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The quest to situate Taiwan, and its history, as a field of study continues to accompany a flow of dirges. Taiwan Studies has been argued to occupy ‘a marginal position’ within the field of Chinese Studies, while at the same time it is acknowledged that those who are interested in China cannot ignore Taiwan entirely. Some argue that the study of Taiwan is ‘an impossible task’ since ‘Taiwan is already written out of mainstream Western discourse due its insignificance’. This survey (though by no means exhaustive) is an effort to chart the evolution of Taiwan history and historiography and argue that those engaging with the study of Taiwan have always sought ways to adapt and thrive. Attention to this is important as scholars of Taiwan seek to define the field as thing unto itself.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies


This chapter focuses on two new religious movements (NRMs): Tzu-Chi and the Unification Church within Taiwan and South Korea. The chapter documents their beginnings and explores their involvement within welfare provision. It is argued that NRMs are part of the very fabric of modernisation theory and in the absence of state-led welfare, it often falls to grassroots-level organisations to provide aid. In societies marked by economic imbalance between the rich and the poor, it is at the grassroots level that more organisations, charities, and foundations tend to form. Since religion is deeply rooted in many communities in the countries under discussion, it therefore makes sense that faith-based NGOs would be established and begin work in those communities. The link between notions of welfare and religious practice is well-documented. Religious groups play a key role in determining how well a country’s welfare system has developed. Their reach includes education, medical care, and other social services. This is instead frequently centred on informal provision at the community level rooted in strong cultural-religious values. With the analysing of two NRMs this chapter bring into the light the links between religion and welfare. It argues that both Tzu-Chi and the UC were founded during a period of rapid economic growth, but also in a time of great welfare need.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
Volume Editors: , , and
In Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison, the chapters offer a reflection on the state of the field of Taiwan and Korea Studies. For the editors, the volume’s purpose was to identify not just their similarities, but also a reflection on their differences. Both have national identities formed in a colonial period. The surrender of Japan in 1945 ignited the light of independence for Korea, but this would be ideologically split within five years. For Taiwan, that end forced it into a born-again form of nationalism with the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists.

Taiwan and South Korea’s economic development illustrate a progressive transition and key to understanding this is the relationship between ‘modernization’ and ‘democracy’. By looking at Korea and Taiwan, the chapters in the volume broaden an understanding of the interconnectivity of the region.


This special issue concerns agency and negotiation in the context of the hierarchical relations between the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a global superpower, and Taiwan, a subordinated actor often relegated to a marginal position in contemporary global geopolitics. By exploring how Taiwan opposes, interrupts and re-creates its subordinate position vis-à-vis China, the authors of this special issue will shed light on the complexities of the ongoing Taiwan experience, shaped by different, often opposing, interests, positions and perspectives regarding its relationship with China. Yet, by exploring the experience of Taiwan with reference to its Chinese legacies, this special issue will also allow important reflections on China, not only in its hegemonic role regionally and globally, but also in its weaknesses when it deals with subordinated actors. This is a timely and important piece, which will allow alternative interpretations of contemporary events not only in Taiwan, for instance the recent national elections and related political developments, but also in the region, such as the protests which have been occurring in Hong Kong during the last four months.

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In: European Journal of East Asian Studies


The Northern Institute of Taiwan Studies (NorITS) was launched in 2018 and relies on the hard work of a team of five experts in the field. In this report we discuss the accomplishments our colleagues have achieved in these three years and the contributions that NorITS has made to Taiwan studies, with the aim to start a conversation on how to frame Taiwan studies against contemporary challenges and opportunities of academia.

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies