Written by Manoj Kumar Panigrahi. The government and academicians must work upon a little academic knowledge of Taiwan in India. To begin with, Taiwan Studies can make space for itself within existing programmes or research centres in Northeast Asia or East Asia. Once it gains a stronghold, it can take off as a separate entity. I am optimistic about collaborating with other Taiwan Studies programmes worldwide to enhance India’s new front of research. The primary and most important goal now thus is to initiate and cultivate interest in Taiwan in India. Whether the interest in Taiwan is coming independently or clubbing it with other studies should not matter at the current stage. The debate of whether it shall be clubbed with “China studies” or be called “Sinitic” study can be taken up later.
Written by Henning Klöter. The contributions by Perkuhn and Chien, Wang and Achen and again Chien mention some successful examples of Taiwan studies centres and associations in the US, the UK and mainland Europe. The core of Wang’s and Achen’s argument is that all of them can and should do without sinology. So far, so good. But if we look at the sustainability of Taiwan studies, we need to look beyond centres and associations and ask how the field can attract new cohorts of students and what they expect to learn. In other words, we need to discuss how the study of Taiwan should be integrated into existing curricula or whether Taiwan needs a curriculum in its own right.
Written by Niki Alsford. To conclude, Taiwan Studies exists as an academic discipline because those who engage with it—whether in the continental or oceanic stories—care deeply about it. Debates surrounding its positionality will continue in an almost cyclical context because the anxieties academics have about the future of the field are shaped by the very concerns that we are all facing in a continued onslaught on languages, humanities, and social sciences at academic institutes across the globe. The future-proofing of the discipline rests in encouraging our students to engage with and think about Taiwan. After all, it is a brilliant island to study.
Written by Yi-Ling Chen. The dialogue about if Taiwan studies can be a part of Sinology (Perkuhn and Chien v.s. Wang and Achen) is interesting. Both groups mention the problems of job markets and the sustainability of the institutions. Thirty years ago, the choice of Taiwan research could be academic suicide. Nowadays, the situation is improving only slightly because of the persistent challenges of job opportunities and attractiveness for students and audiences. As Taiwan Studies is a part of soft power, strategic thinking is necessary for the funding agencies to ensure success.
Written by Dafydd Fell. Looking ahead, the field will need to continue seeking strategies to cope with a challenging environment facing many of the still vulnerable international Taiwan Studies programmes. While introducing a Taiwan Foundation would provide an important boost to the field, at least in the short to medium term, other more small-scale approaches will be required to enhance sustainability. Greater cooperation rather than competition between existing Taiwan Studies programmes would be a practical strategy.
Written by Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao. To look ahead, I wish to invite all Taiwan studies scholars worldwide to join us at the next 5th World Congress of Taiwan Studies held in Academia Sinica, Taipei, in 2025. I hope to welcome all of you at the 2025 World Congress in Taiwan. After my experiences in organizing and co-organizing the past four consecutive World Congress of Taiwan Studies in 2012- 2022, I also hope to offer some suggestions for possible changes in both administrative and intellectual aspects for the next Congress to make it an equally meaningful and exciting Congress.
Written by T.Y. Wang and Christopher H. Achen. We believe, however, that Taiwan’s distinctness requires focused scholarly attention from those who study it. The academic infrastructure that will make real progress and productivity possible is one in which the study of Taiwan is its own academic specialisation, equal in standing to the study of China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, or any other part of Asia with a distinct identity. In our opinion, the distinct institutional structures for Taiwan studies that have developed should be continued and strengthened. Journals dedicated to research on Taiwan should also be encouraged and strengthened to make them visible and widely cited as flagship publications like China Quarterly.
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. While the COVID-19 has stopped many individuals from travelling and interacting over the last two years, some cultural exchanges that we never expected to see have emerged during the pandemic. For example, on February 18th, 2022, people in Dongyin, an insular township in Taiwan’s Matsu Islands, had their first online workshop with those from Yonaguni, an island that belongs to Okinawa. Both islands are considered frontiers in their respective countries, and they had many comparable fates throughout history. Therefore, such a cultural exchange between the islands was particularly impressive because it was an activity with the islands as the focal point.
Written by Wen Lii. As Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) enters its primaries ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, DPP candidates in the Matsu Islands face a different challenge: the party has never nominated candidates for local posts in Matsu. The county has long been considered a stronghold for the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The DPP could potentially nominate ten or more candidates in Matsu at various levels of government, although nominations are yet to be finalised until May or June. The upcoming races will mark a historic first for the DPP’s participation in these local posts in Matsu. This will signal an unprecedented scale and scope for DPP campaign activities in Matsu, with the opportunity to further solidify grassroots support.
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Why have some countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic more decisively than others? How have seemingly under-resourced countries performed better—in terms of the number of cases and fatalities—than their richer counterparts? These and other vexing questions have continued to confound many of us as we enter the third year of a pandemic that has brought governments all over the world to their knees.
Written by Viola van Onselen and Tsung-Yi Lin. How does it feel to walk through a desert-like landscape of highly dynamic dunes, and how can Virtual Reality educate people in an interactive way about such an environment? You can now experience this in a new local geopark of Taiwan, the ‘Caota Sand Dunes.’ This geopark promotes the values of coastal dunes, and ongoing research explores new management strategies, local community involvement and the geological history of this environment. This short article highlights the potentials of dunes, the status of dune environments in Taiwan and how this local geopark can set an example as a foundation for Nature-based Solutions.
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.