SOAS CTS Summer School 2022 Student Presentations

Key information

Date
Time
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Venue
Russell Square: College Buildings
Room
4426 & 4429
Event type
Summer school

About this event

Student Presentations Seminar (SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School Day 4: Thursday 7th July 2020 10:00-12:00, 15:00-17:00 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 2022 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend .

*Please be aware that this session follows British Summer Time (BST). This agenda may be subject to last minute changes.

Venue: 4426, 4429 Main College Building

Panel A Microsoft Teams

Panel B Microsoft Teams

Time

Panel A Social Science  (4426)

Panel B Humanities  (4429)

10:00-10:30

Green Party Taiwan: Gender and Sex

Wang Yan-han (National ChengChi University)

Digital Technology and Asian Transnational Activism: Taiwan’s grassroot engagement

with #MilkTeaAlliance pro-democratic solidarity

Yang Chengyu

(SOAS)

10:30-11:00

Comparing the #MeToo Movement in Taiwan and Japan: The Unusual Failure and Success

Li Yifan (SOAS)

Language Coexistence in Contemporary Taiwan: Is English Education a Threat to Local Languages?

Jacopo Visentin

(SOAS)

11:00-11:30

Contemporary Chinese

nationalism through a comparison of the scholarly works on the Umbrella Movement and Sunflower Movement published in China.

Fang Yundi (SOAS)

Break

11:30-12:00

Electoral Reform and Disunited Polarization: Evidence from Legislative Roll Calls

David Liao

(University of Essex & University of Bamberg)

Taiwan indigenous culture - potential or amusement.

Zrinka Tomašić

(Ca'Foscari, University of Venice)

Break

15:00-15:30

A Large Party Secures its Own Amusement: Comparing Variations in Party Institutionalisation and Their Effects on Democratic Consolidation in the Philippines and Taiwan

Russell Sherrard-Smith

(SOAS)

What are the distinctive characteristics of Taiwanese identity as viewed by Taiwan’s young people?

David Clarkson

(SOAS)

15:30-16:00

Preparing for the coming Showdown? The urgency the War in Ukraine brings to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait

Mohammad HAMZA
(University Of London , University of Copenhagen)

Journey to the West: Tsai Ming-Liang Ensures Monkey King Finally Arrives West

Teresa Irigoyen-López

(SOAS)

16:00-16:30

Ma Ying-jeou’s Diaoyutai policy

Jason (Tsz Chun) Lee

(SOAS)

Staging and Re-staging Taiwan at the Centre Pompidou in France

Gabriela Alexandra Banica

(SOAS)

16:30-17:00

How effective is Taiwan’s semiconductor

industry in shaping geo-economic security in the Taiwan Strait?

Paddy Coghlan

(SOAS)

Community-led planning reforms in developmental-state cities? A study of marketisation of planning systems and changing understandings of communities in Taipei, Taiwan

Hou Ying-chun
(University College London)

Student Presentation Abstracts

AM Social Science Panel

Wang Yan-han (National ChengChi University, Taiwan)
"Green Party Taiwan: Gender and Sex"

After the book Taiwan’s Green Parties: Alternative Politics in Taiwan launched in early 2021, Dr. Fell, former Green Party Taiwan Convenor Dr. Peng, and I have been collaborating on its translation, rearrangement and supplement. Our aim is to create an inspiring and localised version in Traditional Chinese. The original book reviews and analyses GPTW in a chronological order, but we deconstruct and reinterpret GPTW’s history with a thematic approach and explore deeper into certain issues.

The new chapter, Gender and Sex, I am writing for the Taiwan edition analyses the gender and sex issue through the lens of “positive and negative rights”, and delves into the following three dimensions: Women's political participation, LGBT+ rights and sexual harassment policy. The questions below are addressed: What issues about gender and sex have been brought to discussion via GPTW’s electoral campaigns? What progress in internal regulations has the GPTW made to strike a balance between its core values and political reality? From the perspective of gender and sex, how could the challenges the GPTW has endured, conquered or struggled with possibly influence Taiwan’s democracy?

Li Yifan (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Comparing the #MeToo Movement in Taiwan and Japan: The Unusual Failure and Success"

The global diffusion of the #MeToo Movement hits East Asia differently. According to Lee and Murdie’s (2020) static analysis based on Twitter and Bayesian statistical modelling, the civil society seems to be more active in the #MeToo Movement in a country where women and marginalised groups have better political representation and opportunities, which has a more decisive influence than the transnational aspect. However, it seems to be reversed in Taiwan and Japan. Japan is notorious for its gender gap in political representation and overall gender equality level, and Taiwan was ranked top in the world on gender equality, with over 40% of women in the Legislative Yuan (International IDEA, 2022). However, in addition to the Ito Shiori case that caused a great sensation around the globe, Japan’s movement itself and the public response was much stronger than Taiwan, based on the comparison of the level of street protest and the number of online searches and news reports. Therefore, besides the domestic political condition and the transnational influences, it is worthy of looking into other factors that played a role in influencing the development of the #MeToo Movement. Here I will make a comparison study of the #MeToo Movement in Japan and Taiwan. To investigate the question “why Japan’s engagement with the #MeToo Movement was stronger than Taiwan”, I will mainly look into it through two aspects: the feminist network and the journalism aspect, while they may sometimes affect each other. The feminists and activists were a part of the actors who first responded to the movement, and their moves may influence the pattern of the movement and further influenced the emergence of the movement itself. The journalism aspect may influence the exposure and the spreading of news.

Fang Yundi (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Contemporary Chinese nationalism through a comparison of the scholarly works on the Umbrella Movement and Sunflower Movement published in China"

This dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of contemporary Chinese nationalism through a comparison of the scholarly works on the Umbrella Movement and Sunflower Movement published in China. Prior research has shown that the two eventful protests have posed a challenge to the political development trajectory of their respective societies and directed toward rising indigenous identities. Whereas existing research has discussed the critical role that the “China factor” plays in the two movements, this dissertation shifts the focus to examining the Chinese academic community’s interpretation of the movement with particular attention paid to the force of nationalism played in shaping their interpretation as well as the reflection of the Chinese nationalism in the contemporary era reflected through their narratives. Specifically, this research project aims to answer the following overarching research question: under what context do researchers based in China interpret social movements that erupted in the “peripheries” as pro-independence protests aiming to split China? Through applying political discourse analysis to the selected paper published between 2015 to 2021 that either mentions or directly targets the two movements in China, an examination of lexical choice is made by unravelling the frequencies of key terms relating to the movement. Taiwan and Hong Kong’s shared commonalities in socioeconomic relations with China in history and their difference in legal status set an essential context under which Chinese scholars (re)imagine China’s boundaries of a nation-state in territory and sovereignty. Furthermore, the confrontation Taiwan had with China in their quest for nationhood as reflected in the Sunflower Movement and the struggling exploration of nationalism within a stateless city-state functioning as a special administrative region (SAR) under an authoritarian regime is fruitful case studies in which a closer look at the development path of democracy in East Asia is made through the discursive approach.

David (Yen-Chieh) Liao (University of Essex, United Kingdom & University of Bamberg, Germany)
"Electoral Reform and Disunited Polarization: Evidence from Legislative Roll Calls"

The extent to which electoral systems change legislative preference and representation remains debatable. This paper investigates how parties and legislators strategically position themselves in response to an institutional change using the case of Taiwan's electoral reform through the Single Non-transferable Vote (SNTV) to the Single-Member Districts (SMD). To this end, I apply dynamic ideal point estimation to measure legislators' ideological preferences and study whether the reform moderates the level of intra-party disagreement induced by the change in the systems. The empirical evidence shows that intra-party fractionalization increases while ideological differences between major parties are drastically polarized in the SMD. Controlling for yearly effects during the presence of the reform, however, I find the impact of party division decreases as time goes by. This paper complements mounting evidence that electoral systems play an important role in explaining lawmakers' preferences and the changes in ideological positioning shedding light on party polarization and party competition in modern democracies.

AM Humanities Panel

Yang Chengyu (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Digital Technology and Asian Transnational Activism: Taiwan’s grassroot engagement with #MilkTeaAlliance pro-democratic solidarity"

In this dissertation, I intend to explore the role of digital technology on Taiwan’s grassroot engagement with #MilkTeaAlliance transnational activism. Specifically, I will examine how various existences of digital(ity) in the contemporary world influence Taiwan’s engagement with a broader Asian transnational civil society in the case of #MilkTeaAlliance through a “from-below” lens.

During the recent decade, the #MilkTeaAlliance solidarity serves as an intriguing case among other internet-related transnational activisms (e.g., #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter), as the Milk Tea Alliance is triggered and derived from an “online meme war”. Such an origin of #MilkTeaAlliance features an integration of digital technology in facilitating and inspiring the transnational connectivity and mobility among the activists. Here, I perceive the idea of digital technology related transnational activism beyond a bounded spatial metaphor of “cyberspace”, but as an assemblage across “actual” and “virtual”, an ongoing process of arrangement that draws together various “(part)icipants” (Behrenshausen, 2012) – the (im)mobility of human, symbolism, political discourses, affects, imagined space, and information and communicative technologi(cal) (ICT) apparatus.

My study will therefore investigate Taiwan’s grassroot engagement under the assemblage of digital(ity) in three aspects, namely, Taiwanese activists, diasporic activists in Taiwan, and foreign activists’ perceptions of Taiwan during the transnational activism of #MilkTeaAlliance. The primary data of my research comes from a 9-month digital participant observation on #MilkTeaAlliance starting from October 2021, as well as multiple in-depth interviews among local and diasporic #MilkTeaAlliance activists from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and UK with the help of digital technologies. The focus on Taiwan’s engagement will also help me to unpack the contradicted perspectives Taiwanese participants faced, within which a thicker solidarity with other Asian countries is more approachable while the distinguished identity is also more desirable in their contemporary digital life.

Jacopo Visentin (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Language Coexistence in Contemporary Taiwan: Is English Education a Threat to Local Languages?"

Since democratization, Taiwan has officially abandoned the Mandarin-only policy that characterized the whole martial law period (1949-1987) and began promoting and reviving local languages. In 2018, Taiwan announced the 2030 Bilingual Nation Policy which aims to increase English proficiency, especially among students of all levels, by 2030.

Zrinka Tomašić (Ca'Foscari, University of Venice, Italy)
"Taiwan indigenous culture - potential or amusement"

Today, there are parks in Taiwan in which are portrayed indigenous people, their culture and customs. However, this kind of representation is actually providing amusement to park’s customers, and not giving respect and appreciation of indigenous culture. And it is not a truthful representation of their life. There are also lots of potentials that indigenous culture has, a sustainable tourism (with appreciation of their culture), and there could also be other economical gaines: in wider selling of their handmade crafts, clothing (both historical and contemporary fashion),… Indigenous identity as such can help to form Taiwan's identity, and it should be respected, researched and represented in its authentic manner.

PM Social Science Panel

Russell Sherrard-Smith (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"A Large Party Secures its Own Amusement: Comparing Variations in Party Institutionalisation and Their Effects on Democratic Consolidation in the Philippines and Taiwan"

emocratic consolidation has been a popular research topic since the 1980s, particularly with reference to ‘Third Wave’ democracies that emerged at this time, but several research gaps persist. Taiwan and the Philippines, both part of this phenomenon, have received much attention in this area individually, but have rarely been studied together despite their geographical proximity, similarly active civil societies, and relatively simultaneous democratic transitions and consolidations. More broadly, party institutionalisation as a potential influence on the consolidation process remains understudied due to a lack of mutual engagement between the literature on political parties and democratic theory. This dissertation seeks to address these gaps by comparing the diverging developments of party institutionalisation in both Taiwan and the Philippines and considering its effects on their democratic consolidation, based on the assumption that parties are the primary institutions that bridge the gap between society’s public interests and the state’s policymaking process. Drawing on Randall and Svåsand’s variables of institutionalisation modified for the case of Asia-Pacific postcolonial new democracies, the major parties in both states are assessed in terms of internal systemness, democratic and authoritarian value infusion, decisional autonomy from other institutions and ‘reification’ in the public consciousness. This dissertation hopes to find that parties in Taiwan are generally significantly more institutionalised than their Philippine counterparts, which has contributed to its democratic consolidation by solidifying the legitimacy of the democratic system and its institutions, though problems of elitism (beyond party institutionalisation) remain. Poorer institutionalisation in the Philippines has resulted in a lack of institutions able to translate public interests into policies and has entrenched the dominance of the political structure by wealthy landowning families. Early findings suggest that variations in party institutionalisation are not a decisive factor in determining developments in democratic consolidation, as they are generally a symptom of more fundamental variables in their political and social contexts rather than a cause. This poses a future research question of the causal variables of party institutionalisation grounded in democratic theory.

Mohammad HAMZA (University Of London, United Kingdom, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
"Preparing for the coming Showdown? The urgency the War in Ukraine brings to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait"

Jason (Tsz Chun) Lee (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Ma Ying-jeou’s Diaoyutai policy"

Paddy Coghlan (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"How effective is Taiwan’s semiconductor industry in shaping geo-economic security in the Taiwan Strait?"

This question looks at a number of key issues that affect our everyday lives. To continue humanity’s technical revolution, the increasing use of semi-conductor computer chips is at the vanguard of our evolving technological dependence. From computer chips to 5G networks, semi-conductors are crucial to the continued growth of the global economy. With Taiwan being the preeminent producer of these semi-conductor chips, the implications of any military invasion from the PRC would be profound. The question aims to provide a greater understanding of how Taiwan can use its dominant position in this market to provide a proverbial ‘force field’ to shield itself from any military confrontation with the PRC. Furthermore, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has drawn a concerning comparison between a larger, more powerful state invading its weaker neighbour. Additionally, the comparison between Ukraine’s exports orientated agricultural economy, which North Africa is predominantly reliant on and Taiwan’s export of semi-conductors to the globalised economy can be analysed as parallel issues. With the world’s economy being shaken and countries who are dependent on Ukrainian wheat as its primary source of food import, the ramifications for any attack on Taiwan would see similar shocks to the global economy. Therefore, it is critical that when answering this question, the importance of companies such as TSMC are not understated as important players in the geo-economic reality between Taiwan and China.

PM Humanities Panel

David Clarkson (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"What are the distinctive characteristics of Taiwanese identity as viewed by Taiwan’s young people?"

Taiwanese identity is a very salient topic encompassing a vast corpus of research, literature and articles which not only narrate the complexity of Taiwan’s identity both domestically and more broadly in the international arena in terms of statehood, sovereignty, self-determination, imagined community and natural identity. From recent research there is evidence of an emerging trend to identify solely as Taiwanese rather than Chinese or a combination of the two and an overall image of anti-Chinese sentiment. This study will ask what does it really mean to be Taiwanese for younger people? Through a survey and interviews specifically aimed at 18 to 30 years old, those who have grown up in a democratic free society and yet been continually challenged by the historic relationship with Mainland China – threat of war and lack of international recognition, the aim is to further uncover not simply how a younger generation identity themselves but why? Through analysing the results, the aim will be to ask if this widely shared enthusiasm for ‘Taiwanese-ness’ is irreversible or possibly a short-lived trend caused by certain events and what are other possible consequences

Teresa Irigoyen-López (SOAS, Uniteed Kingdom)
"Journey to the West: Tsai Ming-Liang Ensures Monkey King Finally Arrives West"

Myths, legends and folk stories have been a constant throughout Chinese and Taiwanese histories, and they have had such a long-lasting impact that many of these traditions are still immensely popular in contemporary culture today. Among all the popular myths and stories, Greater China's most famous one is undoubtedly Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King, from the literary masterpiece Journey to the West. However, despite the recent prominence of East Asian popular culture, the impact of Journey to the West has been relatively limited in global media, with an English translation of the classic Chinese novel in its entirety only published for the first time in 1983. Although English and Spanish dubbed versions of the 52 episode Japanese comedy Saiyūki/Monkey (1978) was a cult-hit in the 1980s and 1990s and became many Westerns’ first introduction to Journey to the West, ensuing attempts at adapting the novel for a Western audience have been disappointing, and the socio-temporal cross-cultural gap still seems to be too large for the Chinese classic to really reach that level of prominence in the West (excluding the Chinese diaspora). Furthermore, while in East Asia, and particularly in Greater China, Journey to the West has been read and enjoyed by diverse audiences, crossing between forms of “high” and “low” cultural capital identified by Bourdieu, the Western cinematic adaptations, such as the poorly-grossing American science fiction film adaptation Dragonball Evolution (2009), have mostly targeted a clear subgroup of action/comedy movie-goers and have not discussed in depth the symbolism and dense literary context present in the classic novel, and thus, the ancient allegory for enlightenment of the original text remains foreign to most Western audiences. What would a cinematic adaptation of the novel for a Western audience that consciously addresses the philosophical elements so crucial to the original novel look like? My research analyses Tsai Ming-liang’s 2014 film Journey to the West as precisely that: not a mere international art-house film borrowing the classic’s title, but a conscious adaptation of the original novel for a modern audience in the West as well as the growing Chinese diaspora everywhere. My work explores the changing use and impact of this mythological tale depending on the intended audience and author and proposes Tsai’s film be understood as a cross-cultural adaptation and re-imagination of the tale’s teachings for a modernised world.

Gabriela Alexandra Banica (SOAS, United Kingdom)
"Staging and Re-staging Taiwan at the Centre Pompidou in France"

Taiwan lacks acces to international representation as the island struggles to keep away from mainland China’s view over its territory. Having the privileged positions of a world super power China often puts pressure on the international scene to treat Taiwan as part of its borders. But not all countries play along and often different institutions are able to host and foster Taiwan through their specific working environment.

The current research is set to analyze the presence of Taiwanese artists and exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in France and the curatorial practices attached to them. From solo exhibitions of Taiwanese artists to incorporating them into topic focused ones to inviting acclaimed Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei to present his interactive exhibition at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France in 2020, on the occasion of the 10th founding anniversary of the satellite branch to actually re-staging The 12th Taipei Biennial – You and I Don’t Live on the same Planet, November 6 2021 to April 4 2022, the Centre Pompidou proves to be a solid partner of Taiwan in its quest for international representation.

The research is meant to address the gaps in the current scholarship related to curatorial practices displayed when dealing with art from territories whose status is contested. That are not recognized by the UN. However, they are recognized as independent states by some UN members. And, also, enrich the field of France Taiwan curatorial practices. By analyzing the current subject of interest it is hoped that art from more disputed territories can be made accessible to audiences in France, Europe, and around the globe.

The current research is positioned at the intersection between cultural diplomacy, museum and curatorial studies, all of these are put together from the perspective of a contested state. As the main focus of the research will be four exhibitions from the Centre Pompidou that took place starting with 2020: Yuan Jai 05.02-27.04.2020, Lee Mingwei Sonic Blossom 23.09-18.10.2020, River Lin An Art History on Escalators 26-27.06.2021, The 12th Taipei Biennial – You and I Don’t Live on the same Planet (organized by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and that ended in March 2021 in Taipei, was staged at the Centre Pompidou-Metz) 6.11.2021-04.04.2022 one first step is to frame the perspective that will be bore in mind when addressing the topic of Staging and Re-staging Taiwan at the Centre Pompidou. The formalist approach in museum studies will be used alongside with the critical museum visitor categorisation, meaning the work done by Eugene Dillenburg in his "What, if Anything, is a Museum?" article and Margaret Lindauer’s “The Critical Museum Visitor”.

Hou Ying-chun (University College London, United Kingdom)
"Community-led planning reforms in developmental-state cities? A study of marketisation of planning systems and changing understandings of communities in Taipei, Taiwan"

This study contributes to understandings of community-led governance and planning reform through a contextualised analysis of recent initiatives in Taiwan. Communityled planning practice, which emphasises participation, partnership and consensusbuilding, has become important as it symbolises the democratisation of planning system. However, current writings of community engagement are mostly generalised from experiences of western democratic countries and have paid insufficient attention to, for example, in East Asian contexts, or those countries in which developmental-states have pursued modernisation programmes for decades. To address this gap, this study will look into recent planning reforms in Taipei and the dissemination of Government-led Urban Regeneration Programs by Taipei City Government since 2016, which reshapes particular constructions of community as both a critical policy subject and object in urban policy reform, i.e. communities are given powers and resources, with multiple objectives to increase the efficiency of urban regeneration and levels of democratic participation. The aim of this research is to investigate the diverse rationalities for community construction, how community constructions are embedded into the planning system and what is the impact of this planning reform on. To generate in-depth evidence, the research draws on a qualitative methodology and will compare and contrast two community-led planning model cases. One is Nanjichang government-led urban regeneration program, which is located in an old-town neighbourhood where disadvantaged residents dwell. The other is Nangang government-led urban regeneration program, which is in an industrialised area that is being developed as an innovation base. This research will use Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and semistructured interviews as main data collection strategies. In this way, this research will critically document, assess, and examine rationales of community deployment, how community-led planning policies are adopted, localised and packaged as a model to be codified in different areas, and its policy effects for governance structures, planning systems and material effects on the built environments of cities.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: hl55@soas.ac.uk