The ‘Sahara’ of Taiwan: A New Local Geopark and the Potentials of Sand Dunes

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.

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.

Taiwan with a Side of New Public Diplomacy

Written by Martin Mandl. At about the same time as Bubble Tea made its first appearance in Vienna, President Ma Ying-jeou proclaimed “taking Taiwan’s food to the world a policy priority”. What followed was an economic stimulus plan, sometimes referred to by commentators as “All in Good Taste – Savour the Flavours of Taiwan”.

The Public Nature of Civil Disobedience: Lessons from the Sunflower and Umbrella Movement

Written by Leon N. Kunz. In March 2014, participants in the Sunflower Movement peacefully occupied the main chamber of Taiwan’s parliament to block the ratification of a controversial trade agreement with the PRC that they viewed as a threat to Taiwanese democracy. In September of the same year, protesters involved in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement created street occupations to push for genuine democratic reform. In both cases, participants not merely occupied public space but claimed to engage in civil disobedience. According to the often-cited definition by liberal theorist John Rawls, civil disobedience is “a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done to bring about a change in the law or policies of the government.” To what extent did the occupations in Taiwan and Hong Kong conform to the dominant liberal civil disobedience script?

Taiwanese Literature in Transition: Indigenous Writing and Eco-literature as Method

Written by Ti-han Chang. At the crossroad of the 21st century, we see the rise of a new transition in Taiwanese literature. In the era of anthropogenic climate change, environmental literature or ecocriticism, which was first established in the Anglophone literature begins to sow its seeds in Taiwan in the late 80s and early 90s. Alongside this new transition, aboriginal literature in Taiwan also underwent a phase of cultural renaissance in the same period. Work published by Syaman Rapongan 夏曼藍波安, Walis Nokan瓦歷斯諾幹, and Topas Tamapima 拓拔斯塔瑪匹瑪 (田雅各) enrich and diversify the literary scene in Taiwan. The work of Rapongan, which promotes sea-writing and oceanic cultural imaginary, deserves, especially our attention.

Speaking on Behalf of the State: The Women on the Radio and behind the Loudspeakers during the Cold War

Written by Isabelle Cheng. Women have a complicated relationship with the wars waged by the nation-state. Women are the reproducers and boundary ma(r)kers of the nation, so women, notably when they embody the nation’s image, are said to be protected by the state as a reason for going to war. They are also projected as the victims of war when the state loses to its enemy, mainly when the enemy uses rape as a weapon to weaken national morale. On the battlefield, women are used as fighters, porters, carers, entertainers or sex slaves to enhance war fighting capacity physically or mentally. During the two world wars, in the state’s propaganda, women were encouraged to ‘give away’ their husbands and sons to the state or were recruited to fill the vacancies left by men to work in the manufacturing, agricultural or transport sectors. Their homemaking and thrifty cooking were characterised as contributing to war efforts. Regardless of which of these roles they play, they are instrumentalised by the state.

How Community Capacity Process Impacts Participatory Community Development in Taiwan

Written by Takako Sasaki. It has been 20 years since Yong-le CDA began PCD, and this case suggested that community capacity was gradually acquired over a long period. PCD research often targets projects with a limited span of period, and it cannot be said that community capacity has been thoroughly discussed. That being said, its importance was still recognised. Thus, current research must deepen over a more extended period.

Gastrodiplomacy in Contemporary International Relations of Asia and Its Relationship to Everyday Nationalism: A Reflection on the Gastronomic Campaigns of Taiwan, Thailand, and South Korea

Written by Fatimaah J Menefee. Culinary diplomacy, food diplomacy, gastronationalism, and gastrodiplomacy are applied liberally to describe food and diplomacy in contemporary international relations. Culinary Arts as a medium in diplomacy dates to the genesis of humankind. Consider Peaches of Immortality, protected by the Queen Mother in Ancient China, that served as a reward to all faithful mortals and immortals.

Back to the 80s: Taiwanese-American Intellectuals’ Views on Taiwan Relationship in Two Oversea Magazines

Written by Sui Lam Cheung. Taiwan’s international status and sovereignty have always been closely related to US international policies. As a result, the US-Taiwan relation has always attracted widespread attention and discussion. Thus, scholars have begun to pay attention to the American aid culture in economic and cultural fields. For instance, Wang Meihsiang and Chen Chienchung have analysed the US aid literature system from a sociology of literature perspective to explain how Taiwanese intellectuals received direct or indirect economic assistance from the United States. This assistance was used to introduce or develop related cultural production literary works and cultural phenomena. In addition to examining the development of Taiwan’s literary field, US aid culture can also be another perspective to examine non-official views other than the official discourse of the US and Taiwan.

Gay Jouissance: Queering the Representation of Same-sex Desire in 1990s Taiwan Literature

Written by Yahia Zhengtang Ma. The last decade of the twentieth century was an especially interesting time in the emergence of ‘tongzhi literature’. This genre consists of literary works that ‘deal with homosexuals and homosexuality’ in Taiwan when queer cinema was introduced to Taiwan via Hong Kong. The 1990s are widely considered the golden age of tongzhi literature, animated by such widely-celebrated literary works by Ta-wei Chi, Chu T’ien-wen, Qiu Miaojin, among many others. However, existing scholarship on this has primarily emphasised the complexity of the tongzhi identity, subjectivity, and discourse around tongzhi, tongxianglian and queer in solely its original Chinese texts through the lens of cultural studies and literary studies.

Maternity, a Biter Transition, an Empowering Continuum or Both? Childbirth and the Practices of Yuezi under Beauty Pressure in Taiwan

Written by Amélie Keyser-Verreault. Many feminist analyses emphasize the influence of neoliberalism in changing maternity and causing intensified beauty pressure. In this article, I seek to inaugurate a discussion of the relationship between motherhood and the quest for beauty, primarily the phenomenon of a new sexy maternity in Taiwan’s neoliberal context. Since the rapid spread of neoliberal ideology might favour the inclusion of beauty as part of human capital—and non-Western societies can be thought of as directly affected by this global beauty culture—it is relevant to observe the phenomenon of regaining one’s body.

228 Seventy-Four Years On: The Fight for Transitional Justice

Written by Tabea Muehlbach. February 28, 2017, marked the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident, a bloody crackdown on Taiwanese civilians by Nationalist troops in 1947. In 2017, Tsai Ing-wen’s spoke for the first time as a president at the central commemorations in the 228 Peace Park in Taipei. Such ceremonies had become a regular annual instalment not long after Lee Teng-hui apologises to the victims in 1995.

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