Constructing collective memory for (de)colonisation: Taiwanese images in history textbooks, 1950–1987

Hsuan Yi Huang, Hsiao Lan Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


History curriculum and textbooks, as a key mechanism of constructing collective memory, play a critical role in shaping national, social, and cultural imaginations of the young. This paper analyses history textbooks in Taiwan during the martial law period (1950–1987) to explore narratives about Taiwan and examines the ways in which those narratives as collective memory created particular images of Taiwan. The analysis indicates that history textbooks delineated two threads of narrative, one is a Sinicisation narrative, namely Chinese colonisation, and the other is Chinese restoration narrative. The Sinicisation narrative constructed particular collective memory about Taiwan being of Chinese descent and an inheritor of Chinese culture, lost and restored by China after World War II. In the narrative of restoration, Taiwan was imagined as reborn to be the model child of Chinese descent that was obligated to emancipate all Chinese compatriots from Communism and to ultimately realise the goal of Chinese reunification. These narratives served for emancipating Taiwan from Japanese colonisation and constructed particular collective memory that Sinicised Taiwan for Chinese restoration. The image of Taiwan as Chinese descent, identified with Chinese culture, has endured to the present and continue to shape imaginations and discourses about Taiwan in the present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 2


  • Collective memory
  • Colonisation
  • Curriculum history
  • History textbook
  • Taiwanese history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History


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