Transitional Justice as Identity-Building in Taiwan

Key information

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Brunei Gallery

About this event

Felix Brender 王哲謙

*Please be aware that this session follows Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) .


Transitional Justice (TJ) mechanisms have been applied in several post-conflict spaces and commonly hailed by the academy as a – if not the – route to lasting positive peace. Taiwan has seen bouts of at times violent protest, which has given rise to popular and academic claims that renewed TJ efforts are required to achieve true, lasting peace.

Against this backdrop, this presentation opens with a review of relevant social science concepts and identifies sources of grievances and situates Taiwan’s case in the wider TJ literature. It then explore Taiwan’s most recent TJ endeavours under Tsai Ying-Wen, focusing on its core mechanism, the Transitional Justice Commission.

Engaging other readings of Taiwanese TJ mechanisms, this talk argues that Tsai’s TJ mechanisms should be read chiefly as an identity-building project. Located in a wider drive to develop a positive identity for Taiwan, they are an attempt to establish shared historical narratives and ultimately aim to create a more stable Taiwanese identity independent of China as a pivotal Other or benchmark. This process is directed at both domestic and international audiences. This way, Taiwan negotiates, (re-)constructs and reifies a relatively inclusive positive Taiwanese identity not solely through the memories uncovered and remembered through the TJ process, but chiefly through the process itself.


Speaker's Biography


Felix Brender 王哲謙 is a Southeast Asian scholar and social anthropologist (SOAS) by first training. Following years of experience as a conference interpreter for clients ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to the forums of High Politics, Felix returned to academia in 2017/18 to complete an MSc in International Relations at the LSE.
Since mid-2020, he has been studying towards a PhD on China’s security policy in the Global South, particularly South Sudan. He is particularly interested in the role of the individual and the community in security practice and the nexus of the personal and the institutional in security policy making and implementation as well as matters of identity building more broadly. Taiwan remains one of his additional research interests for personal reasons.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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