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Book Talk: Taiwan Lives with Niki Alsford

December 12, 2023

On Wednesday, March 6 from 3:30 to 5pm in THO 317 and online, the UW Taiwan Studies Program welcomed Professor Niki Alsford to discuss his newest book entitled Taiwan Lives: A Social and Political History. Published by the University of Washington Press as the first book in the Taiwan and the World book series supported by UW-TSP, Taiwan Lives traces Taiwan’s complex history through the lens of colonial influences from Austronesian expansion to the economic and democratic polity it is today.

Alsford explores this arc of history by recounting the life stories of its inhabitants. Taiwan Lives delves into the lives of twenty-four individuals, including a merchant, exile, activist, pop star, doctor, and a president. These stories span different time periods, social classes, ethnic backgrounds, and political affiliations, yet all offer glimpses into the varied historical epochs and highlight the interconnectedness of colonialism.

Niki J.P. Alsford is Professor in Asia Pacific Studies and Director of Asia Pacific Institutes at the University of Central Lancashire. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, the University of London, and an Associate Member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. Alsford is the author of Transitions to Modernity in Taiwan: The Spirit of 1895 and the Cession of Formosa to Japan, published by Routledge in 2017.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.