a Blogs@VT Sites site by HungYin Tsai
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  • The History of Historiography

    Posted on August 31st, 2014 hungyin No comments

    It is interesting to see how historians identified their topics, chose their subjects, and how they wrote. Both Tosh’s and Lggers’s works provide many works, theories and research methods to show changes of historiography. Thus it brings me a clear picture of “the history of historiography.” The most interesting thing for me is agenda of historians. There are differences between Tosh’s from Lgger’s history of historiography, but generally they show a historiographical trend from studying elite to ordinary people, from politic to society/economic, from national state to local or global history, and from serving political purpose to non-political purposes.

    More importantly, it makes me to reflect myself to think why/how I identify my topic and why/how I write history. To some extent, the story by Tosh and Lgger is an Europe-American central, liner story to tell us how historiography become a discipline and how it has so many directions. As I start to map myself, I realize that as a historical researcher, I am not yet at that stage. Many Taiwanese historians still work on building an imaged community to make a national state, while we also learn from Europe-America about microhistory and other “new” history. Recently there is a huge debate of our history textbook – should we focus on broader Chinese history or on local Taiwanese history. This debate is not only about “should official history be broad or local history” but also about “should Taiwan be part of China or an independent entity.”

    Another debate is about how to represent White Terror during 1949 to 1987. A solution of this debate is to drop off contemporary history, which means put less history after World War II because that is highly controversial. When I read contemporary history section in Tosh’s book, I cannot stop to think when Taiwanese historians can start to touch contemporary local history.

    Novak and Ward track how a story was told. Their studies are impressive as they show “the disjunction between historical perception and political reality” (Novak, p.753) and how historical writing has changed to shape perception. I think this issue connects to textbook issue above. We are still struggling on whether history serves political purposes, and if it does, there will be this kind of disjunction, which historiography now will avoid.

    I enjoy the readings this week as they trigger my reflection, thinking about my agenda and writing style. As a researcher who work on Japanese colonization, I may still have to involve in the historiographical debate in Taiwan someday in future.


  • Hello, everyone,

    Posted on August 28th, 2014 hungyin No comments

    Nice to meet you all! Looking forward to the class.

  • Contact

    Posted on August 27th, 2014 hungyin No comments

    I am a PhD student of Science and Technology Studies/Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. Currently I am working on two projects: political economy of video game from 1970s, and scientization of traditional Chinese medicine in Taiwan during 1845-1945.

    This blog is set for Historical Method class. I will post comments and question about class readings. I may also share some materials about my own projects.

    HungYin Tsai