SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Indigenous Rights Movements in Taiwan Since 2008

Prof Scott Simon
Professor Scott Simon

Date: 26 June 2014Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 26 June 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Special Lecture

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.


Taiwan’s indigenous social movement, active since the 1980s, has successfully lobbied to get indigenous rights included in the Republic of China Constitution, to create a cabinet level Council of Indigenous Peoples, and to pass the 2005 Basic Law on Indigenous Peoples. Taiwan’s indigenous social activists have also become regular participants in United Nations indigenous events. Especially during the Chen Shui-bian presidency, foreign observers often suspected that the state instrumentalised “indigeneity” to claim a distinct identity from China. Events since 2008, however, demonstrate that the indigenous rights movement has maintained its own momentum and that the indigenous peoples have interests that cannot be reduced to issues of national identity or party politics. In fact, the indigenous people overwhelmingly support the KMT, and indigenous movements are involved in both “pro-unification” and “pro-independence” political networks.  Most indigenous social movement leaders, as well as ordinary indigenous people, hope that their movement can make progress in indigenous rights in ways that transcend the “blue” and “green” division between Han Taiwanese. This paper reflects upon the diversity of the indigenous movements and their mobilization strategies since Ma Ying-jeou was elected President of the ROC in 2008.

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Indigenous Rights Movements in Taiwan Since 2008

Speaker's Bio

Scott Simon Chairholder, Research Chair in Taiwan Studies, University of Ottawa, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Scott Simon specializes in the political anthropology of indigeneity and development in the Austronesian communities of Taiwan. He has done ethnographic research on this topic in both Hualien and Nantou counties of Taiwan since 2004. His new book has just been published by Presses de l'Université Laval.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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