Macquarie University
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Tayal time, space and territory: rethinking scale, property and Taiwan

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:01 authored by Yi-shiuan Chen
This dissertation addresses Indigenous property rights and experiences of dispossession and recovery in Taiwan. Drawing on geographical fieldwork with Tayal people, an Indigenous group living in northern Taiwan, it engages with Indigenous experiences of and responses to a settlers-sanctioned logic of possession and the hegemonic geographical imaginaries imposed by multiple colonizations. The dissertation first examines Tayal ontological understandings of 'possession'. It then discusses the inconsistent ontological understandings of 'property' and 'possession' between Tayal people and the State that underpin Tayal people's dispossession. Drawing on this analysis and using examples from Tayal territory in northern Taiwan, the dissertation argues that the current property system, which was enacted through colonial geographical expansions, requires careful reconsideration. The dissertation offers a re-reading of Taiwanese geopolitics that re-places Indigenous, in this case Tayal, perspectives rather than colonizing narratives, as central to understanding Taiwan's past-present-futures.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Acknowledging Tayal country and its people : methodological reflections and conceptual foundations -- 3. Communal title and indigenous property rights as a challenge for Taiwan's land title systems : insights from the Australian experience -- 4. Reframing indigenous water rights in 'modern' Taiwan : reflecting on Tayal experience of colonized common property -- 5. Decolonizing property in Taiwan : challenging hegemonic constructions of property -- 6. Rethinking geographical imaginaries in Tayal country -- 7. Turning Taiwan inside out : recognizing Tayal positionality and rethinking colonial legacies -- 8. Unsettling 'property' -- Afterword -- Glossayr of Tayal terms -- Appendices -- Bibliography.


Bibliography: pages 183-205 Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography and Planning

Department, Centre or School

Department of Geography and Planning

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Richard Howitt


Copyright Yi-shiuan Chen 2018. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (xii, 205 pages) colour illustrations, colour maps

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