A brief history of Christianity in Taiwan

Key information

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Paul Webley Wing, Senate House, SOAS University of London, WC1H 0XG
Senate House Alumni Lecture Theatre (SALT)
Event type

About this event

This open-to-all lecture will focus on the impact which the specific social, political and ethnic conditions of Taiwan had on the first encounters with Christianity, the subsequent missionary implantation of both Catholic and Protestant societies and, eventually, on the development of indigenous churches.

Taiwan’s Christian experience shares many of the historical features which can be found in the Philippines, Japan and not least in specific Chinese provinces. However, there are also significant differences. Taiwan’s Japanese period, in particular in the decades prior to the violence of WWII, deserves particular attention, not least due to the importance given by the Western missionaries to the minority populations in the interior. 

Finally, Taiwan’s Christian experience is compared and contrasted with the implantation of other religious phenomena – in particular Buddhism – which had a definitive influence on the island’s Christian churches. The sources which form the basis of this study are derived from the imperial archives in Beijing (中國第一歷史檔案館), Academia Sinica’s Archives of the Institute of Taiwan History(中央研究院台灣史研究所檔案館), from the historical records of the Catholic missionary orders, from the Protestant missionary archives at SOAS (Special Collections), from the records of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), as well as from newspaper archives coverning the twentieth century. 

Despite this broad archival basis, several aspects still deserve to be more profoundly analysed – and I therefore look forward to the constructive criticism of the audience.

Meet the speaker

Dr Lars Laamann

Dr Lars Peter Laamann is Senior Lecturer at the SOAS History Department. His research interests include popular religions, notably Christianity, during the Qing period and in Republican China, the history of medicine and drugs in modern China and the culture and socio-political roles of the Manchus in Qing China. 

Dr Laamann has edited and published on all of the above and is also the editor of the Central Asiatic Journal (ISSN 0008–9192). 

Image via Taiwan Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.