The question we selected is from lecture 6, "My Life Story": History, Autobiography and Memory --- Design a museum exhibit recounting the history of a 'collective' (a social group, based on age, class, gender, or some other social grouping) and critically assess this representation of the past.
We designed a virtual exhibition called "The Retreat in 1949" in the form of a website (http://silviahill.tumblr.com). The first part of this report is the script of this exhibition. Then in the second part, we compare collective memory and history and evaluate representing the past by collective memory.
Part one: The Design of Exhibition-The Retreat in 1949
1. Background information:
The year 1949 is a significant turning point of the history of China and twentieth century as the Chinese Civil War ended this year. In the description of historians, this war lasted for 3 years and then came to an end: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was the winner and the Kuomintang (KMT) was the loser. The loser then retreated to Taiwan with around 1,500,000 mainland soldiers, who were also the broadly identified "losers". As always, victory finds a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan. So in the history of the winner party, the loser's part is omitted. War ended, the history of that period ends as well.
So for most Chinese, they have no idea what happened to those retreaters. The history of Taiwan between 1949 and 1987 (the year the blockade between Taiwan and Mainland China was lifted) is blank pages for them.