JSIS A 414: Made in Taiwan: Arts and Culture of Contemporary Taiwan


Ellen Y. Chang

Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to the arts and culture of contemporary Taiwan through audio/visual texts of several key themes. Our travels over the quarter will explore a curated series of audio/visual works that embodies the multi-faceted narratives of “Made in Taiwan” as they capture the complexity and multiplicity of Taiwan’s artistic and cultural scenes both within and beyond the geopolitical boundaries of the island, as well as the tensions and debates that emerge at moments of cross-cultural interactions. Our audio/visual sites of inquiry range from documentary and narrative films, independent and major labels music, folksongs, recordings of live performance, video art and installation, photo- and video-essays, television series, animations, video games, and vlogs, some of which were made with a distinct local or international audience in mind while others embrace both.

“Made in Taiwan” will address topics such as the role of gender as it intersects with other social formations, indigeneity of Taiwan, indigenous land rights and environmental protests, how migrant workers and transnational marriage confront racial constructs and multiculturalism of Taiwan, sport as vehicles for navigating national identity, collective trauma and cultural memories, cultural productions as soft power to negotiate global politics, and how local folk culture—cuisines, rituals, lifestyles—becomes spectacles for local and international tourism, urban regeneration, and community mobilization.

By the end of the course, students should have a good idea of what Taiwan is, how it looks, sounds, and feels like, and be able to discuss cultural products and issues about Taiwan in relation to local and global perspectives and interactions.

Time TBD
5 Credits

Faculty Contact: Ellen Y. Chang (