Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

“Migration, Frontier Policy and Competitive Relationships in Qing Taiwan Borderland, 1800-1900," a talk by Dr. Li-wan Hung

Fri, November 18, 2016 | Meyerson Conference Room WCH 4.118

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Join Dr. Li-wan Hung (Associate Research Fellow, Academic Sinica and visiting research associate in UT History Department) for a talk on “Migration, Frontier Policy and Competitive Relationships in Qing Taiwan Borderland, 1800-1900.”

Drawing on historical documents, oral history, and field work, this study investigates how and why shufan (literally, “domesticated barbarians”) migrated out of their traditional territory to enter the land of shenfan (“undomesticated barbarians”) and explores the relations among the shufan, shenfan, and Han peoples under the Qing from the mid-eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth centuries. Focusing on ethnic conflicts and cooperation, this study sheds light on regional differences in the formation of social order in the borderland and elaborates on their implications for understanding the nature of frontier governance under the Qing Empire.

With Han immigrants growing in number and power to threaten the living space of the aborigines, shufanmigrated beyond their preexisting border. Moreover, the Qing state’s strategy to use shufan against Hans and shenfen led to the development of Ai (local defensive fort;military community) and fantun (military colonies) systems for maintaining border security.

Land reclamation approaches adopted by immigrants in the north and south of Zhuoshui River varied mainly because of socio-cultural differences among aboriginal tribes. “Aiken” (land reclamation by military community) offered a legitimate excuse for Hans and Shufan to enter and exploit the territory of Shenfan in northern Taiwan, while the immigrants paid tax to Shenfan who owned the hillside of south Taiwan.

In borderland regions where government authority was not well established, immigrants had to defend themselves. Headhunting of local ethnic groups used to be a tribal ritual but evolved into a means of the aborigines for survival against invaders and fight for land in face of reduction in living space under intense competition of immigrants and intervention from the state. Nevertheless, immigrants felt threatened by the head-hunting culture, and sought protection from divine power, thus fostering the devout worship of the god to protect them frombeinghurt.


*Talk will be in Chinese

Li-wan Hung holds a Ph.D in History from the National Taiwan University and is currently an Associate Research Fellow at Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica.

She specializes in the study of ethno-history of Taiwan plains aborigine, relationships between different ethnic groups, history of migrants as well as regional and frontier studies.  Her recent research is on ethnic relationships between different hillside tribes, social order in frontier region, and the unique characteristics of Taiwan’s multi-ethnic society as seen in the spatial distribution of various ethnic groups including the Austronesian, Hoklo and Hakka.

She has published books, monographs and research paper. Her main publications include Plains Aborigine Tribes in Central Taiwan: A Study of Sha-lu She and An-li Ta-she.(reprinted), Relationship between Social network and Ethnic Identity of shu fan --- Historical Transformation of Plains Aborigines in Central Taiwan under Qing Rule, 1700-1900 (2009) 


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