Bert Scruggs

Associate Professor, East Asian Languages & Literature

University of California, Irvine


My current writing and research interests lie in Chinese representations of identity, memory, nature, and solitude in Taiwan.
Work in Progress (to be presented at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in September 2016) --

Atomic Wastelands in Three Taiwanese Novels

If representational writing inevitably obliterates the truth it seeks to represent, and “is at best only partial, and at worst expresses and reinforces the very structures of repression that it is intended to combat.” (Welsh, 2008) How or can fictional ruins prevent the real thing? In particular, what is the thesis advanced by novels thematically driven by atomic accidents? This essay on nuclear wastelands, societal decay, and half-lives in three Taiwanese novels is a preliminary attempt to answer such questions by engaging the narratives as organic components of human experience instead of employing visual metaphors such as lenses or prisms. In particular, I am reading these novels into a constellation of discourses including fiction; history and anthropology; reportage and protest literature; and philosophy, in order to advocate a new means of engaging fictive space, ruins as a site rather than the sight of ruins, and to suggest how such critical practice provides representational writing the potential to undermine rather than reinforce.
Publications Translingual Narration: Colonial and Postcolonial Taiwanese Fiction and Film. Hawai'i. (2015)
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Last updated 05/16/2016