Taiwan Studies: New Directions and Connections

Taiwan Studies: New Directions and Connections will focus on the challenges and potentialities of Taiwan studies. Sponsored by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the workshop will take place on April 7-8th 2017 (Friday-Saturday), at Harvard University.

With the workshop, we seek to provide a new forum in which young scholars from different disciplines can present their ongoing projects, challenge existing frameworks and methodologies, and explore possibilities of interdisciplinary cooperation.

Participants are invited to present concrete case studies from Taiwan which enable them to engage with current theoretical and methodological issues in the humanities and social sciences. They are encouraged to situate Taiwan within diverse cultural and geopolitical networks and historical trajectories. We look forward to innovative theories deriving from transcultural and interdisciplinary dialogue. The keywords of their presentations include:

  • Resistance politics: journalistic freedom, student activism, media connectivity
  • History and futurity: localism, modernism, post-colonialism, post-loyalism, sinicization and de-sinicization, East Asia and beyond
  • Cultural articulation: transculturaion and translation, mediality and visuality, lyricism and affect, Sinophone sphere

The schedule of the workshop appears below. Continue reading

Translingual generation poet Tu Pan Fang-ko

Source: Taipei Times (3/5/17)
Taiwan in Time: The sweet sound of the mother tongue
A member of the ‘translingual generation,’ poet Tu Pan Fang-ko wrote in languages imposed on her by the Japanese and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regimes, but turned to her native Hakka after the lifting of martial law
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Tu Pan Fang-ko, third from left in back row, poses for her high school graduation photo. Photo courtesy of National Central Library

March 6 to March 12

Last month, the family of the late poet Tu Pan Fang-ko (杜潘芳格) donated 340 manuscripts to the National Central Library. The three languages these documents were written in — Japanese, Mandarin and Hakka — represent Tu Pan’s literary journey through Taiwan’s turbulent history.

Living through the Japanese and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regimes, the political climate dictated what language Tu Pan wrote in for most of her life. It wasn’t until she was in her 60s that she began to use her native Hakka.

Writers like Tu Pan are often included in the “translingual generation” (跨語言的一代), a term coined in 1967 by poet Lin Heng-tai (林亨泰) to describe those who were educated in Japanese but were forced to pick up Mandarin under KMT rule. He specifically referred to those who came of age under the colonial government’s Japanifcation policy, which officially began in 1936. Continue reading

Professors in Taiwan petition to protect academic freedom

For more Taipei Times reports on this story, see here and here.–Kirk

Source: Taipei Times (3/7/17)
Professors petition to protect academic integrity, saying freedom is ‘not for sale’
By Wu Po-hsuan and Jonathan Chin

A Taiwanese professor on Sunday launched a petition to protect academic freedom following allegations last week that a majority of the nation’s universities signed letters agreeing to censor topics Beijing deems offensive.

Shih Hsin University on Thursday last week was accused of signing a letter promising Chinese universities that its faculty would not discuss sensitive political topics in classes offered to Chinese exchange students, such as “one China, one Taiwan,” “two Chinas” and Taiwanese independence. Continue reading

2/28 still echoes in Beijing and Taipei

Source: SCMP (2/28/17)
70 years on, Taiwan’s crushed uprising still echoes in Beijing and Taipei
Mainland China marks ‘228 Incident’ as part of bigger push to underscore one-China policy
By Lawrence Chung

Hundreds of people form the words ‘Do Not Forget 228’ during a sit-in in front of the Liberty Square to commemorate the 228 Incident in Taipei, February 28, 2009. Photo: Reuters

It may be seven decades since the massacre of thousands of Taiwanese by China’s then Kuomintang government but the event is still causing political waves.

Taiwan and the mainland are both holding a series of high-profile activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the “228 Incident” in which KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek sent in troops to suppress an uprising on the island on February 28, ushering in the “White Terror” period. Continue reading

Pornography’s Global Impact

I think this documentary will be of interest to the readers of the MCLC list! Could you please forward to the list?–Ming-Bao Yue <mingbao@hawaii.edu>

Pornography’s Global Impact: A Case Study in Asia

Online pornography is big business. At any given moment, 1.7 million Internet users around the world are streaming pornography, one-third of all online content is pornographic, and one in four Internet searches are porn-related. But despite these astonishing figures, there are relatively few media education resources that investigate pornography’s impact on cultural attitudes and norms.

In her riveting new short film Pornography’s Global Impact, Dr. Chyng Sun, the director of The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality, and Relationships and a professor at NYU, explores how Internet pornography has shaped attitudes and behavior in Taiwan, one of the world’s most lucrative porn markets. Continue reading

Taiwan ranks ahead of US in freedom report

Posted by Joseph Allen <jrallen@umn.edu>
Source: Taipei Times (2/2/17)
Taiwan ranks ahead of the US in freedom report
LANDS OF THE FREEBrazil, Denmark, France, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea and the US all experienced setbacks in political rights, civil liberties or both last year
By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan receives a score of 91 out of 100 in the 2017 Freedom In The World report published by US rights watchdog Freedom House on Tuesday, outperforming the US. Photo: Screenshot from the Freedom House Web Site

Taiwan has been rated ahead of the US in Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report.

In the annual report released by the Washington-based rights watchdog on Tuesday, Taiwan scored 91 out of 100, beating out France (90), the US (89) and South Korea (82).

Taiwan was given a perfect score — one out of seven, with one representing the most free and seven the least free — in both political rights and civil liberties, as well as receiving one for overall freedom. Continue reading

Qiu Miaojin documentary

Source: SCMP (1/13/17)
Taiwanese novelist who killed herself in Paris at 26, Qiu Miaojin, remembered and reassessed in RTHK film
Lesbian writer whose death is credited with seeding LGBT movement in Taiwan is the subject of Hong Kong filmmaker Evans Chan’s documentary, which comes amid renewed interest in her books
By Enid Tsui

A screen grab from Evans Chan’s RTHK documentary about late Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin. Photo: Courtesy of Evans Chan

Think of Qiu Miaojin, and the first thing that comes to mind is the Taiwanese writer’s melodramatic death; the second, perhaps, is her sexuality. In June 1995, the lesbian novelist killed herself in Paris shortly after completing Last Words from Montmartre, a semi-autobiographical novel in which the protagonist decides to commit suicide. She was 26.

Continue reading

Bolton backs US forces in Taiwan

Source: Japan Times (1/18/17)
Top Trump adviser Bolton backs U.S. forces in Taiwan, says move could lessen Okinawa burden

John Bolton, an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump and former ambassador to the United Nations, stands in the elevator of Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 2. | BLOOMBERG

Amid increasingly tense Sino-U.S. ties, John Bolton, a former American ambassador to the U.N. and a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, has called for a closer U.S. military relationship with Taiwan to help counter a “belligerent” Beijing.

In a commentary published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal likely to stoke anger in China, Bolton said Washington “could enhance its East Asia military posture by increasing U.S. military sales to Taiwan and by again stationing military personnel and assets there.” Continue reading

On taking gay rights from Taipei to Beijing

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (1/18/17)
On Taking Gay Rights from Taipei to Beijing: Don’t Call It a Movement

Lai Jeng-jer, a gay rights activist from Taiwan, at Two Cities, the cafe he opened after moving to Beijing in 2012. Before that, he had run a pioneering gay-themed bookstore in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. Credit: Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

Taiwan moved one step closer last month to becoming the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, when a legislative committee passed draft changes to the island’s civil code. The proposed amendments have been sent to party caucuses for negotiation and possibly further revision before a final version is approved outright or goes to a vote by the Legislative Yuan, a process that is expected to take months. Still, the development was applauded by gay rights advocates, not just in Taiwan but in mainland China as well. Continue reading

Tsai Ing-wen’s spring couplet

Source: The China Post (1/2/17)
President’s spring couplet panned by literati
By Sun Hsin Hsuan

President Tsai Ing-wen’s unusual use of Taiwanese for an annual spring couplet on Sunday has come under fire — not for its language, but for what literature critics have described as its “incorrect” structure.

National Museum of Taiwanese Literature head Liao Chen-fu (廖振富), while praising the president for “bringing public awareness to Taiwanese literature,” gave a poor review of the couplet itself, saying: “The president’s spring couplets could probably count as two lines of new year greetings, but couplets? Not so much.” Continue reading

Trump speaks with Tsai Ing-wen (6)

Another good piece below. My own comment to the whole affair is that many on the so-called left in the US as well as in other Western countries often seem to still live in the cold war era — they never got the memo about Taiwan’s democracy, which came about at the end of the cold war. Maybe this affair will make them get that memo. — Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu

Source: Washington Post (12/7/16)
Americans should stop using Taiwan to score points against China
By Lin Fei-fan, Chen Wei-ting and June Lin


Keep Taiwan Free rally on July 2 2014 in New York City, Photo by Alysa Chiu.

[Lin Fei-fan is a co-founder of Taiwan March, a pro-Taiwan advocacy group, and Network of Young Democratic Asians, an alliance with regional activists. Chen Wei-ting is a co-founder of Taiwan March. June Lin is a co-founder of Democracy Tautin, a social justice group, and is currently based in Washington, D.C. The three of them were student leaders during the 2014 Taiwan Sunflower Movement.]

Like many Americans who stand for progressive ideals, few young Taiwanese see someone like Donald Trump as a decent leader. However, the anxious reaction of the American media and foreign policy establishment to the Dec. 2 phone call between Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and President-elect Trump is also at odds with American values of human rights, freedom and democracy. Continue reading

Trump speaks with Tsai Ing-wen (5)

From: Martin Winter <dujuan99@gmail.com>
Source: Quartz (12/6/16)
Liberal Americans should be celebrating Trump’s Taiwan call, not condemning it
By Kevin Hsu, Lecturer in urban studies, Stanford University

A ten-minute phone call between US president-elect Donald Trump and president Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan has generated much hullaballoo. Or to be more precise, the histrionic reporting in its aftermath by the American media certainly seems to have done so.

A glance at the comical transcripts of Trump’s earlier conversation with the Pakistani prime minister reveals how seriously to weigh these phone sessions. (Hint: not very). But let’s allow that this could be a deliberate act on the part of the incoming leader, with some measure of symbolic value. Continue reading