Prof. Ann Heylen 賀安娟


Prof. Ann Heylen 賀安娟

Institutional Affiliation:

Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, National Taiwan Normal University



Dr. Ann Heylen is Professor at the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature (TCLL) at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Taipei, Taiwan (2008 -) and currently serves as the Executive Director of the International Taiwan Studies Center of NTNU. She holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies (Sinology) from Catholic University Leuven (K.U.Leuven) in Belgium. She is one of the founding board members of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) and editor-in-chief of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (EAJPC, published by Intellect, UK) https://www.intellectbooks.com/east-asian-journal-of-popular-culture .

Her doctoral dissertation was published as Japanese Models, Chinese Culture and the Dilemma of Taiwanese Language Reform (Harrassowitz 2012) and she has published on topics that cover the history and historiography of Taiwan, with special attention to Dutch Formosa, the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945). She is currently working on a monograph exploring Formosa media narratives as part of a broader project on the relations between the Low Countries and East Asia.  


Current Research Project

Work in progress: “Working with historical narration; Formosa in Digital Newspaper Corpora”, zooms in on the discursive representation of Formosa and its historical narration in newspaper corpora from the low countries/Benelux, 19th -20th century.
It applies recent technology-driven technique for textual analysis, and presents a pilot study in the field of digital humanities.
Overarching research questions are:

  • How is the discourse about Formosa constructed and how does this change over time?
  • How does each source problematize / normalize vocabulary?
  • What are the main differences and similarities between the newspapers?

This research is combined with a continued work on the problematique of national/local/official language planning in Taiwan. My main interest is in an application of sociolinguist Einar Haugen’s matrix model in language standardization, see the chapter: Heylen, Ann (2021) “A sociolinguistic approach to the standardization of Taiyu in the quest for a Taiwanese identity,” in Chris Shei (ed.) Taiwan Manipulation of Ideology and Struggle for Identity London: Routledge, pp. 75-97.

Furthermore, a renewed interest in the 17th century European presence in the China Seas, spurred by the forthcoming 2024 marking of the 400-year commemoration of Dutch-Taiwan relations. The focus is on a return to post-event publications of primary source material and their contribution to Taiwan historiographical studies. For related topics, also see Heylen, Ann “Diaries and Oral Histories as Ego-documents in the Representation of the Taiwanese Nation”, European Journal of East Asian Studies (EJEAS), 19 (April 2020), pp. 48-73.