Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Kelderman, Frank

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Clukey, Amy

Committee Member

Sorell, Clyde Joseph

Author's Keywords

Taiwan; Bakhtin; indigenous; rhetoric; resistance; Seediq


This dissertation explores the relationship between Taiwanese indigenous narrative and rhetoric, in textual representations of the Seediq people and the 1930 Musha Incident. It explores how the forced colonization of Taiwanese indigenous people affected their identities and cultural representation, and how multi-voiced forms of narrative, storytelling, and meaning-making have rooted in indigenous oral traditions and rituals that counter colonial representations. Across a range of cultural texts, I identify what I call Taiwanese indigenous rhetoric of resistance (TIRR), drawing on Simon J. Ortiz’s theory of indigenous literature and oral traditions as indigenous-nationalist forms of cultural resistance. In addition, I draw on New Rhetoric scholarship to position TIRR within a broader rhetorical framework, to analyze the relationship between heteroglossia, Taiwanese indigenous narratives and the interplay of various textual, media, filmic, ritual (semiotic), graphic, and documentary forms. For the methodology of this dissertation, I incorporate New Rhetoric scholarship, Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of heteroglossia, and Chadwick Allen’s trans-Indigenous methodologies to analyze rhetorics of resistance in the literary and cultural representation of Taiwanese indigenous history and culture. Bakhtin’s theory of heteroglossia recognizes how the voices and languages of different (marginalized) ethnic groups represent themselves. Different indigenous nations in Taiwan, such as the Seediq, Tsou, and Atayal, have found various forms to express indigenous rhetorics of resistance against authoritative discourses and master narratives invented by imperial Chinese and Japanese colonial authorities, including the colonial rhetoric of “savages” versus “civilization.” In Chapter Three, I analyze the retellings of the historical Musha Incident—the 1930 uprising of the Seediq people against colonial Japanese forces. From Seediq perspectives, I argue that representations of the Musha Incident which challenge the academic and political authorities of authors, institutions, and governments that created falsehood, propaganda, self-interests, and inhumanity. In Chapter Four, I argue that Seediq oral tradition forms the basis of a range of heteroglossic narratives that represent Seediq rituals and ways of life that constitute a rhetoric of resistance against the Japanese forced colonization. As represented in different texts and films, Seediq signs including symbols, rituals, and artifacts constitute a multi-voiced discourse that expresses the tensions between colonizers and the oppressed. In Chapter Five, I argue that to engage with these representations of Taiwanese indigenous culture articulates a vision for different ethnicities (Aborigine, Hoklo, Hakka, or Chinese) to co-exist in Taiwan, and to protect their respective ways of life, against the danger of a single-voiced political system that dictates Taiwanese society and its constituent communities. Further, it is imperative that the multiple voices that represent Taiwan’s ethnic diversity can grow and be heard to express their cultural identities and representations. I conclude that these continuous rhetorics of resistance against forced colonization may help Taiwanese Indigenous peoples and all readers of these texts to envision “a new society” for the future, at a time of increased democracy in Taiwan.