What the Taotao Means to Me

Written by Mary Hamilton 何美笑 Friday, 22 April 2016 11:38
     On Orchid Island, the Taotao is a ubiquitous symbol.  It can be found inside churches, outside of 7-11, adorning many a tourist trinket, and most importantly, on every Tao boat.  Known as (人型 renxing the person symbol), the Taotao is often depicted as a small person with swirled arms and “curly Qs” coming out of its head. Whimsical in appearance, but steeped in meaning, the Taotao represents a person’s relationship with his or her physical environment.  For Tao people, this environment includes dense mountainous jungle, rocky beaches, and the crystal blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean.        …

My Fulbright Journey in Taiwan: Language-Discordance as a Social Phenomenon

Written by Elaine Hsieh 謝怡玲 Friday, 22 April 2016 10:53
    Social worlds and social relationships are created, maintained, and resisted through human communication. The best of communication scholarship emerges through researchers’ willingness and ability to listen, by recognizing the perspectives of others, and learning through the nuances and complexities of communication practices. This is particularly important when working with marginalized and underserved populations, whose voices are often deprived and silenced, resulting in disparities in their everyday life. These are the values that have driven my research program for nearly two decades. Interests in and empathy for humans and the human phenomenon is fundamental to the scholarship of any…

Translation of “Enlightenment” in Late Qing and Republican China Political Thought

Written by Chien-Shou Chen 陳建守 Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:03
        My research as a Fulbright grantee at Harvard University concerns the appropriation of political terminology from the West in late Qing and Republican China. Here is a small section of my work, to give an idea of the research my Fulbright grant supports.         In recent research, LuoZhitian 羅志田 has argued that during the integration of Western culture, modern China showed some ambiguity in the translation and utilization of imported words. Most understanding towards European historical events took place either through literal translation or through definitionof the meanings of terms, such as “qimeng…
  As an individual with Manchu and Sibe language skills and an interest in the development of Manchurology, I am following closely a situation in which two scholarly camps have engaged in a fight with virtually no results. One camp is comprised of scholars based in Taiwan and China, who adhere to the Chinese view that a major reason for the Qing Empire’s success in ruling China for approximately three centuries is the Sinicization of the Manchus. The “New Qing History” camp, which is led by American academia, however, dismisses that view as a reflection of Chinese chauvinism, but maintains…

For What Can We Hope? Concrete Houses and Hopeful Indigeneity in 'Amis Country

Written by Donald Hatfield 施永德 Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:10
Where is This Stairway Going?        Nearby my residence in 'Atolan, a Taiwanese Indigenous Communityon Taiwan's East Coast, there is a simple, flat-roofed house. The house, constructed of steel bar reinforced concrete, resembles nearly any other solafo, or concrete slab, house you might see around this town, which perches on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean. Sand for mixing the concrete likely came from a stream mouth not too far north of here, and the house required no outside contractors: men who had worked construction abroad--some in Japan, others in Singapore or even the Arabian Peninsula--gathered to assist…

The Meaning of John Dewey’s Trip to China, 1919-1921

Written by James Behuniak 江文思 Friday, 11 September 2015 13:18
       This year, in addition to teaching American philosophy in Taiwan, I have been researching John Dewey’s visit to China from 1919-1921.  The facts surrounding Dewey’s visit are fairly well known.  Dewey arrived in China at the height of the May Fourth Movement.  His former students invited him to tour and to give lectures throughout the country, and there are detailed records of his itinerary and the content of his talks.  I have focused primarily on how this experience influenced Dewey himself, and I have been reading his papers and personal letters in order to gain some insight.…

Contemporary Aboriginal. The Mixing.

Written by Terry O'Reilly 易光海 Wednesday, 26 August 2015 15:08
    For my Fulbright grant I chose a topic of immense richness: the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan. What I found exceeded my every expectation.  I have experienced countless encounters and exchanges, celebrated the sacred rites and important dates of the harvest and hunting calendars of the Pangcah (also known as Amis), the Paiwan, the Atayal and Saisiyat peoples.  My Fulbright grant became a mixture of scholarship and art.       To begin at the beginning: I became aware of the cultural and artistic vitality of Taiwan during a short visit in 2005; and at that time I also began…

A Midyear Reflection on the State of my Research

Written by Lance Crisler 柯則已 Friday, 20 March 2015 19:10
           I do a lot of reading; it’s part of my job description as a graduate student. I read all types of works: newspaper articles, opinion pieces, scientific data, political diatribe, etc. I also read quite a bit of Chinese literature and modern scholarship on such works. Recently, it occurred to me that I have lost, to some degree at least, my love of reading for pleasure, especially reading works of fiction. I tend to get lost in critical works, the argumentative polemics and rhetorical strategies of academic work published in scholarly periodicals, but I realized…

Notes from a Sufi Shrine in Sindh, Pakistan

Written by Pei-Ling Huang 黃佩玲 Friday, 13 March 2015 13:22
  The heat of the day had receded as we walked into the shrine after 'isha, the final evening prayers. The marble ground felt cool to our bare feet when we took off our sandals and went in. There was no guard at the gate, no shoe-keeping stand, and people sat on the ground in small groups, chatting, eating, and sleeping. Children and even dogs ran around in the informal and mildly festive atmosphere of the beautifully-lit shrine courtyard. This place, the shrine of Shāh Abdul Latīf in Bhit Shāh, Sindh, was beyond doubt one of the most open and…

On Shamanism, Positivism, and Shifting One’s Frame of Reference

Written by Mary Hamilton, B.A., Fordham University Sunday, 01 March 2015 20:48
       An important skill that I have adopted for living overseas in a different culture is shifting my frame of reference to accommodate new experiences or ideas.  Living in Taiwan for the last six months has certainly challenged me to do so in refreshingly unexpected ways.         Since new understandings begin with language and so much of language is based upon context, even a play-on-words can illustrate the value of shifting one’s frame of reference to unlock new meaning in a different culture.  As my Social Cultural Anthropology teacher, Futuru Tsai, said jokingly in class, "If you…
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