Taiwan Studies and Sinology: A Curriculum Perspective

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.

A Reflection on ‘Taiwan Studies’ as a Discipline in and of Itself

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.

Promoting Taiwan Studies is about spending money strategically: My user’s experiences as a senior abroad professor in Taiwan Studies

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.

Making Taiwan Studies Sustainable: Reflections Five Years after the Golden Age of Taiwan Studies Debate

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.

Retrospect for the 4th World Congress of Taiwan Studies and Beyond

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.

The Taiwanese Diaspora in Berlin and COVID-19

Written by Jens Damm. With the outbreak and global spread of COVID-19, reports of the stigmatisation of Asian-looking people have been accumulating in Germany and worldwide. Therefore, for a small research project, I chose to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with Taiwanese who spent the time of the pandemic in Berlin. I focused on their personal experiences as transnational actors. I asked in particular about personal experiences of discrimination and economic hardships during the pandemic and their evaluation of the different COVID-19 measures in Germany and in Taiwan.

Pondering the Pacific: One of the Moons Version II

Written by Ysanne Chen, Ilin Tsai, and Shih-Hao Huang. In “Pondering the Pacific,” we conceptualise the Pacific as an oceanic highway or a contact zone. The vast ocean connects Pacific Islands. We travel from the island of Taiwan (we are reluctant to call it main(is)land) to Pongso no Tao to recover and explore this connection. When on the island, we further learn about Tao people’s connectedness to other Pacific Islanders. Upon our return, we wrote these poems to celebrate the Pacific. Along with other Pacific Islanders writers and poets, we praise the Pacific for its abundance and ability to connect people. We also join Pacific Islanders in voicing out against nuclear contamination and all forms of environmental injustice.

Pondering the Pacific: One of the Moons Version I

Written by Shih-hao Huang, Chiahua Lin, and Robinson Pinghao Liu. Employing “the Pacific” as a contact zone, this poetry collection explores the dynamic and shifting relationship between land and sea, allowing Indigenous culture and history in the trans-Pacific context to engage in spatial and historical complexity. This journey triggers memories and connects the present with the ancestral past. When seeing the constellations in the sky, one is reminded of the stories about stars. However, we were reminded that we often forget Taiwan is also a part of the Pacific. Therefore, we authored poems to represent, substantiate and celebrate the connection: the LOST connection between the Pacific Ocean and us.

Placing Relationship over the Project: Filmmaking in Oceania

Written by Cheng-Cheng Li. My filmmaking story in Oceania started with the Re/presenting Oceania course at the University of Hawai‘i. My Kumu (professor) Tarcisius Kabutaulake, who comes from the Solomon Islands, has been teaching and researching across the region for decades. His course invites me to critically engage with and discuss how the Pacific Islands have been represented in scholarly and other mediums. He brings me onto the ‘voyage’ across the ‘storyscapes’ of scholars, artists, performers, poets, and filmmakers to understand the politics of representation. This article will first discuss my filmmaking experience in Hawai‘i with the Pacific Island community. In the second section, with an increasing number of Indigenous Taiwanese wishing to connect with Oceania, I will address the interconnection story between Taiwanese Indigenous filmmakers and the Oceanic community. The theme of ‘relationship’ as ‘Priority’ will be interwoven into the stories. 

A Possible Cultural-Political Alliance to Address Concurrent Struggles between Taiwan and Oceania: Music as a Means

Written by Chun Chia Tai. For many Indigenous peoples in Taiwan, music is a lively cultural medium that facilitates allying with other Austronesian peoples residing in Oceania. Such a musical way of fostering cultural diplomacy has currently been popular in Taiwan, especially after the release of the album Polynesia in 2014, emphasising the shared cultural genealogy of Austronesian under the collaboration of an Amis singer Chalaw Pasiwali and a Madagascar musician Kelima. In the same year, another project called the Small Island Big Song aimed to establish a network between Pacific Islands and Taiwan through music and film. Musicians in this project released their 2018 album Small Island Big Song and a sequential album named Our Island in 2021. Moreover, all these musical works focus on fusions of traditional folk music(s). Positive public perception reflects Taiwanese people’s rising demand for establishing a cross-Pacific Austronesian community between Taiwan and the Pacific Islands.

A Proposition of Indigenous Diplomacy for Taiwan-Australian Indigenous Peoples

Written by Suliljaw Lusausatj. Although Australia’s Indigenous Peoples are not Austronesian language speakers, with direct historical links to Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples, they share a broadly similar experience of colonial histories, national governance, social and economic environments, and most importantly, reliance on traditional subsistence practices and the importance of ancestral territories. Both peoples have experienced a gradual process of formal recognition. For example, the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Taiwan issued formal apologies for the injustice done to Indigenous communities in 2008 and 2016, respectively. Despite these similarities, the Indigenous Peoples of Australia and Taiwan have not yet opened a constructive dialogue due to geographic distance, national policies and approaches to academic studies. This also applies to educational disciplines and uneven historical memories of colonialism. Therefore, perhaps it is important to think about the possibility of using new forms of diplomacy to build these relationships drawing on the traditional practices of Australian and Taiwan Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous/Islander Fanaticism Across the Pacific: A Perspective from Films

Written by Yawi Yukex; translated by Yi-Yu Lai. A type of Taiwanese is extremely fond of anything about the Indigenous peoples of Taiwan. They are captivated by all the totems and material cultures associated with Indigenous peoples, yet they frequently only believe what they already know about Indigenous cultures. Besides, they usually turn a deaf ear to Indigenous peoples’ enormous burdens and struggles. I call these individuals “Indigenous fanatics.” In the early 2000s, a series of Taiwanese films, such as “The Sage Hunter” (2005) and “Fishing Luck” (2005), portrayed Indigenous communities as shelters for those wishing to escape reality and contrasted cities with the communities. People believe that the expansion of civilisation causes problems, whereas mountains and forests represent the solution.

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