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Ontologies of Taiwan Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Anthropology

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image of International Journal of Taiwan Studies

Indigenous studies and Taiwan studies have a rather tenuous intellectual relationship. From a Taiwanese perspective, the study of indigenous peoples has been a part of the inward-turning indigenisation (本土化, bentuhua) of Taiwan scholarship; affirmation of a locally-rooted, non-Chinese national identity. The idea that Taiwan is the starting point of the Austronesian diaspora makes Taiwan important to the world in new ways. For indigenous scholars, indigenous studies can also contribute to a pride of their places and cultures, meaningful on their own terms. Applied and action research can also be helpful to indigenous goals of local self-determination. Reflection on the ontological implications of indigeneity suggests that indigenous studies cannot be relegated to a subfield of Taiwan studies. There is thus a need for reflection on the ontology of our studies.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Visiting Professor, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan,


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