Digital Anthropology and the Renewal of Waishengren Studies: From Digitized Tombs to Identity Claims

Yoann Goudin, Oliver Streiter, Jimmy Chun Huang, Ann Meifang Lin

Abstract


In this study we illustrate the potential contribution of digital archives to the study of variation among Taiwan’s Waishengren. Using the digital archive ThakBong of gravesites in Taiwan, into which the census data of 1956 have been merged, we show that
Waishengren varied in their practices and their social structure from North to South and through time in yet unobserved patterns. Our interpretation is that Waishengren assimilated and potentially even merged into existing Holo communities in the South, while in the
North, Waishengren developed social distinctions through these practices to reflect power and ethnicity. Regional distinctions will thus be central in future Waishengren-studies.

Keywords


Taiwan; Waishengren; funeral practices; tombstone archive; digital anthropology

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