Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tim Oakes

Second Advisor

Emily Yeh

Third Advisor

John O’Loughlin


After years of travel bans and despite an ongoing dispute over sovereignty and territory, Chinese tourists have poured into Taiwan since 2008. In this thesis, I develop an argument, based on theories of governmentality and performativity, that treats borders and territories as dynamic processes rather than places. I use this theory first to argue that tourism should be treated as a technology of state territorialization in general, and then to analyze the spatial politics of tourism between China and Taiwan in particular. I apply this analytical framework to ethnographic data collected during fieldwork in tourist sites in Taiwan in summer 2012. I conclude that tourism is producing multiple sensations of stateness in Taiwan, and exacerbating contradictions between China and Taiwan's programs of state territorialization.