SOAS CTS Summer School 2021 Student Presentations

Key information

10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Student Presentations Seminar (SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School Day 4: Thursday 1st July 2021 10:30-18:30 BST) Open to Everyone

As part of the Summer School, we have scheduled a student-focused research seminar open for all to attend. The session offers undergraduate and post-graduate students the opportunity to share their research, get feedback and gain valuable experience in presenting in an academic environment.

Student Presentations Seminar Programme

As part of the 2021 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend .

This event will be held online through MS Teams. See Links below.

*Please be aware that all Summer School event times follow British Summer Time (BST). This agenda may be subject to last minute changes.

Venue: Virtual Event
Time Panel A (Link) Panel B (Link)
10.30-11.00 Ma Mingke (SOAS) Pauline Harlay (SOAS)
11:00-11:30 Aaron Chen (SOAS) Gabriela Alexandra Banica (SOAS)
11:30-12:00 Yinchao Zhao (SOAS) Ting-Sian Liu (SOAS)
14.00-14.30 Nadine Shaheen (SOAS) Amber Kim (National Chengchi University)
17.00-17.30 Lisa Hou (SOAS)
17.30-18.00 Yamouna Nallatamby (SOAS ) Max Dixon(University of Portsmouth)
18.00-18.30 Munhyun Choi (SOAS) Mariko Iwai (SOAS)

Advisory Panel

Prof Ian Inkster

PhD (Sheffield 1975), FRHS (London 1983). Born in Warrington, raised in Khartoum, Edinburgh, Lowestoft, and Harlow, educated in England, with university faculty positions since 1973 in UK, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan. Prof Inkster is the Centre of Taiwan Studies' Professorial Research Associate.

Dr Lin Pei-Yin

Dr Lin Pei-yin is Associate Professor in the School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong. Prior to teaching in Hong Kong, she was Lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies, Cambridge, an assistant professor in the department of Chinese Studies of the National University of Singapore, and a part-time teacher and post-doctorate research fellow in modern Chinese literature at SOAS, University of London.

Dr Isabelle Cheng

Isabelle Cheng is Senior Lecturer in East Asian and International Development Studies at the University of Portsmouth. Taking Taiwan as a case study, her research focuses on migration in East Asia and the Cold War in Taiwan. For the former, her research focuses on multiculturalism, statelessness, sovereignty, political participation and, lately, migrant workers’ pregnancy. For the latter, she concentrates on the politicisation of death and economic mobilisation for the war of retaking China, as well as the use of women broadcasters for conducting psychological warfare. She is a Research Associate of the Centre for Taiwan Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She serves as the Secretary-General of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (2018-2020).

Dr Ming-Yeh Rawnsley

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley received her BA degree from National Taiwan University and worked as a research assistant, journalist and television screenwriter before going to the UK to pursue postgraduate studies. Dr Rawnsley received her PhD (on the topic “Public Service Television in Taiwan”) from the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS), University of Leeds in 1998. Since then, Dr Rawnsley worked as a researcher at the University of Nottingham (1999–2005) and became Head of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC, 2005–2007). Upon returning to the UK from China, Dr Rawnsley left the University of Nottingham and taught East Asian film industries at the ICS, University of Leeds (2007–2013).  Dr Rawnsley is Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (2013-present); Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham (2014-present); Research Fellow, European Research Centre on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), Tubingen University (2015-present); and Research Associate, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

Dr Beatrice Zani

Dr Beatrice Zani is a postdoctoral researcher at the European Research Centre on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), Tuebingen University. he was previously lecturer at Lyon’s Institute of Political Studies, and she was just awarded theLyon University Dissertation Award (2021) and 1st Young Author Prize by the journal Sociology of Work (2021). She is Executive Board Member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) and of the network ‘Migration’ of the French sociological association. In her doctoral work, Beatrice investigated Chinese migrant women's mobilities and digitalised entrepreneurial practices between China and Taiwan. Working at the crossroads between migration studies, economic anthropology and sociology of globalisation, her ongoing postdoctoral research focuses on the transnational digitalised traded of the Chinese digital diaspora in the Pacific, and specifically on the link between mobility, entrepreneurship and digital platforms in the making of capitalism between Taiwan, Singapore and Tahiti. Her work has been published by International Migration, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Asia Pacific Viewpoint; Emotion, Space and Society, amongst others and Routledge (Women Migrants in Southern China and Taiwan. Mobilities, Digital Economies and Emotions, 2021).

Dr Hardina Ohlendorf

Ph. D. (Political Science; School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK) M.Sc. (Asian Politics; School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK. Hardina Ohlendorf teaches at the International College of Mahidol University and is also a SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies' Research Assoicate.

Dr Simona A. Grano

Simona A. Grano is Senior Lecturer at the University of Zurich and Director of the Taiwan Studies Project at UZH and joined the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies as a Research Associate in 2021. Simona is the author of Environmental Governance in Taiwan: a new generation of activists and stakeholders, which has been published in 2015 by Routledge.

Dr Awi Mona

Awi Mona (Tsai Chih-wei) is the Director and Associate Professor of Law and Indigenous Studies at National Dong Hwa University Department of Law. He is also the Chairman for the Legal Centre of Indigenous Peoples, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan. Awi Mona is the first indigenous person in the country to obtain a Doctorate degree in Law. His research is primarily in the areas of Indigenous law, Aboriginal Title law, and cultural law. Over the past decade since his return from Seattle, he has continuously worked on extensive collaborative on the indigenous rights movements with local communities in Taiwan, as well as providing legal and policy advice on a wide variety of Indigenous law and related issues. Awi is a member of the Seediq Nation.

Marie Baranger

Marie Baranger graduated from SOAS on our MSc Asian politics in 2019. She wrote her dissertation comparing gender politics in Japan and Taiwan, with a focus on debates over abortion policy. She presented her comparative research at the 2019 SOAS Taiwan Summer School.

Student Presentation Abstracts

Ma Mingke, SOAS

Compressed Development and the Adaptive State: Comparative Insights from Taiwan

(This project is part of a thesis for submission to the requirement of the University of Oxford’s MPhil Global and Area Studies in 2023)

Since the 1990s, the economic development trajectories and strategies for late developers become compressed. For the later developers who reached the status of high-income economy and the upper scale middle-income economy, they either conducted de-industrialisation too early or the source of industrial growth is limited and incomprehensive. In these compressed developers, they either faced the high-income trap, which is reflected in the socio-economic issues like growth slowdown, wage stagnation, rising inequality, housing crisis and ageing society, or they are trapped into the middle-income status and found it difficult to elevate productivity. With the discovery of the interlinkages of social and political development with economic development, the role of the civil society is believed by the compressed development scholarship as the most important factor in leading sustainable growth. Civil society could navigate this compressed development pattern by steering relations with the state and the market to empower the state to resist the global market to pursue more resilient sources of industrial growth and to push the state to comply with transnational social and economic norms for continuous market and capital access.

Taiwan is a classic example of this compressed development pattern. Firstly, its manufacturing sector was majorly supplying components and sub-assemblies, which is highly dependent on the global value chains. Secondly, the Taiwanese economy encountered the classic high-income trap in which economic redistribution becomes the frequent electoral subject. Thirdly, the Taiwanese economy’s infrastructural backwardness, in the aspects like energy and transportation, reduces the prospects for future industrial transformation and productivity increase. Fourthly, Taiwan’s education system has been facing the dual issues of credential inflation and passive Research and Development (R&D) elevation. However, apart from the economic challenges Taiwan is facing with this compressed development pattern, the social development in Taiwan has frequently been regarded as one of the most advanced cases in the world, and the vibrancy and the political activism of its civil society have been effectively shaping state political process. This project aims to evaluate the role of the civil society in the navigation of the economic development in Taiwan by focusing on its two aspects of political participation: 1) ability to empower or encourage the state to conduct policies that are beneficial for long-term and comprehensive industrial growth, 2) ability to scrutinise the domestic business, governance and other institutional environments to facilitate global capital follow and market access. Taiwan’s experience with compressed development has comparative significance since it could expose whether civil society and a participatory democratic system is beneficial for the overcoming of socio-economic and political issues in both middle-income (Malaysia, Vietnam, Mainland China) and high-income economies (Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong).

Pauline Harlay - SOAS 2nd year PhD student (Anthropology and Sociology)

Tea, Taste and Traders: Cultural Mediators and the Reinvention of the Chinese ‘traditional’ beverage

In this thesis, I intend to explore the everyday invention of ‘Chinese’ tea and its culture in Taiwan (ROC). More specifically, I will examine how tea leaves are translated into ‘Chinese tea’ by actors involved in their trade. Translation is the process through which tea leaves change economic and cultural value as they pass from one stage of the supply chain to another (Tsing, 2017). Here, I will argue that this process is in part operated through acts of mediation, performed by actors as they promote and sell their teas to customers. These acts, which I define as ‘process(es) that allow us to attain richer and fuller translations of bodily experience and materiality […]’ enable consumers to experience and understand tea differently (Witmore in Pink, 2008: 192). My study will therefore investigate the ways these acts are carried out by their performers – in this case mediators ranging from tea merchants to teahouse owners. This focus on mediation will also help me draw broader conclusions about the different meanings behind ‘Chinese tea culture’ and ‘Chineseness’. Both concepts will be at the heart of my thesis, as they are often appropriated and indigenised by agents in the field both for business and legitimation purposes. Most of my data will be collected through ethnographic fieldwork in Taiwan as well as online fieldwork.

Aaron Chen, SOAS

Law as a tool of oppression in postcolonial Taiwan: The creation of the Indigenous People's Basic Law and its struggle to grant the indigenous right to land

This paper will discuss Taiwan’s indigenous legal framework and will place focus upon the Indigenous People’s Basic Law as the primary legal safeguard for the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Using the theoretical framework of oppression, this paper aims to situate the Basic Law within this framework and argue that the current mechanisms in place to grant the indigenous right to land are fundamentally inadequate. The Taiwanese legal system continues to endorse a colonial rhetoric and inherently reinforces the historical assumption of appropriating indigenous lands. With reference to Taiwan’s colonial history, this paper will argue that the performance of the Basic Law shows clear links to the historical indigenous experience of law and despite the anticipation as a protector of indigenous rights, its self-contradictory nature proves that it is purely a tool of indigenous oppression that has shown itself well into the postcolonial world.

Gabriela Alexandra Banica, SOAS

Introducing Taiwanese Comics to English-Speaking Audiences “Books from Taiwan Issue 3 Winter 2015: Comics” Case Study

This paper is set to analyze how the 2015 winter issue of Books of Taiwan dedicated to comics portrays Taiwan through the selection of 13 comics series that are present in the book under the format of one-chapter translations into English. The publication is the product of a governmental agency that was renamed in 2019 and it is now known under the name of Taiwan Creative Content Agency. It is “a professional intermediary organization supervised by the ministry of culture to facilitate cultural industry development including but not limited to publishing, audiovisual, music animation comics games and cultural technology applications. Taiwan Creative Content Agency drives industrial investments, innovations, and formulates Taiwan's cultural brand that enriches the international cultural landscape through our diverse rich cultural content”  (Ting, 2020: 7). How does this issue of Books from Taiwan dedicated to comics portrays Taiwan’s cultural brand? Can it be seen as an example of rich cultural content? Does it enrich the international cultural landscape? Are the questions that this paper tries to find an answer to.

Yinchao Zhao, SOAS

Revisiting the Qiandao Lake Incident in Taiwanese identity changes

This paper challenges the conventional judgement that the Qiandao Lake Incident contributed to the sudden change of Taiwanese national identities in the mid 1990s. It relies on the textual analysis on United Daily News and United Evening News to examine how the identities changed through examining the media perceptions of Mainland China before and after the incident. The first part introduces Qiandao Lake Incident and lists some representative exemplars of the  Taiwanese  conventional perceptions. With the evidence from the relative poll results, the next part examines the perceptions and general attitudes toward the tourism and authority of the mainland China in the newspaper articles published before, during and after the incident. The third part adopts identity politics theory to analyse how the impressions and stereotypes about China were converted to the fuels of identity changes gradually rather immediately by media in this case. To conclude, the incident was neither the beginning, nor the peaking point of the identity changes. Instead, it solely accelerated rather confirmed  the identity changes.

Ting-Sian Liu , SOAS

Queering Taiwan: the amnesia of settler-colonial histories the potentiality of indigenous queerness

My research will uncover the amnesia of Taiwan’s settler-colonial past and look into the indigenous queerness in Taiwan. In this study, I will intervene queer theories in East Asia with the perspective of “race” and “ethnicity” and challenge the idea that Taiwan is an ethnic homogenous society by bringing in the perspectives of the queer indigenous people.

First of all, I will look into the normative narrative in Taiwan’s mainstream LGBTQ+ rights movement to argue that the current movement is middle-class and Han-centric. Secondly, I will look into the colonial archive of visualizing Taiwan indigenes to argue that there is a gendered and racialized discourse toward indigenes. In this section, I will discuss how settler-colonial and colonial power intersect with gender and sexuality. I will demonstrate that it is crucial to name the relationship between Han-Taiwanese and Taiwan indigenes as settler-colonial since it brings into how race and gender intersect and work together with each other.

Thirdly, I will look into Utjung Tjakivalid’s work in music to examine how they articulate indigeneity and queerness in their works. In this section, I will uncover Taiwan indigenous people’s subjectivity by examining how indigenous queer people portray and being portrayed through the media. By bridging the gap between queer theory and race/ethnicity in the context of settler-colonial, this study speaks to queer theory, East Asia studies, and settler-colonial studies.

Nadine Shaheen, SOAS

Feminist movements in Asia: a comparative study on the comfort women movement in Taiwan and South Korea

This research aims to evaluate the Comfort Women movement in Taiwan and South Korea focusing on why the Taiwan case isn’t as prominent on the international stage as the South Korean movement. For almost thirty years Comfort Women and supporting activists have campaigned relentlessly for the Japanese government to apologise and take legal responsibility for the atrocities they were subjected to by the Japanese Imperial army. Despite efforts made by the victims, the Japanese government has not legally accepted responsibility, and in the case of Taiwan, no apology has been received.

The timeframe of my research focuses on what I consider the resurgence of the movement on the international stage, following the international media attention on the South Korean case, the movement has been spearheaded since its inception. I shall focus on how following then the movement has gone on in garnering international attention in South Korea while Taiwan isn’t as prominent. Beginning with a background on who the ‘Comfort Women’ are, how the movement was initiated and the current status of the movement. I shall focus on the organisation of the movement in both countries, looking at how each country tackled the issue through their chosen strategies, while also taking into consideration the external factors that either hinder or push their respective agendas. Furthermore, I shall look at what international alliances have been formed between the organisations.

Through my research, I intend to highlight the use of various strategies, including performative methods, alliances and alternative forms of protest. In doing so I aim to evaluate how they have contributed to the movement, what parallels can be drawn and where they differ between the two countries in reaching their mutual goal. There is a need to analyse their methods for changes to be made and lessons learnt for the future of this movement.

Amber KIM, National Chengchi University

Policy network analysis of nuclear waste repository site selection:Focusing on South Korea and Taiwan case

The nuclear waste repository is one of the locally unwanted facilities as it poses a hazard to local residents. Thus, selecting a site for the nuclear waste repository has been a challenge for countries operating nuclear power plants. Yet, South Korea succeeded in finding a site for the low-level nuclear waste repository, respectively. This paper analyzes the site selection process from the perspective of policy network theory. Examining the site selection process and the policy network created by the interactions between the policy actors will offer useful information and insights to Taiwan, which is striving to find a breakthrough for a deadlock in the nuclear waste repository site selection process.

Lisa Hou, SOAS

Comparative analysis of contemporary women's rights movements in South Korea and Taiwan

My dissertation will discuss contemporary women’s rights movements in a comparative study between the cases of South Korea and Taiwan. In both countries, which are traditionally highly patriarchal, women’s rights movements and advancements seemed to have developed differently.  In Taiwan, despite the relatively progressive legal framework on women’s rights, it seemslike there is a lack of awareness on gender-based violence and a lack of support for thefurther advancements of women’s rights. This became apparent when the Taiwaneseequivalent of the #MeToo movement was only set off in 2020 after it was launched bylawmakers in an online campaign.  Over the last few years, cases of large-scale sexual abuse and sex-trafficking in the “Nthroom case” and “Burning sun scandal” have sent shock waves across the South Koreansociety. When a public prosecutor came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against hersuperior, it triggered a huge response of women sharing their experiences of harassmentand abuse online in a massive #MeToo movement.  The current state of research for the dissertation is still rudimentary, and since manyscandals and developments only happened recently, literature on both countries' cases isquite scarce. The focus of research and basis of comparison is still to be decided on, withoptions being conducting a discourse analysis on women’s rights organisations’ manifestosand campaigns, or media reporting and online forum discussions; comparing potentiallydifferent definitions of “feminism” in Taiwan and South Korea; or examining internal and external factors influencing women’s rights movements in both countries.

Yamouna Nallatamby, SOAS

Acting for unification : a grassroots approach to South Korea's and Taiwan's unification

My dissertation performs a comparative study of South Korea and Taiwan. It focuses on a comparison of civil society actors (social movements, social campaigns) strategy. The topic of unification and reunification has often been tackled through a rather top-down approach, however, my research seeks to understand this process differently as I aim to understand the role of grassroots movements. Indeed, the literature often overlooks the social aspect of unification: why people want to unify? Do they show a willingness to build a new nation? Classically understanding the concept of nation, we expect South Koreans and Taiwanese people in favour of unification to acknowledge their capacity to build up a nation with North Korea and Mainland China. Therefore, through my bottom-up approach, I intend to provide an insight into the political strategy adopted by these actors to emphasize their ideas and assess to some extent their impact on the policymaking process.

Max Dixon, University of Portsmouth

Writing China’s Rise. English-Language Newspaper’s perceptions of a rising China and its policy towards Hong Kong and Taiwan

This dissertation aims to explore perceptions of China’s rise through a discourse analysis of English-language newspapers’ writing on China’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Recognising a shift in China’s foreign policy towards “authoritarian initiatives” (Sutter, 2016, p.1) in Hong Kong and Taiwan, this study seeks to elicit from the text an understanding of the central themes and frames developed in regards to China’s rise and approach to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This study will analyse a corpus of English-language articles highlighting Chinese policy in Hong Kong and Taiwan; in Hong Kong articles dated June 2019 will be analysed regarding the emergence of protest and subsequent Government repression in relation to an un-popular Extradition Bill whilst in Taiwan, articles covering Chinese military incursions into Taiwanese airspace  (timeframe as yet unconfirmed) will be analysed. This paper will use the MAXQDA 2020 programme to analyse the writing utilising a coding system to uncover regimes of “truth” and “knowledge” (Doty, 1996, p.2) on China’s rise and China’s approach to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This is predicated on Larsen’s assertion that long-term political changes can be studied through the construction of beliefs and discourses (1997, p.5). Central to this study’s objectives is to understand the conception of China’s rise and how China’s increasingly assertive approach to Hong Kong and Taiwan, both conceptualised as “core interests” (Zhao, 2018, p.4) by China, has been perceived and understood in English-Language newspapers in East Asia.

Munhyun Choi, SOAS

Comparing the unification perception in South Korea and Taiwan

This research will focus on comparing the unification perception in Northeast Asian countries: South Korea and Taiwan. This paper will track down the two countries' political transition upon unification issues by reflecting contemporary dynamics after democratization in both countries. Taiwan political segregation from the mainland was not carefully intended when the Nationalist Government fled and crossed the Taiwan Straits following its defeat in the Chinese civil war. At the same time, the Korean peninsula' separation is unusual throughout history. Both Seoul and Taipei governments had expected a division as temporary, but it has been continuing for almost more than seven decades.

Admittedly, political leaders mainly lead a narrative of unification in two countries. In South Korea, the young generation gets less interested or less involved the reunification debates. Likewise, in Taiwan, peoples' recognition of the Chinese identity becomes weaker while Taiwanese identity has been reinforcing among most people born in Taiwan and raised.

The main argument is how the unification debates have converged into the status quo in both countries. To support my argument, I will focus on decisive moments such as democratization and German unification that influenced the perception towards the necessity and urgency for the vision of a unified country. Furthermore, my methodology will be the generational theory.

Mariko Iwai, SOAS
How the process of Hong Kong handover impacts the cross-strait issue? - Tracing the relationship between Hong Kong and Taiwan

This dissertation will focus on the handover process of Hong Kong and the impact on the cross-strait issue.

Hong Kong, which was promised a high degree of autonomy under the one country, two systems system, developed a more "free" society. At the same time, after the lifting of martial law, Taiwan gradually acquired a more "democratic" society. However, there have been major social movements over the handover of Hong Kong in recent years, and Taiwan has also experienced growing political tensions with the Chinese government. While the origins and social systems of the two regions are different, the handover process in Hong Kong from 1997 to the present has had a significant impact on cross-Strait issues in Taiwan. This research will focus mainly on social movements and civic exchanges and examine how they are affected.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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