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Date 2021-03-17


Propaganda and Resistance: The Textual Discrepancy in the Discourses over Jialan Dazun


Chen, Shu-Jung

Liu, Shu-Chin

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing Hua University

Professor, Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Tsing Hua University


The construction of Jialan dazun (Jialan Great Ditches) was completed in 1930. This public-private cooperative irrigation project under the guide of the colonial government was record-breaking in many respects. This article first analyzes the production, promotion, and content of a propaganda film entitled Happy Farmers, and demonstrates how the official colonial ideologies were propagated. Secondly, the article discusses the writer Tsai Chiutong’s short stories as well as investigates the Farmers’ Association’s critique of this grand irrigation project, in order to locate an anti-colonial message in Tsai’s stories. This article argues that these stories deconstructed the pseudo-realism of the official documentary film and challenged the legitimacy of the colonial worldview. In conclusion, this article reveals historical and social meanings masked in a textual discrepancy between official colonial discourses and anti-colonial ones.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature