SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Taiwan Indigenous Studies

In the scholarship on contemporary Taiwan studies, some areas such as national identity, cross-Strait relations and democratisation have received extensive academic interest. However, one area that we feel needs greater academic attention concerns the study of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. Though there has been high quality research on this subject, much of the literature has been historical, and issues related to modern Taiwan have been less well covered. For this reason, SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies is currently conducting a research project funded by the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, with the aim of establishing a Taiwan indigenous teaching programme and producing an English language textbook that can inform wider audiences about Taiwan’s indigenous peoples.

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♦ Contemporary Taiwan Indigenous Studies Series

A series of lectures on Taiwan's indigenous peoples will be held in 2018 and 2019. Renowned scholars from all over the world as well as brilliant research students working in this field will be invited to take part in this project and give a talk on their recent research at SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies. These lectures will engage with variety of topics related to Taiwan's indigenous peoples. All these events are free to attend and open to members of the public without prior registration. For any further information, please contact

Date Topic Speaker
26/Jan/2018 Book Launch of "Buried Treasures: Taiwan Indigenous Peoples' Archives Held at the School of Oriental & African Studies, the University of London" Dr Niki Alsford
30/Jan/2018 Utilization of Indigeneity: An Examination of the Politicization of Aboriginal Heritage in Taiwan Daniel Davies
20/Feb/2018 Why Indigenous Voters of Taiwan Do Not Vote? Dr Cheng-Hao Pao
22/Feb/2018 Electoral System and Indigenous Political Representation in Taiwan Dr Cheng-Hao Pao
19/Mar/2018 Indigenous Language Education in Taiwan: Past, Present and Future Douglas McNaught
23/Mar/2018 Fim Screening of "Finding Sayun" (不一樣的月光) SOAS Native Spirit Film Society
2/May/2018 Ethno-Spatiality as Sovereignty: Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art Biung Ismahasan
16/May/2018 The Interaction Between the Indigenous Music and the Media in Contemporary Taiwan Guo-Ting Lin
1/Jun/2018 Book Launch "Wedding in Autumn" and Q&A with Author Shih Chiung-Yu Chiung-Yu Shih
20/Jun/2018 Thinking with Birds: Ornithomancy and Indigeneity in Taiwan Dr Scott Simon
21/Jun/2018 Making God’s Country: A Phenomenological Approach to Religious Conversion among the Seediq and Truku of Taiwan Dr Scott Simon
28/Jun/2018 Learning to Farm and Cook: Participatory Action Research on Indigenous Edible Heritage Dr Joyce Hsiu-Yen Yeh
29/Jun/2018 Food, Ethnicity and Cultural Identity: Staging and Performing Indigenousness through Taiwanese Indigenous Restaurants and Food Dr Joyce Hsiu-Yen Yeh
9/Jul/2018 Indigenous Movement and Its Prospects Towards Indigenous Nation-Building Dr Awi Mona (Chih-Wei Tsai)
9/Jul/2018 From "With-Them" To "For-Us" Dynamic Model in Indigenous Higher Education Dr Tien-Tai Wu
9/Jul/2018 Gender Issues in Indigenous Television News Dr Chia-Sui Crystal Sun
10/Jul/2018 Indigenous Cultural Identities and Practices in Higher Education Dr Tien-Tai Wu
10/Jul/2018 Study of Indigenous Subjectivity Law and Its Formation: Approach on Indigenous Jurisprudence Dr Awi Mona (Chih-Wei Tsai)
10/Jul/2018 Domestication in Indigenous Feature Films from Taiwan Dr Darryl Sterk
11/Jul/2018 Population Movements and the Construction of Modern Tradition within Contemporary Taiwan Indigenous Society Dr Niki Alsford
11/Jul/2018 Indigenous Media Used as a Means of Cultural Change in a Period of Transformation of Culture and Society in Taiwan Dr Chia-Sui Crystal Sun
12/Jul/2018 From Chinese Folkdance to Indigenous Dance Theatres: Transition in Taiwan’s Cultural Diplomacy Programmes Dr Chun-Ying Wei
12/Jul/2018 Empower Indigenous Women to Empower Themselves and Their Community Dr Lih-Rong Wang
13/Jul/2018 The Translation of Seediq Bale into Seediq as Interpretation Dr Darryl Sterk
13/Jul/2018 Documentary Film Screening of "Pusu Qhuni - Seediq Bale" (餘生—賽德克•巴萊) Dr Darryl Sterk
3/Oct/2018 Indigenous Traditional Territory and Decolonization in the Settler Country: A Reflection of Taiwan Experience Dr Da-Wei Kuan (Daya Dakasi)
5/Oct/2018 Community Mapping, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Landscape Management Dr Da-Wei Kuan (Daya Dakasi)
12/Oct/2018 Film Screening of "Ça Fait Si Longtemps" (漂流遇見你) Native Spirit Foundation
13/Oct/2018 Film Screening of "Suming Carrying the Flag" (扛旗子的人) and Q&A with Ado Kaliting Pacidal & Suming Rupi Native Spirit Foundation
28/Nov/2018 Ways of Returning Home: Indigenous Youths, Jobs, and the Tribal Community Dr Yu-Bin Chiu
31/Jan/2019 Environmental issues concerning indigenous peoples Dr Ting-Jieh Wang
7/Feb/2019 PingPu Indigenous Status Struggle for Recognition Dr Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai)
8/Feb/2019 Siraya Indigenous Identity Recognition and Language Revitalization Dr Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai)
11/Feb/2019 Chronotopes of Indigenous Taiwanese Documentary Film Dr Kerim Friedman
28/Feb/2019 Taiwan's Indigenous Modern Literature Dr Chih-Fan Chen

♦ Handbook on Taiwan's Indigenous Peoples

A number of topics would be covered in this project. 

  1. The state of indigenous academic studies in Taiwan
  2. Political representation and voting behaviour of indigenous peoples
  3. Indigenous media in Taiwan
  4. Migration history of indigenous peoples
  5. Indigenous peoples and music/arts
  6. Labour issues and indigenous peoples
  7. Education issues related to indigenous peoples
  8. Indigenous rights social movements
  9. Indigenous peoples in Taiwan’s international relations
  10. Legal and constitutional issues related to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples
  11. Social problems facing Taiwan’s indigenous peoples
  12. Religion practices among Taiwan’s indigenous peoples
  13. Local politics in indigenous areas
  14. Modern literature and film
  15. National, ethnic and local identities among indigenous peoples
  16. The China factor
  17. The internet and social media
  18. Environmental issues concerning indigenous peoples

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♦ The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines was founded in 1994 as a specialist museum for the display of artefacts pertaining to the Taiwan indigenous peoples. Originally established on the basis of donations by its founder and Chairman, Safe C.F. Lin, the Museum has over the years developed into an organisation that seeks to celebrate, through research and preservation, the uniqueness of the Taiwan indigenous cultures.

In 2010, Dr Niki Alsford, at the Centre of Taiwan Studies, began researching, on behalf of the Museum, the archival collections of the Presbyterian Church of England (PCE), housed in the vaults of the School of Oriental and African Studies’ library. This collection is the largest in the UK and contains some of the earliest written histories of the Taiwan indigenous peoples in the English language. Aside from the written documentary and visual evidence of culture, pre-Japanese ethnography, language, and architecture of the people, it also contains some of the earliest and rarest photographic records of the Presbyterian Mission and its activities in Taiwan from the 1860s through to the early 1940s.

If you have any inquiry, please contact