Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part II 

Written by Ko-yu Chiang, We received a reply confirming that the Mudan remains were indeed still stored in their collection. So, at this point, the puzzle was finally complete. This is the full story of the journey taken by these unfortunate victims. They came from a battle in Pingtung, to an anatomy lab in Yokohama, to the University of Edinburgh, where they were left in storage. 

Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part I

Written by Ko-yu Chiang, Under the beating sun in Taiwan’s most southern tip, Mudan Township, an indigenous Paiwanese district with a current population of 5,000, opened a public committee in May 2020. Despite being in a small township in Taiwan’s far south, this committee was an international affair. In attendance was the council of Indigenous Affairs, Bureau of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, the Pintung County government. The committee also extended to the other side of the world: Edinburgh University in the United Kingdom and the spirits of sixteen Paiwanese Mudan soldiers who have only recently returned home after 146 years abroad.

George Psalmanazar and the fake history of Taiwan

Written by Hung-yi Chien. In the spring of 1704, Psalmanazar published his book An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa and reported many strange customs beyond people’s imagination. He claimed Formosa had a sophisticatedly organised society but was conquered by Japan in the seventeenth century. People of Formosa sacrificed thousands of boys’ hearts to worship their deities.

The Western Gaze: Modern Art and Cultural Diplomacy in 1950s and 1960s Taiwan

Written by Man-hua Chen. Taiwanese modern art burgeoned in the Japanese colonial period. After World War II, along with the change in regime in Taiwan, participation in international art exhibitions as a country became an essential cultural and diplomatic means adopted by the ROC government. The original motive behind this initiative was purely political; nevertheless, it has been a key driver for promoting the development of modern art in Taiwan.

Combatting Human Trafficking during Republican China

Written by Bonny Ling. One of the most interesting chapters in the history of modern China and international law is the vibrant and dynamic engagement of the Republican Chinese government with the League of Nations, the intergovernmental precursor to the United Nations, to address the exploitation of women for prostitution, known then as the “traffic in women.” It is an overlooked prologue that provides the historical context for efforts by successive governments on both sides of the Strait to combat exploitation. This issue remains just as relevant today as it did close to a century ago.

The “Lost Outlying Island” of the Tachen Diaspora

Written by Kai-yang Huang. As Taiwan’s identity debates are slowly eking towards a consensus, it is essential to also pay attention to the diverse marginal voices of the people of Taiwan. Thus, because discourse about Taiwan as a “maritime nation” is increasingly common, more attention has been paid to marine conservation—for example, the IOC established the Maritime Protection Agency and has preserved traditional fishing techniques (for example, the Marine Science Museum exhibits traditional Han fisheries). For the Tachen diaspora, the ocean has long been an important part of their customs and a poignant reminder of their forced migration from their homeland due to the Chinese civil war and their subsequent migration to the United States. Supposing that Taiwan perceives itself as a “maritime nation.” In that case, these narratives deserve a place in Taiwan’s modern historical understanding.

The Penghu Migrants Behind Kaohsiung’s Post-war Boom

Written by Tshinn-Hun Miguel Liou. Strictly speaking, there’s nothing inherent about the connection between the people of Kaohsiung and Penghu, and the route that many people from Penghu took from Kaohsiung was often more treacherous than the path for those emigrating within Taiwan. However, the consensus linking people from these two places should give pause for thought. So, why is Kaohsiung the first choice for people from Penghu who move to Taiwan? 

Remembering Tragic Spirits: The Worship of Nationalist and Communist War Dead in Kinmen

Written by Junbin Tan. would know, Kinmen was the Republic of China’s (ROC Taiwan) battlefront against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 1949 to the 1990s. Thus, the residents of Guningtou, a cluster of villages a short drive from Kinmen’s north-western shoreline where one could see Xiamen’s skyscrapers, were first-hand witnesses of battles, artillery bombardments, and decades of militarisation.

Making Narrative out of History: Green Island and the White Terror

Written by Shawna Yang Ryan. Green Island, part of the archipelago of Taiwan, lies roughly 33 kilometres off Taiwan’s east coast. During Taiwan’s martial law period, this was a notorious prison for political prisoners. In my novel, Green Island, the narrator’s father is imprisoned by the KMT for advocating democracy during the transition to KMT rule. Still, the title also functions as a metaphor for Taiwan itself during the martial law era. 

What is ‘Home’ and Who are the ‘Overseas Chinese’?

Written by Yun Seh Lee. This year marks the 100th anniversary of that first KMT-CCP coalition, and the competition across the Taiwan Strait is still going strong. Focusing on the Overseas Chinese communities across the globe – a term populated by the prominent scholar Wang Gungwu – both players have been enthusiastically trying to win the hearts and minds of this diaspora. The label ‘Overseas Chinese’ itself hints at an ongoing link to China, but the PRC and Taiwan dispute the nature of that link and its contemporary manifestation.

Queer Passion Between Generations: The view from Martial Law-era Literature

Written by Ta-wei Chi. It is rewarding to revisit history. I am motivated to reread the martial-law-period queer literature often, for it reminds me that the members of sexual minorities back then were imagined leveraging their survival despite their minimalised resources. Maybe it is precisely because of their precarious lives that they had to empower themselves with intergenerational articulations, in which queer seniors were indispensable.  

Becoming an Anti-Communist Stronghold: The KMT’s ‘Strategic Transition’ and Emergence of the ROC in Taiwan with Imperial Japanese Assistance, 1945-1952

Written by Ko-Hang Liao. The joint statement between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on April 16, 2021, once again caught everybody’s attention on serious concerns of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait upon the continuing escalation of challenges from China on possibly changing the status quo by force or coercion. This was the first time that Taiwan was mentioned in a US-Japan leaders statement since 1969. Although the situation seems to be frequently changing, it is essential to understand the current tension historically. Indeed, studying the early Cold War period can reveal much about what is happening and how Taiwan has come to the recent position.

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