ERCCT Taiwan Colloquium Winter 2020/2021

Mondays 12.30 – 13.45 p.m. (CET) online

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world with unforeseeable speed and dimension since the beginning of 2020. Amid the pandemic, we have come to realize the significance and urgency of understanding Taiwan from social, political and historical perspectives more than ever. Against this background, the ERCCT colloquium continues to introduce the latest research on contemporary Taiwan to explore various themes, such as aboriginal peoples, global mobility, and literature.

This colloquium is organized as a luncheon seminar with presentations. It is an online event that takes place on Mondays from 12.30 to 13.45. Speakers will talk for 20-30 minutes, followed by 30-40 minutes Q&A.


Please follow this link to register for the colloquium and receive the access data.

Dates and Topics

Nov. 16, 2020 - Prof. Kerim Friedman: Space, Time, and Indigeneity in Contemporary Taiwanese Documentary Film

(in corporation with the 15th Taiwan Documentary Film Festival)

This talk will explore the shifting representations of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in films by indigenous and non-indigenous directors alike. Drawn from over sixty films in the archives of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), these films offer a snapshot of the changes in how indigenous personhood has been constructed in Taiwanese documentary films going back to the end of the martial law era. The films are grouped into three overarching Bakhtinian chronotopes, each of which uses indigenous identities to highlight different relations between Taiwan’s past, present, and future, as well as different spatial relations following from those choices. The first chronotope highlights the Japanese colonial encounter with indigenous peoples. The second the continuity between ancient Austronesian culture and the present. And the third focuses on encounters between indigenous people and the modern Taiwanese state. Films are compared within and across these chronotopes to reflect on the shifting nature of indigenous personhood in Taiwan, tracing the way these chronotopes have adapted to shifts in Taiwan’s wider political economic framework. Finally, the paper turns to the work of two young indigenous filmmakers whose films draw on oral histories to transcend all three chronotopes. Salone Ishahavut’s “Alis’s Dreams” (2011) and Su Hung-En’s “The Mountain” (2015), each formulates a unique indigenous “voice” to call for indigenous sovereignty over their own destiny. 

Prof. Kerim Friedman is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures at National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan. His research explores language revitalization efforts among indigenous Taiwanese, looking at the relationship between language ideology, indigeneity, and political economy. An ethnographic filmmaker, he co-produced the Jean Rouch award-winning documentary, 'Please Don't Beat Me, Sir!' about a street theater troupe from one of India's Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs). Kerim is also a co-founder of the anthropology blog anthro{dendum} (formerly Savage Minds).

Dec. 7, 2020 - Zhu Yifei: Developmentalism Across the Strait

Developmentalism Across the Strait: An Institutionalist Explanation of Taiwan’s Economic Policy toward China between 1990 and 2016

Zhu Yi-Fei (Ph.D. candidate from Freie Universität Berlin, Graduate School of East Asian Studies)

Since the 1990s, the relations across the Taiwan Strait have been characterized by high political-security hostility intertwined with high economic-societal interactions. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s economic policy toward China has been on the track of liberalization despite fluctuation in speed and scope. Why was that? How could Taiwan afford risking its de facto independence for economic gains? With the rise of China as a global powerhouse, Beijing has learned to flex its economic muscles to achieve its political objectives beyond its border. Therefore, Taiwan provides an invaluable case study to examine the impact of the so-called China factor on other countries and the international system.

Yifei Zhu is a PhD student on East Asian Studies and political science at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His doctoral dissertation focuses on explaining Taiwan's economic strategies toward Mainland China in the Post-Cold War Era. With a particular emphasis on East Asia under the rise of the P.R. China, his academic interests include international relations, political economy, state theory, and institutional theory. Before his doctoral studies, he obtained a M.A. in International Relations and a B.A. in English literature. He speaks Chinese (Wu & Mandarin), English, German and Korean to various degrees. 

Dec. 14. 2020 - Cheng Chenching: Nostalgia in Four Rhymes

Nostalgia in Four Rhymes: the Changes of Nostalgic Narratives in Taiwan’s Popular Music from Teresa Teng to Lo Da-Yu

Teresa Teng and Lo Ta-Yu seem to represent two very different archetypes, as two singers who both transcended geographical and ideological boundaries with their music and songs during the Cold War era. I have attempted to compare and analyze the roles that the two singers' musical works play in the common memory of Chinese music fans and the spectra that they present, and found that the nostalgia hidden in their songs (or music) which reflects their nostalgia has a very different type.

However, if we take a step back in time to the post-Cold War era, these two singers, whose musical journeys also spanned more than 30 years, are very similar in terms of their compositions, songs, and musical images, and ultimately reflect the changes and shifts in the political, ethnic, and national identities of the Chinese community (or overseas Chinese).

Cheng Chen Ching is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism & Communication and Deputy director, Centre for Asian Studies at the Chu Hai College of Higher Education in Hong Kong.

He left a career in Economic Journalism to pursue a PhD in Film Studies at Peking University and obtained his second PhD in Musicology at the University of Edinburgh under Prof. Frith. His research interests involve Music in Cold War Asia focusing on Taiwan, China, Hong-Kong and Japan. He has various secondary projects studying post-cultural revolution China with a particular focus in the popular music and film scenes.

Jan. 11, 2021 - Hsu Chieh: The (Early) Experiences of Highly Skilled Taiwanese and Chinese "Wives" in Germany

The Path to an Occupation: The (Early) Experiences of Highly Skilled Taiwanese and Chinese "Wives" in Germany

Hsu Chieh, Global Asia Research Center, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

This book 'Family Migration and the Path to an Occupation: The (Early) Experiences of Skilled Taiwanese and Chinese 'Wives'' demystifies skilled female family migrants’ “immersion period” in Germany by tracking the early post-arrival experiences of 20 Taiwanese and Chinese women married to German husbands. It specifically explores and seeks to comprehend whether and how these educated and previously employed women intend to (re)join the German labor market while coping with migration-induced disruptions and changing self-conceptions. It reveals the gendered nature of their intimate relationships and underscores how their couple dynamics are characterized by a one-sided dependency on their husbands, both affecting skilled female family migrants’ intentions to work and their trajectories of integration. Based on interviews with migrant women and their spouses, I outline the subject positions that characterize female migrants’ attitudes to external constructs and entering the labor market, showing that female family migrants frequently take on family migrant and wife roles that permeate intimate relationships and impede employment intentions, but also often strive to realign with their pre-departure autonomous selves by engaging in alternative employment and thus regain agency.

Chieh Hsu 徐婕 is researcher at the Global Asia Research Center and adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University, Taiwan. She received her doctorate in sociology from Heidelberg University in late 2018. Her research interests are in family migration, migration and welfare regimes, intercultural & intimate relationships, and ethnic relations.

Jan. 18, 2021 - Lee Po-han: Solidarity with whom? Repositioning Taiwan beyond the WHO’s epidemiological (inter)nationalism

Solidarity with whom? Repositioning Taiwan beyond the WHO’s epidemiological (inter)nationalism

Lee Po-Han, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Against the background in which the world has experienced anxiety and inability regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much debate about the definition, effectiveness, and accountability regarding global health governance. We have observed a global phenomenon concerning the promotion of ‘solidarity’ within and between the states – which, strangely, is practised by keeping distance from ‘Others’ through, for instance, social distancing, lockdown, and border control. This talk will first introduce the post-WWII international pandemic response regime, especially the International Health Regulations 2005, followed by the discussion around the multiple positions of the Republic of China and/or Taiwan in this context.

Po-Han Lee is an assistant professor at the Global Health Program, National Taiwan University. Previously, he taught Sociology/Criminology and Gender Studies at the University of Sussex. He is also one of the senior editors for ‘Plain Law Movement’ in Taiwan. He has published extensively in both Chinese and English. His recent works appear in the Sociological Review, International Journal of Human Rights, Taiwan Human Rights Journal, Taiwan International Law Quarterly, and in the edited volume ‘Queer’ Asia (Zed Books, 2019).

Feb. 1, 2021 - Zhan Min-xu: Taiwan Literature from a Global South Perspective

This talk will explore the southern imagination of Taiwanese millennial writers. In recent years, many millennial writers (born from approximately 1980 to 2000), such as Huang Chongkai (1981-), Manini Wei (1982-), Chen Yuxuan (1982-), Xiaoxiang Shen (1982-), Lien Mingwei (1983-), Yang Shuangzi (1984-), and Chen Youjin (1986-), coincidentally took the South as their creative theme. Their creations show rich and diverse connotations of “southern imagination” and break away from the writings of senior Taiwanese writers. Therefore, this talk attempts to explore several questions: Why did Taiwanese millennial writers begin to write about the South? What is the significance of the southern imagination? How are these millennial writers different from the previous generation of writers? By addressing these questions, this talk is expected to sort out the worldview, cultural development, and generation identity of Taiwanese millennial writers and outline the new look of Taiwanese literature in the early 21st century.

Dr. Min-xu Zhan holds a PhD degree from National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan and is Assistant Professor of Taiwan Literature and Transnational Cultural Studies at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. His academic interests include Taiwan literature, Sinophone Malaysian literature, and Sinophone studies. He is the quest-editor (with Chia-rong Wu) of a special issue of Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities entitled “Sinophone Literature in the Global South” (2021) and have published articles in Chung Wai Quarterly, Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature, Dong Hwa Journal of Chinese Studies, as well as in several edited volumes. He is currently working on his first monograph, tentatively entitled The Reception of Southeast Asian Migrant Literature in Taiwan.

Feb. 8, 2021 - Beatrice Zani: Women Migrants in Southern China and in Taiwan. Mobilities, Digital Economies, and Emotions

Based on multi-sited ethnographic research in China and Taiwan, including over one hundred interviews, this research explores the mobilities of Chinese women who move from the countryside to the city in China, their marriage-migration to Taiwan and, eventually, re-migration to China post-divorce. With close attention to the link between migration, emotion, and ICT, the research focuses on the development of digital social networks, solidarity practices, and e-entrepreneurship by women to undo a condition of subalternity along migration. It elucidates the complex morphology of contemporary mobilities, shaped by ever-changing processes of local territorialisation and global connectedness. Following both women and the objects that they commercialise, as well as the emotions that they construct, I examine the making of novel digital, commercial and emotional geographies of interconnection between China and Taiwan, and the multiple forms that globalisation and capitalism can take. 

Dr Beatrice Zani received her Ph.D in sociology from Lyon 2 University (2019). She is post-doctoral researcher at Tuebingen University (ERCCT), and research associate at TRIANGLE, ENS Lyon. She was awarded the Christian Ricourt Prize of the Yong Researcher in Taiwanese Studies by AFET (2017) She is Board Member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) and of the thematic network 'Migration’of the French Sociological Association. Her research interests include migration, emotion, intimacies, ICT entrepreneurship and globalisation. Her most recent publications include 'In-between: Re-migration, orbital mobilities and emotion between China and Taiwan' (Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 2019) 'WeChat, We Sell, We Feel. Chinese Migrant Women's Emotional Petit Capitalism' (International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2020), 'Can the Subaltern Feel?  (with Dr. L. Momesso, Emotion, Space and Society, 2021), and Women Migrants in Southern China and in Taiwan. Mobilities, Digital Economies and Emotions (Routledge, forthcoming 2021). 

Feb. 15, 2021 - Gwennaël Gaffric: Taiwan Literature at the Era of Anthropocene

One can wonder what contribution the study of contemporary Taiwanese literary production will make to a global debate on the Anthropocene? But yet, due to its colonial history, its geographic and ecosystem specificities, its socio-political trajectories or even its ambiguous geopolitical status, Taiwan is a particularly illuminating case study on the diversity and entanglement of political, ecological and poetic issues of the greatest challenge of our time.

Gwennaël Gaffric is Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 (France). His PhD thesis was about ecological issues in Taiwan literature. He is also translator of Chinese, Hongkongese and Taiwanese contemporary novels. His research interests include literary studies (especially science fiction), ecocriticism, postcolonialism, and translation studies. He has recently published a book entitled La Littérature à l'ère de l'Anthropocène: une étude écocritique autour des œuvres de l'écrivain taïwanais Wu Ming-yi (L'Asiathèque, 2019).

Feb. 22, 2021 - Tseng Hsun-hui: Motherhood and Moral Economy

Motherhood and Moral Economy: The Art of Negotiation of Marriage Migrants Engaged in the Sex Entertainment Industry in Taiwan

Tseng Hsun-hui, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

Along with an influx of marriage migrants from China and Southeast Asia in the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Taiwan has seen abundant karaoke bars and restaurants featuring Vietnamese hostesses spreading throughout Taiwan. Contrary to the social stereotype of “fake marriage, real prostitution”,  my initial fieldwork found that many of these hostesses are mothers, divorced or still married. How do they fulfill their roles as mother and sex entertainer at the same time? This talk will discuss how these migrant women negotiate their morality across home, workplace, and society at different stages of migration and challenge the binary senses of good mother versus bad mother as well as good citizen versus bad citizen. 

Hsunhui Tseng is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Taiwanese Literature at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and has worked in the Gender Studies Programme at Chinese University of Hong Kong before she joined NCKU in 2020. Her research interests include transnational migration, marriage and family, representation and identity, class, gender, and race, student mobility, cross-cultural studies in Asia Pacific focusing on Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam. She is especially interested in exploring how women’s and young people’s lives are connected to the globalized worlds through international market mechanisms and impacted by uneven power relations. 

Taiwan Colloquium

During the summer and winter terms, all ERCCT Research Fellows and Visiting Scholars meet weekly in the Taiwan-Colloquium to discuss their research projects. Project ideas and intended field studies will be communicated, applied theory and methodology scrutinized and empirical findings gathered in the field critically assessed. The Visiting Scholars play an important role here, as they not only evaluate the Fellow's projects but also present their own research and subject it to open academic debate.