From China to Taiwan: Occidentalism in Contemporary Sino-Shakespeare

Eko Laukaban

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis aims to establish a model for understanding the intricate motivations and significances of Shakespearean adaptations in the twenty-first-century China and Taiwan. While the term Chinese Shakespeare usually includes the Taiwanese adaptations of the Bard’s work, it fails to signify the fundamental differences between the two countries. The triangular relationship between China, Taiwan, and Shakespeare’s West requires the cross-examination of Sino-centricism and Occidentalism. The Sino-centric perspective denotes the inevitability of referring to China and its culture when discussing countries that share a cultural root with China. The Occidentalist narrative, while set in the Sinophone world, looks at the West through a process of essentialisation, which relies heavily on the historical and ideological development of the Sinophone world where a direct colonial relationship with the Anglophone world does not exist. By examining seven case studies in China and Taiwan, this thesis starts from the historical context from which China gains its modern perspective of cultural centrality, which urges the necessity to understand Chinese Shakespeare through the discourses and competitions between the two authoritative voices of the Chinese culture and Shakespeare’s established critical history in the West. Shakespeare in Taiwan, a representative political entity dislocated from the Sino-centric narrative, serves as an imagined space that enables ideological debates otherwise too sensitive to be discussed. The tension between Taiwan’s current anti- and pro-China ideologies are offered some relief, and whether the presence or the absence of ‘Chineseness’ in Taiwanese Shakespeare is always linked with China’s political and cultural metanarrative. Set in the context of the recent growing interests in Asian Shakespeares, this thesis thus offers a model for future studies on Shakespearean adaptations in the Sinophone world where a Sino-centric and Occidentalist metanarrative dominates the conversation between the adaptor and Shakespeare.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Carson, Christie, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Shakespeare
  • Taiwan
  • China
  • Occidentalism

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