdisciplinary frameworks and to stimulate international debate within and between disciplines. As a result of the Conference, the forty-two contributions in these Proceedings present a wealth of recent developments from various disciplines in New Guinea Studies.

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Pei-Yin Lin

Employing the term “translation” as problematics of aboriginal representations in colonial Taiwan, this paper examines how primitivity or exotica of the colonized (the Atayal people) is rendered in Shimizu Hiroshi’s film ‘Sayon’s Bell’ (1943) and other retellings of Sayon Hayun’s story. To highlight the asymmetrical power relations embedded in colonial exchange through translation, this paper first examines Japanese colonizers ’ construction of savagery and civility, analyzing the transfiguring process in which Taiwan’s aborigines are transformed from the savage other to martyred imperial subjects. It then draws on Venuti’s notions of “domestication” and “foreignization”, regarding the dissemination of Japanese colonial discourse as the former whereas the capture of Taiwanese aborigines’ ethnic/racial particularity the latter. Rather than reading the film as an exemplary national-policy film, this paper argues Shimizu’s meditative role as a cultural translator actually creates a space of slippage within colonial discourse as the film contains both domesticating and foreignizing translation tactics. Accordingly, Shimizu’s cinematic techniques and Li Xianglan’s transnational identity suggest more contradictions and ambiguities within imperialization discourse than a clear-cut reinforcement of it.

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Yang Xiaobin

Almost all major Chinese poets in the post-Mao era have been enthusiastic in writing about their western (post-)modernist forerunners. In a way, this can be understood as translation of the great Western minds into the Chinese context. But if translation is etymologically synonymous to transference, we can discover that the process of translation can also be seen as that of transference in the psychoanalytic sense that links the Western masters (as texts) and their Chinese followers (as readers): the latter, nevertheless, transfer back feelings onto the former. This paper examines, with the help of the Lacanian theory of transference, how the Chinese poets address their sentiments, in different ways, to the presumably authoritative other. The major trends of transcultural transference in recent Chinese poetry correspond to the three Lacanian registers of the imaginary, the symbolic and the real: (1) imaginary identification with the other as the ideal-ego to create an intact, narcissistic, albeit illusionary, mirror image; (2) symbolic identification with the big Other as the ego-ideal that is expected to construct a modern(ized) cultural subject; and (3) transformation of the Other into an objet petit a as the way to invoke the ever-eluding desire and approach the traumatic core of the impossibility of identification or self-identity.

Chewing Over the West

Occidental Narratives in Non-Western Readings

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Edited by Doris Jedamski

The orientation of academic institutions has in recent years been moving away from highly specialized area studies in the classical sense towards broader regional and comparative studies. Cultural studies points to the limitation of Western approaches to non-Western cultures – a development not yet reflected in actual research and data collections. Bringing together scholars from all over the world with specialized knowledge in both Western and non-Western languages, literatures, and cultures, this collection of essays provides new insights into the agency of non-Western literatures in relation to the West – a term used with critical caution and, like other common binary dualisms, challenged here. Inter-cultural expertise, seldom applied in the combination of Asian, African, and ‘oriental’ perspectives, makes this compilation of essays an important contribution to the study of colonialism and postcoloniality.
Topics covered include postcolonial Arabic writing; T.S. Eliot in contemporary Arabic poetry; Algerian (and Berber) literature; the English language and narratives in Kenyan art; characterization, dialogism, gender and Western infuence in modern Hindi fiction; Naya drama in India; modern Burmese theatre and literature under Western influence; Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and the Vietnamese Novel Without a Name; Western Marxism and vernacular literature in colonial Indonesia; hybridity in Komedi Stambul; and Sherlock Holmes in/and the crime fiction of Siam and Indonesia
Contributors: Amina Azza Bekkat; Thomas de Bruijn; Matthew Isaac Cohen; Rasheed El-Enany; Keith Foulcher; Saddik M. Gohar; Rachel Harrison; Doris Jedamski; Ursula Lies; Daniela Merolla; Evan Mwangi; Guzel Vladimirovna Strelkova; Anna Suvorova; U Win Pe

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Joyce C. H. Liu

Wang Guowei's translations of utilitarian ethics and education theory reveal clearly the role that he played at Education World and as a Chinese intellectual. His participation in the public discourse fit into the plans of Luo Zhenyu both at the journal and later at the Ministry of Education of the late Qing government. Those theories of ethics and education Wang and Luo introduced became the main axis of Chinese ethical thought throughout the twentieth century; they defined the terms in which the subject related to society or the state. This essay points out that, during his exploration of the limits of Western and classical Chinese ethics, Wang’s own philosophical writings at the time analyzed the limitations of dualism in the ethical discourse both in the West and in Chinese classical philosophy. Wang demonstrated a critique of utilitarianism and life-ism (生生主義) that was popular at the time. As well as a critique, he also developed an aesthetic and ethical view: no-life-ism (無生主義).