Book talk - Taiwan Lives: A Social and Political History

Key information

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Main Building, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh St, London WC1H 0XG
Event type

About this event

This event is a book talk on Taiwan Lives: A Social and Political History.

From a cradle of Austronesian expansion to the dynamic economic powerhouse and successful democracy it is today, Taiwan is layered in colonial histories. In Taiwan Lives, Niki J. P. Alsford presents a comprehensive examination of the island nation’s rich and complex past, told through the life stories of those who have lived it.

A merchant, an exile, an activist, a pop star, a doctor, and a president are just some of the twenty-four individuals whose lives populate this people's history of Taiwan. Ranging across time, social strata, ethnicity, and political alliance, these tales offer snapshots of historical eras and illustrate the interwoven fabric of colonialism. Chapters can be read in sequence or individually. With clear and accessible prose, Taiwan Lives is ideal for undergraduate course use.

All SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies events are open to the public, and there is no need to register.

Image credit: Lisanto via Unsplash.

Meet the speaker


Prof.Niki Alsford

Niki Alsford is Professor of Anthropology and Human Geography, and Director of the Institutes for the Study of the Asia Pacific (ISAP) at the University of Central Lancashire. He is a Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS and an Associate Member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. In 2023, he was selected as the Ewha Global Fellow at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. Alsford's research focuses primarily on Taiwan, Jeju Island (South Korea), and the Pacific Islands. 

He is the book series editor for the Taiwan Series at BRILL and the Korean series at Routledge. Alsford is the author of Transitions to Modernity in Taiwan: The Spirit of 1895 and the Cession of Formosa to Japan, published by Routledge in 2017 and Taiwan Lives: A Socio-Political History, published by the University of Washington Press in 2024.