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[Announcement] UW Taiwan Studies 2021 Newsletter

August 24, 2021

UW Taiwan Studies 2021 Newsletter

It has been an eventful year for the University of Washington Taiwan Studies Program (UW-TSP).  Despite the pandemic, UW-TSP has offered a record number of events, more than tripling the number of events we offered the year prior.  Furthermore, with all of our events being virtual, we were able to extend them to a global audience.  Below is an overview of our events and courses from the past year, as well as a preview of the coming year.  If you missed any events, we invite you to view them at our YouTube channelA complete list of events with links to YouTube videos is provided at the end of this newsletter.

Public Events

Book Series 

UW-TSP continued our annual new book lecture series on Taiwan Studies with four exciting new releases.

Professor Ming-sho Ho’s Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven addressed contemporary political protest in Taiwan, particularly the Sunflower Movement and how its success and tactics compared to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. This October 2020 lecture was timely, as Hong Kong was many months into the Anti-Extradition Law Protests, allowing for discussion of present day events with those of 2014 in Taiwan.

Professor Julia Strauss was hosted in January 2021 to speak about her book, State Formation in China and Taiwan, which juxtaposes the performative strategies used by the “conservative” ROC in Taiwan and the “revolutionary” PRC in Sunan during the 1950s and 60s. Strauss compared aspects such as court proceedings and official state media to demonstrate how the state communicated, or performed, norms and expectations to the public.

In April 2021, Professor Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang discussed his book The Great Exodus from China, which addresses issues of trauma and memory for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese Civil War refugees in Taiwan, or waishengren. The majority had not realized that this migration would be generations-long, and even when “homecomings” were had, most realized that their reunions were not what they had imagined.

Finally, in May 2021, Dr. Dafydd Fell spoke on his new work, Taiwan’s Green Parties. Through analyzing key patterns of party change via electoral campaign ideology, organization, and its human face,  Fell plots the Green Party’s evolution and its engagement with the global green movement.

Winter 2021 Environmental Lecture Series 

This year was the first special four part lecture series organized by UW-TSP faculty member Dr. Yen-Chu Weng, in conjunction with the UW Program on the Environment. These lectures were held in a two week span from February 23rd to March 4th. Professors Chung-En Liu of National Taiwan University, Tsung-Jen Shih of National Chengchi University, Kuanhui Lin of National Taiwan Normal University, and Po-Yi Hung of National Taiwan University, presented talks on contemporary environmental issues in Taiwan. Among the issues discussed were the “young male demographic” in climate change opinion, how typhoon Morakot changed Taiwan’s approach to natural disaster governance, or how organic agriculture is being received by Taiwan’s farming communities.

Roundtables on Semiconductors, Digital Governance, and Modern History

In addition to the above, we hosted three major roundtable discussions on issues of contemporary relevance to Taiwanese society, economy, and history.

“Taiwan Entangled in the Global Economy,” was co-hosted with the UW Foster School of Business Global Business Center and the UW East Asia Center on May 19th. This roundtable brought together experts fromacademia (Willian Kirby, Professor, Harvard University), journalism (Cindy Wang, Breaking News Editor, Bloomberg), and industry (Ken Sun, General Manager-Taiwan, Microsoft). Our speakers discussed the health of Taiwan’s economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with how Taiwan’s businesses navigate greater US-China-Taiwan geopolitical forces.

“Digital Governance & Public Sphere beyond COVID-19” hosted Taiwan’s Digital Minister, Audrey Tang, along with UW-TSP faculty member Professor Jeff Hou, Professor Hendrik Tieben of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Kevin Hsu of the Center for Liveable Cities, Singapore, to discuss the use of technology and the internet in connecting citizens with government services. This roundtable occured on December 17th, 2020.

Finally, on March 1st, co-hosted with the Tateuchi East Asia Library, Professor Hsueh-Chi Hsu, Director of the Academia Sinica Institute of Taiwan History, discussed the state of the field of Taiwanese history. Director Hsu presented in Mandarin Chinese an enlightening overview of recent trends and new sources in the study of Taiwan’s history.

Academic Events

From December 2020 to January 2021, the Taiwan Studies Program hosted Land/scaping Taiwan, an international academic workshop held virtually with a group of 11 scholars from several fields, including history, sociology, art history, anthropology, media studies, and urban studies. “Land/scaping” highlighted how spatial, cultural, and material frames, including both human and non-human actors, can reveal new approaches to studying Taiwan. Scholars explored sub-themes of environment, urban and rural spaces, indigeneity, images, representation, and resistance. 

A New Arts and Culture Program

UW-TSP is delighted to welcome Ellen Chang(張雅倫)as the first director of our new Arts and Culture Program. Supported by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Arts and Culture Program will offer a variety of public events for local, regional, and national audiences. UW-TSP held its first Arts and Culture programs this past spring, offering a virtual performance of “Rage” by Taiwanese contemporary dance group, B. Dance, and sponsoring Taiwanese cinema of the Seattle International Film Festival. Ellen will begin her new role at the start of the 2021-22 academic year, and will also offer a Taiwan Studies course through the Jackson School of International Studies.


We continued to strengthen our course offerings in the past academic year with Modern Taiwan History; Making Modern Taiwan; Environmental Issues in East Asia: China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan; Science, Technology, and Innovation in East Asia: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China.  All of these will be offered again in the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

We are also pleased to announce two new Taiwan Studies courses available in the coming year:

First, we are honored to have senior Taiwan scholar, Dr. Melissa Brown (Harvard), teaching “Women, Nationalism, & Cosmopolitanism in Taiwan” in Autumn 2021. 

This course explores why Taiwanese society’s treatment of women makes it significantly different from—more cosmopolitan and more resilient than—China. It considers how gender shapes society—more specifically, how the treatment of women and feminized genders create the basis for effective cosmopolitan counterpoints to imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism.

Also new this year, Ellen Chang, incoming Director of our Arts and Culture Program, will offer “Made in Taiwan: Arts and Culture of Contemporary Taiwan” in Winter 2022. This course will provide an introduction to the arts and culture of contemporary Taiwan through audio/visual materials of key themes such as gender, indigeneity, migration, sports, and music. It will also cover cinematic works that emerge from political movements, such as the Wild Lily Movement in 1990 and the Sunflower Movement in 2014, and the role that cultural producers play in community relations. Our new Arts and Culture Program is funded by a generous grant from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Links to Videos

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