Joyce C. H. Liu: “Cultural Trauma and the Making of Unequal Citizenship”


Photo of Dr. Joyce C. H. Liu

Presented by the Wellington Chan Distinguished Speaker Series in Chinese Studies - “Cultural Trauma and the Making of Unequal Citizenship:  Alternative Approach to Critical Inter-Asia Cultural Studies”

"Citizenship," even though a "Western" concept, is a convenient technique for the post-colonial states in Asia to stabilize their regimes through a reversed mode of divide and rule, a form of internal colonialism. Though the societies of Southeast Asia are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, the post-WWII "citizenship act" established in those countries turned out to be the foundation to prioritize the indigenous people or particular religion. Hence a model of differentiated citizenships was created. This talk looks at several documentaries on the 1965-66 massacre in Indonesia to discuss the ambiguous double-edged functions of documentaries. This mode of reenactment can easily enhance the narrative from the victim's point of view and at the same time legitimize the ruling regime and displace the larger truth.