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At the Margins of the Minor

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Rethinking Scalarity, Relationality, and Translation

image of Journal of World Literature

Taiwanese indigenous literatures, the literatures of the Austronesian, indigenous cultures of Taiwan, mainly written in Chinese, constitute ultraminor literatures at the margins of Taiwanese culture which is itself at the margins of Chinese-language culture. This essay uses the case of Taiwanese indigenous literatures as the basis for a reflection on the notion of literary minority. It argues that the example of Taiwanese indigenous literatures draws attention to the importance of thinking minority as a radically comparative category, one that makes sense only with reference to complex, dynamic constellations. As such, minority needs to be understood with regard to three vectors in dynamic interaction: scalarity, relationality, and translation. To probe the margins of the minor means not only to theorize forms of the ultraminor but instead to put pressure on the very concept of the minor from a variety of directions.

Affiliations: 1: Cornell University


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