Fugitive Subjects of “Mi-Yi”: Politics of Life and Labor in Taiwan’S Transpacific Medical Modernity(3/3)

Project Details


I am applying for a three-year book project to complete my manuscript on the politics of life and labor in Taiwan’s transpacific medical modernity. Looking at a variety of texts including literary, journalistic, archival and my own ethnographic material based on interviews and field work, Fugitive Subjects of “Mi-Yi” is a genealogical investigation of the “secret doctors” as an index figure of Taiwan’s medical modernity during different state regimes by linking the transpacific USTaiwan Cold War relations to inter-Asia historical interconnections. I considered the “mi-yi” as a threshold figure (shuttling between legality and illegality, seeing and unseeing, modern and indigenous) to unravel how Taiwan’s colonial and medical modernity are vertically structured by multifaceted (trans-local and transnational)histories of Japanese colonial medicine, the scientific reformulation of “modern medicine” under the KMT nationalist regime, and the U.S. Cold War involvement in Asia. Tracing the genealogies of the “mi-yi” within Taiwanese society during different regimes of power, Fugitive Subjects of “Mi-Yi” interrogates the transpacific historical conditions of Taiwan’s medical modernity as characterized by a “lack of knowledge” about Japanese colonialism and US ColdWar epistemological and socio-political violence. I identify this violence as an unacknowledged racialized imperialism in the displacements that are inherent within medical humanism and capitalist modernity when the latter are mobilized for developmental historical narratives. In tracing the genealogies of the “mi-yi” figure in Taiwanese society and its politics of knowledge production, I explain how the illegality of medical practices and the hierarchical structure of production and reproduction of labor became central to Taiwan’s modernization, a process that transformed perceptions and practices about medical cultures, life, and care.My research identifies often-obscured genealogies of power, and contributes to the discussions of race, the Cold War, capitalism, medical modernity and inter-Asia referencing. This research contributes to contemporary understandings of transpacific historical formations of Cold War modernity and how these formations articulate neocolonial governance of life; Cold War developmental narratives of Asian nations; and the coordinated medicalized modernizing conditions of labor migration and hierarchical reproduction of life-indifferentiations.
Effective start/end date1/08/2131/07/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • secrete doctors
  • Cold War
  • neocolonialism
  • Transpacific Asian and Asian American Studies
  • medical humanities
  • Inter-Asia referencing
  • medical modernity
  • biopolitics
  • empire
  • racialized capitalism
  • labor politics


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