A Brief Introduction to the Taiwanese Minnan and Hakka Villages Project

  Three sets of recordings will be digitized as part of the Taiwanese Minnan and Hakka Villages Project. The first is a compilation of 8 mm film and reel-to-reel audio recordings taken by American anthropologist Burton Pasternak during fieldwork in a Hakka-speaking (Tatieh Village, Hsinpi Township, Pingtung County) and a Minnan -speaking (Chungshe Village, Liujia Township, Tainan County) village in southern Taiwan in the 1960’s. Pasternak was Ph.D. thesis advisor to the director of this project, Hu Tai-li. After Hu Tai-li learned of the existence of such precious recordings, she received authorization from Pasternak for the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Ethnology to transfer the recordings to 75 DVDs and 5 cassette tapes and archive them at the Institute for digitization. These materials include recordings taken by Pasternak from 1963-65 in the Hakka-speaking Tatieh Village, which include images of the village, farming, and Matsu pilgrimage along with audio of religious music, songs, and instruments from the village. The recordings include those taken by Pasternak from 1968 to 1969 in the Minnan -speaking Chungshe Village showing a marriage ceremony, religious worship, fire-walking, martial arts, and agriculture. To learn more about the ethnography of these two villages, please read Burton Pasternak’s Kinship and Community in Two Chinese Villages (1972).

  The second group to be digitized were the follow-up video recordings took by Hu Tai-li at the location of her fieldwork for her Ph.D. thesis, My Mother-in-Law’s Village. It is the Minnan -speaking village of Liu Ts’o in Taichung’s Nantun district. Content of the recordings include a Taoist priest performing funeral rites, a memorial service, marriage ceremony, relocation of the Liu Ts’o’s earth god temple, changes triggered by the construction of a highway through the village, and tomb sweeping and agriculture in Liu Ts’o recorded from 1997 to 2010. For more information on the ethnography of Liu Ts’o’s Village please refer to Hu Tai-li’s Xifurumen (Daughter-in-law Entering the Door媳婦入門) (1981/1997) and My Mother-in-Law’s Village: Rural Industrialization and Change in Taiwan (1984).

  The third and final set of recordings to be digitized was filmed by Hu Tai-li in 2003 on behalf of Professor Pasternak. Hu attended the burial ceremony (移靈儀式) of Pasternak’s good friend Lin Lai-hsiang who he met during his days of field work in Tatieh Village. Following the ceremony, Hu also filmed the pilgrimage of the Matsu idol from the Tatieh Village Matsu Temple, Matsu birthday celebratory rites, and interviews with women. When contrasted with Pasternak’s 1960’s films, these newer recordings underscore the transformation of Taiwan’s rural villages.