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Book Talk: Island X with Wendy Cheng

February 23, 2024

On Wednesday, April 24 from 3:30 to 5pm in THO 317 and online, the UW Taiwan Studies Program welcomed Professor Wendy Cheng to discuss her newest book entitled Island X: Taiwanese Student Migrants, Campus Spies, and Cold War Activism. Wendy delves into the compelling political lives of Taiwanese migrants who came to the United States as students from the 1960s through the 1980s. Often depicted as compliant model minorities, many were in fact deeply political, shaped by Taiwan’s colonial history and influenced by the global social movements of their time.

Drawing on interviews with student activists and extensive archival research, Wendy Cheng documents how Taiwanese Americans developed tight-knit social networks as infrastructures for identity formation, consciousness development, and anticolonial activism. Raising questions about historical memory and Cold War circuits of power, Island X is a testament to the lives and advocacy of a generation of Taiwanese American activists.

Wendy Cheng is Professor of American Studies at Scripps College. She received her A.B. from Harvard University in English and American Language and Literature, her M.A. in Geography from UC Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), which won the 2014 Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Asia and Asian America, and coauthor of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2012), which won the Association of American Geographers’ Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography and the SCIBA Nonfiction Award.