Transitional Justice in Taiwan: In theory, in practice, and in literature

Key information

6:00 pm to 7:15 pm
Main Building, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh St, London WC1H 0XG
Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)

About this event

As one of her first gestures upon taking office, President Tsai Ing-wen announced a plan to set up a truth and reconciliation commission.

‘For the new democratic system to move forward,’ she said in her 2016 inauguration speech, ‘we must first find a way to face the past together.’ She continued by remarking that, ‘The goal of transitional justice is to pursue true social reconciliation, so that all Taiwanese can take to heart the mistakes of that [authoritarian] era.’

This talk assesses the motivations, conduct, and outcomes of such projects. It contends that, for Taiwan as a contested state, transitional justice projects served as part of a legitimation strategy that included consolidation of a collective memory about earlier authoritarianstate violence, cultural and political distinction from the irredentism and authoritarianism of China, and demonstration of adherence to international norms of democracy and human rights. As examples of the effects of the projects, it presents the speaker's edited volume of literature in translation, Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror, as well as public statements asserting Taiwan's sovereignty published by members of the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee.

Speaker's Biography

Dr Ian Rowen

Ian Rowen is Associate Professor in the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature at National Taiwan Normal University. He is the author of One China, Many Taiwans: The Geopolitics of Cross-Strait Tourism (Cornell University Press, 2022), and the editor of Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror (Cambria Press, 2021).

Previously an assistant professor of Geography and Sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, he earned his PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

About 2023 SOAS Taiwan Studies Summer School

The Centre of Taiwan Studies (CTS) at the SOAS, University of London is excited to present a 2.5-day Summer School programme filled with engaging talks, seminars, and roundtables, taking place right after the EATS annual conference from the afternoon of June 28 to June 30 2023.

In our commitment to promoting the study of Taiwan, we are pleased to offer free and open-to-public attendance for the Summer School. We highly encourage individuals from all walks of life who are interested in Taiwanese culture and Taiwan studies attend our course.