8 June 2017
On June 8 the SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos and the Director of the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Dafydd Fell signed an agreement to host a two year Research Programme on Contemporary Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples. The project is being sponsored by Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines
The project will feature over twenty public events focused on issues related to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples and will see 12 international scholars visiting London to share their research findings on contemporary indigenous peoples. These public talks will be used as the basis of a new research publication on Taiwan's indigenous peoples.
This is the third research project in which the Centre of Taiwan Studies has cooperated with the Shung Ye Museum. The two previous projects were based on archival research about British missionaries in Taiwan and Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in the 19th century. In contrast this programme will be focused on issues related to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in contemporary Taiwan. Topics that will be covered will include indigenous social movements, literature and film, music, international relations, social and political issues.
The Director of the Centre Dafydd Fell commented ‘we are very excited about this project and to be working together again with Shung Ye Museum. We had often felt that there was a lack of English language material on many key issues concerning Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. When we tried to bring these topics into our regular teaching programmes, we found it hard to find enough quality readings. So we are hoping that the book publication will be widely used in the future on Taiwan Studies courses at SOAS and worldwide. It even would offer the potential to be the basis of a taught course on Taiwanese indigenous peoples. Since most of our Taiwan courses at SOAS are focused on contemporary Taiwanese society, politics, law and popular culture, we will be able to use the new programme to enhance our Taiwan teaching.’
Although the programme will officially start in September 2017, we will be holding a number of events related to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in June and July, including in the 2017 Summer School. The programme is designed to enhance our Taiwan teaching courses; however, all the events will be open to the public. We hope that the programme can raise awareness and understanding about Taiwan’s indigenous peoples.