Book Launch: Taiwan's Contemporary Indigenous Peoples

Key information

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

About this event

Speakers: Niki J.P. Alsford (University of Central Lancashire), Chang Bi-yu (SOAS), Dafydd Fell (SOAS), Kerim Friedman (National Dong Hwa University), Scott Simon (University of Ottawa)
This session will be held using Microsoft Teams
Book Information

The SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies began its Contemporary Taiwan Indigenous Peoples project in 2017 with two goals. Firstly, to run a Contemporary Taiwan Indigenous Peoples lecture series in London and secondly to use these lectures as the basis of a book that introduces issues related to Taiwan's Contemporary Indigenous Peoples through a range of academic disciplines. The project was sponsored by Taiwan's Shungye Museum of Formosan Aborigines. The book was published in August 2021 and was co-edited by Huang Chia-yuan, Daniel Davies and Dafydd Fell.

This edited volume provides a complete introduction to critical issues across the field of Indigenous peoples in contemporary Taiwan, from theoretical approaches to empirical analysis. Seeking to inform wider audiences about Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples, this book brings together both leading and emerging scholars as part of an international collaborative research project, sharing broad specialisms on modern Indigenous issues in Taiwan. This is one of the first dedicated volumes in English to examine contemporary Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples from such a range of disciplinary angles, following four section themes: long-term perspectives, the arts, education, and politics. Chapters offer perspectives not only from academic researchers, but also from writers bearing rich practitioner and activist experience from within the Taiwanese Indigenous rights movement. Methods range from extensive fieldwork to Indigenous-directed film and literary analysis.

Taiwan's Contemporary Indigenous Peoples will prove a useful resource for students and scholars of Taiwan Studies, Indigenous Studies and Asia Pacific Studies, as well as educators designing future courses on Indigenous studies.

Speakers' Bios

Niki J.P. Alsford is Professor in Asia Pacific Studies and Head of Asia Pacific Institutes at the University of Central Lancashire; being founder and Head of the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific; Co-Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies and the Northern Institute of Taiwan Studies; and Chair and founder of the Centre for Austronesian Studies. He is also Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London and Research Fellow at the Ewha Institute of Unification Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. He received his PhD from SOAS, the University of London. His research lies in historical anthropology and his primary focus in on Taiwan comparative ethno-histories. Chief among these is an engagement with Austronesian migration and the historical anthropology of the maritime Asia Pacific region. In addition to this, he works on developmental anthropology in North Korea and climate anthropology in the case of the Pacific. He is author of Transitions to Modernity in Taiwan: The Spirit of 1895 and the Cession of Formosa to Japan, published by Routledge in 2017. He is book series editor for the Taiwan series at BRILL and the Korean series at Routledge.

Chang Bi-yu is Deputy Director of the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London. The central concern of her research is the politics of culture, focusing on the complex interplay between knowledge and power, and the relationship between culture, place, and identity. Her research interests include identity politics, nation-building, cultural governance, and education. In recent years, these research interests have extended to place identity, spatial construction, cartographic representation, and post-war tourism, unpicking the intricate relationship between identity, place, and power. Her monograph Place, Identity and National Imagination in Postwar Taiwan was published by Routledge in 2015. She has also co-edited a number of books, including Positioning Taiwan in a Global Context: Being and Becoming (with Lin Pei-yin, Routledge 2019) and Imaging and Imagining Taiwan: Identity representation and cultural politics (with Henning Klöter, Harrassowitz 2013). Chang has also published in a number of international peer-reviewed journals – Cultural Geographies; China Perspectives; Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism; NTU Studies in Taiwan Literature, and in edited volumes including Taiwan: Manipulation of Ideology and Struggle for Identity  (Routledge 2021); Connecting Taiwan: Participation – Integration – Impacts (Routledge 2018) and Cultural Discourse in Taiwan (National Sun Yat-sen University Press, 2009).

P. Kerim Friedman is a 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). He currently serves as the programmer for the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF). Kerim is also a co-founder of the anthropology blog anthro{dendum} (formerly Savage Minds).

Scott Simon (Ph.D., Anthropology, McGill University), is Professor in the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is co-chair of the Research Chair in Taiwan Studies at the University of Ottawa. Simon is author of three books, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters about Taiwan. For the past 15 years, he has specialized in the study of indigeneity, based on years of field research in Truku and Seediq villages. Collaborative research with Truku hunters and trappers on Gaya (customary law) and traditional ecological knowledge has led him to a broader interest in human-animal relations and multi-species ethnography. He is PI on a major international and interdisciplinary research program, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, entitled “Austronesian World: Human-Animal Entanglements in the Pacific Anthropocene.” Because of this research, he is looking at Taiwan and its indigenous human populations as part of a wider geographical context: the peoples that host birds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. He has done research on this project in Japan, on Orchid Island, and on Guåhan (Guam). His most recent book is Sadyaq Balae: L’autochtone formosane dans tous ses états. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval. He is working on a new book about the Seediq/Truku.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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