Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Geography and Anthropology
ABSTRACT Quemoy is a small island with an area of fifty-eight square miles at the mouth of Xiamen Bay on the southeast coast of China. As a Cold-War front of Taiwan shelled by the Chinese artillery for twenty years, Quemoy is becoming a heritage tourism destination attracting mainland Chinese to sightsee in its military structures. In this study, I examine landscape change in the post-conflict society through the interplay of three social dynamics—reconciliation, demilitarization, and touristification—exploring the cultural mechanism of landscape change and its meaning. Through a review of Quemoy’s history, I identify Quemoy’s geographical characteristics—marginality, cultural hybridity, and islandness—formed and articulated in a repetitive process that I term as the reversal of geographical coordinate system. The reversal coincides with a change of social concerns in the marginal society, whose negotiations with terrestrial and maritime powers direct its engaging front toward the land or the sea, and stimulates distinct human inscriptions in the landscape. Militarization of Quemoy as Chinese Nationalists’ Cold-War front initiated the last reversal, which turned its front toward the mainland China in 1949 and brought forth a military landscape characterized by its rigidity, hierarchy, and pragmatism. Simultaneously, the militarization incurred biopolitical production through militia duty, everyday regulation, combat economy, and battlefield knowledge. As the 1949-reversal is now dissolving under current demilitarization, from reinvention and destruction of military structures I reveal irony in the landscape as a way of cultural demilitarization subverting the significance of the past anticommunist conflicts. Furthermore, by reconstruction of historical landscapes and reinterpretation of symbolic landscapes, Quemoyans (re)localize landscape and jointly engage in a process of homeland construction. The juxtaposition of historical simulacra and reinvented military relics produces heterotopias of a museum island for heritage tourism. Consequently, the production of irony and heterotopias together serves as the cultural mechanism of the current identity reformulation from a battlefield to a heritage tourism destination. Uncovering the mechanism, I then demonstrate that ambiguity and multiculturality emerging from this irony’s multivocality and heterotopia’s multilocality is a cultural strategy of the border island society to negotiate with the post-conflict situation.
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Chen, Yi-Chia, "Shifting place identities in a post-conflict society : irony and multiculturality in Quemoy, Taiwan" (2013). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 3209.