Taiwanese scholar wins French award in colonial studies

A Taiwanese scholar's work on photographs of Taiwan's indigenous peoples taken during the Japanese colonial era won an award from a French research institute on Friday.

Lee Ju-ling's (???) book "Imaginer l'indigène: la photographie coloniale à Taiwan" was among 12 works by scholars that received awards in various fields from the Académie des sciences d'outre-mer, which has been devoted to colonial studies since its establishment in 1923.

In her book, Lee reviewed photographs and postcards produced by the Japanese during their rule of Taiwan from 1895-1945, to learn how Taiwan's indigenous people were depicted at that time.

Lee told CNA that the visual materials were a powerful tool used to justify imperialism, as they often portrayed indigenous peoples as barbaric and needing to be ruled and educated.

"When the pictures were disseminated in Japan or overseas, they would defend the country's possession of foreign lands as a necessary process to build civilization," she said.

During her more than 10 years of research on the subject, Lee said, she found that important indigenous cultures and rituals -- such as tattooing-- were stigmatized.

Lee said she hopes her work will inspire more research into Taiwan under Japanese rule and the relationship between colonizers and the colonized.

Taiwan's Representative to France Francois Wu (???) was also present at the award ceremony.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel