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Date 2021-02-20


The Discursive Positions of Taiwan-based Women Authors During the Cold War Era: An Exploration of the Works of Su Hsueh-Lin and Hsieh Ping-Ying Published in “University Life”


Wang, Yu-Ting

Associate Professor, Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing Hua University


“University Life”, a periodical published by Hong Kong’s Union Press during the era of U.S. aid culture, has largely been overlooked in scholarly research on the literature of this period. This paper examines works written by Taiwan-based women authors and published in “University Life” during the 1950s in order, firstly, to discuss the nature and character of the creative efforts of these writers, as influenced by the contemporary Cold War milieu and by the filter of being accepted and published in an overseas Chinese publication, and, secondly, to further examine the Taiwan-Hong Kong cultural ecology during the Cold War era. These authors are treated in this paper as female intellectuals. The concept of intersectionality and appropriate research methods are applied firstly to critique and delineate the positions of two authors, Su Hsueh-lin and Hsieh Ping-ying, and then to consider the intersections among nationality, class, and gender. The natural intersections thus elucidated between contemporary national discourse and culture and the Cold War, respectively, are used to reveal the complicated nature of the positions of these two authors and then, subsequently, to interpret the unique role played by Taiwan-based women authors in influencing contemporary Chinese education in Southeast Asia within the context of Taiwan’s “Free China” literary and artistic institutions. The target audience of the cultural messaging in “University Life” was primarily overseas Chinese youth living in Southeast Asia. Thus, in terms of their contributions to this publication, Su Hsueh-lin and Hsieh Ping-ying served both as spiritual advisors to overseas Chinese youth and as cultural educators, promoting core perspectives on literature and the arts. This unique role brought new audiences to Taiwan’s women writers and new opportunities to define themselves in a myriad of discursive positions as well as created a new paradigm for women’s literature that reflected contemporary realities and needs.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature