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“Savagery” and "Criminality" on the Taiwan Frontier: Primitive Accumulation, Camphor Capitalism, and the Conquest of Aboriginal Taiwan

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Abstract:

This paper examines the relationship between the formation of the camphor industry and the conquest of Indigenous Aborigines in colonial Taiwan. Long used as an aromatic, camphor in the late nineteenth century became a key ingredient in a number of industrial commodities (most notably celluloid). Following its acquisition of Taiwan, the Japanese “Government-General” quickly turned to the island's camphor-rich forests to boost state revenues. Between 1895 and 1915, the Japanese colonial government waged a series of “pacification campaigns” against Aborigines for control of camphor across Taiwan's eastern highlands. During these two decades of colonial war, Japanese security forces invaded Taiwan’s Aboriginal forest lands and forcibly relocated many communities. In addition to these bloody expropriations, Aborigines experienced discriminatory policies that forced them to take up sedentary farming, and also outlawed foundational cultural practices (particularly the ritual taking of heads). These policies were predicated on a form of racism that labeled Aborigines modes of life (hunting, swidden cultivation, headhunting) as fundamentally “savage” and “criminal” practices that threatened both camphor producers and government profits. Using Marxian “primitive accumulation” as a central theoretical frame, this presentation will examine how the creation of Japan’s camphor industries necessitated not only state violence, but also, a sustained ideological assault on all aspects of Aborigines socio-economic and cultural life. While primitive accumulation is traditionally seen as the “pre-history” of the capitalist system, my presentation will expand our understanding of this useful concept by linking it to contemporary forms of racism, as well as violence towards Indigenous people.
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Association:
Name: Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.asian-studies.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1196482_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Roy, Toulouse. "“Savagery” and "Criminality" on the Taiwan Frontier: Primitive Accumulation, Camphor Capitalism, and the Conquest of Aboriginal Taiwan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada, <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1196482_index.html>

APA Citation:

Roy, T. "“Savagery” and "Criminality" on the Taiwan Frontier: Primitive Accumulation, Camphor Capitalism, and the Conquest of Aboriginal Taiwan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1196482_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between the formation of the camphor industry and the conquest of Indigenous Aborigines in colonial Taiwan. Long used as an aromatic, camphor in the late nineteenth century became a key ingredient in a number of industrial commodities (most notably celluloid). Following its acquisition of Taiwan, the Japanese “Government-General” quickly turned to the island's camphor-rich forests to boost state revenues. Between 1895 and 1915, the Japanese colonial government waged a series of “pacification campaigns” against Aborigines for control of camphor across Taiwan's eastern highlands. During these two decades of colonial war, Japanese security forces invaded Taiwan’s Aboriginal forest lands and forcibly relocated many communities. In addition to these bloody expropriations, Aborigines experienced discriminatory policies that forced them to take up sedentary farming, and also outlawed foundational cultural practices (particularly the ritual taking of heads). These policies were predicated on a form of racism that labeled Aborigines modes of life (hunting, swidden cultivation, headhunting) as fundamentally “savage” and “criminal” practices that threatened both camphor producers and government profits. Using Marxian “primitive accumulation” as a central theoretical frame, this presentation will examine how the creation of Japan’s camphor industries necessitated not only state violence, but also, a sustained ideological assault on all aspects of Aborigines socio-economic and cultural life. While primitive accumulation is traditionally seen as the “pre-history” of the capitalist system, my presentation will expand our understanding of this useful concept by linking it to contemporary forms of racism, as well as violence towards Indigenous people.


Similar Titles:
The Intellectual Commons vs Intellectual Property: Marxian and Polanyian Perspectives on Intellectual Capital, including Remarks on Primitive Accumulation

Capitalism as Structurally Determined: Commodification of Labor Power in Primitive Accumulation of Capital


 
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