View count: 6549

Narrating the 1970s: Literary Debates, Everyday Life, and Politics of Memory

Issue 5: Narrating the 1970s: Literary Debates, Everyday Life, and Politics of Memory

This project is proposed by Chih-Ming Wang, at the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica. Departing from cultural studies, this project questions the meanings of the 1970s through the dimensions of literary debates, everyday life, and the politics of memory. 

Debates over Taiwan’s “home soil” literature, South Korean nationalist literature, and even Japanese national literature tracing its origins to the 1970s, altogether showcase the significance of literature in the field of thoughts. The emergence of these literary debates seems to suggest the importance of the 1970s as a period of intellectual vibrancy where serious thinking about the society and history were emerging despite the pressure of Cold War political stalemate. In the meantime, in terms of pop music, pop culture, and social movements, the 1970s also seems to offer much inspiration for literary and cultural production at a later period, therefore turning these literary and visual texts into a useful mode for tracing and recognizing the subjectivity of the youth (for instance, the “literary youth” in Taiwan).  With these assumptions, this project will be conducted in two stages. In the first two years, it will focus on the literary debates in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and China in the long 1970s to grapple with the meanings of the 1970s within the inter-Asian societies. In the latter two years, it will attend to the contemporary writings (memoirs, films, and essays) on the 1970s, to illuminate how, and for what reasons, is the 1970s remembered today.  Through these two stages of research, this project proposes to develop a methodology for “archiving” contemporary memories through cross-regional references, and highlights the significance in thinking about what the 1970s would mean to the formations of inter-Asian societies.