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Tuesday, 15th May

2018 Chuan Lyu Lectures in Taiwan Studies

Professor Joseph R. Allen
University of Minnesota

Image and Ideology in Colonial and Post-Colonial Taiwan

combined series poster ]

  • Tuesday, 15th May, 2018
    5pm in Rooms 8 & 9 (Ground Floor)
    Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Sidgwick Site)
    A Bronze Horse and State Ideology
    poster ]

Taipei Bronze Horse

In the corner of a small park in downtown Taipei stands an elegant bronze horse, head and hoof gallantly raised, with a streaming tail. Unlike other installations in the park (statues, memorials, pavilions, works of art), this horse has no signage. Its origins and meaning are shrouded in silence; we are only told “Do Not Climb.” Yet upon closer inspection, there is a sign for this horse, but it has all but been erased. If we can read that sign, in a language all its own, then we can begin to unravel the small mystery of whence this horse came to the park. In that mystery is a larger story: how this bronze horse was formed and transformed by state ideology, from the early modernization of Japan, through its colonization of Taiwan, then Taiwan’s four decades of martial law, and now its post-colonial condition. This horse tells all.


Prof. Joseph R. Allen

Joseph R. Allen is a Professor Emeritus of Chinese literature and cultural studies and Founding Chair of the Department Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota. His Ph.D. in classical Chinese literature is from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, two Fulbright Research Fellowships to Taiwan, and a Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities at Harvard University. In 2016 he received the Dean’s Medal for Academic Achievement from the College of Liberal Arts. First trained in classical Chinese poetry, Allen’s early work includes In the Voice of Others: Chinese Music Bureau Poetry and a study of the early Mulan narratives, "Dressing and Undressing the Chinese Woman Warrior." He has also translated and written about modern and contemporary Chinese poetry, both of Taiwan and China. More recently his work has focused on cultural studies, including his “From Textbooks to Lingerie: Classical Chinese Poetry and Taiwan Popular Culture” and Taipei: City of Displacements, which won the 2014 Levenson Book Prize in Chinese Studies. His current research focuses on photography in Taiwan.


The annual Chuan Lyu Lectures in Taiwan Studies is generously funded by the Chuan Lyu Foundation.

For further information, contact:

Dr Adam Yuet Chau
University Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China
Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
E-mail: