23 August 2019
The SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies hosted its 12th Annual Taiwan Studies Summer School from 17th June to 21st June 2019. Since 2007 the Centre has welcomed academics and students from around the world to share in our intensive five-day programme and examine developments within the Taiwan Studies field. This year was no exception, drawing nearly 300 attendees across our packed programme to discuss a broad range of topics ranging from documentary film making and journalism to Taiwan’s public media.
Time and again the Summer School has provided a vibrant atmosphere for scholars from around the world to meet and share exciting new research. This year’s attendees were as diverse as ever, coming from across Europe, Asia and the United States to participate and share their unique perspectives, in turn providing wonderful opportunities to enrich networks and contact between SOAS and global universities teaching Taiwan Studies.
Director Shen Ke-shang’s documentary films “A Rolling Stone” and “LOVE Talk” provided attendees uncompromising look into the challenges of love, family and relationships. This offered perfect examples of the sophistication of Taiwanese documentary film makers.
Attendees had the incredible opportunity to see Director Fu Yue’s acclaimed “Our Youth in Taiwan” and “Taiwan, Province of China,” respectively grappling with the Sunflower Movement’s legacy and her own personal exploration of Taiwanese identity.
We were especially pleased to host the launch of SOAS PhD Tommy Kwan’s new book “Learnings from Solitude,” as well as Leon Kunz’s topical presentation on “Does deliberative democracy matter?” Both talks led to wonderful discussion and highlighted the quality of SOAS Taiwan scholarship.
New Bloom Editor Brian Hioe delighted attendees by presenting four fascinating talks, contributing to panel discussions and translating for guest speakers was an invaluable part of this year’s roster.
The success of our fully attended Postgraduate Student Research Presentations were a wonderful illustration of the interest and quality of emerging Taiwan scholars, touching a wide range of topics from the strategies and focus of Queer activism in Taiwan to ceremonial Indigenous drinking practices.
One great pride of the Centre was the launch of Co-Director Dr Chang Bi-yu’s new title “Positioning Taiwan in a Global Context,” alongside co-editors and contributors Dr Lin Pei-yin and Dr Adina Zemanek.
The Centre also had the privilege of screening the world premiere of Lucie Liu’s documentary film “taipeilove*.” By providing intimate stories of same-sex couples in Taiwan, “taipeilove*" gave attendees an invaluable sense of the significance of Taiwan’s recently passed same-sex marriage law.
The Centre was especially fortunate to have Sylvia Feng present on the difficulties creating quality public programming and Taiwan’s public media landscape, giving attendees broader awareness of Taiwan’s media dynamics. Sylvia Feng’s screening of the award-winning Taiwanese animated film “On Happiness Road” and following Q&A served as the perfect end to our Summer School.
The Centre has since been flooded with great feedback on the variety and quality of this year’s events, as well as appreciation for the enthusiasm of Summer School organisers and volunteers. Overall we are glad to say the 2019 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School was a great success. Here’s to many more!