Wild, Tame, and In-Between: Traditional Agricultural Knowledge of Taiwan Indigenous People

Written by Pei-Lin Yu 余琲琳 Wednesday, 23 August 2017 12:30
  Introduction and Background      Many of us would agree that Senator J. William Fulbright’s vision of “a world with a little more knowledge and a little less conflict” will feature healthy ecosystems, appreciation of cultural diversity, and of course, delicious food. However, the world has been moving in the wrong direction over the past century. Today, 75% of the world’s plant food is made up of only 12 species. As of 2010, three (rice, maize, and wheat) provided nearly 60 percent of the calories and proteins that humans derive from plants (F.A.O 2010, 1999) and this trend continues…

The Native Speaker: A Category in Need of Rupture

Written by Gina Elia 艾真 Friday, 06 October 2017 16:56
           In my language, we say “I love you” a lot.       Think about that sentence for a minute. Really think about it. Does it strike you as odd? I speak of my native language, which happens to be English, as though it belongs to me.  But how can something as massive and unruly as a language belong to anybody? The largest category of words in almost any language is technical—specialized jargon unknown to the majority of native speakers. Languages are created by human beings, but they quickly grow into giant, complex webs of syntax…

Visiting a Buddhist Statue Factory in Taiwan

Written by Kevin Buckelew 呂凱文 Thursday, 02 November 2017 11:53
       During my 2016–17 Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to visit the Taoyuan factory of Sheng Kuang 聖光 (Sacred Radiance), a leading manufacturer of Buddhist statuary whose finished work can be found in temples and sacred sites across Taiwan and other parts of Asia. While the company produces Buddhist images of every size, some of their statues are remarkably large, including the Ushiku Daibutsu 牛久大仏 in Japan, which at 390 feet is (as of this writing) the third-tallest statue in the world. They have also produced large-scale statues for temples in Taiwan, such as the 236-foot tall…

Everyday Life on Yongkang Jie

Written by Kay Duffy 杜圭 Wednesday, 25 July 2018 09:37
     In 2016-2017, I conducted research for my dissertation on early medieval Chinese literature in Taipei as a Fulbright Fellow. Upon arriving in Taipei in early September, my husband and I set to work trying to find a home for the year. Over the summer, I had spent hours “researching” life in Taipei (reading food blogs), but our main concern upon arrival was finding a place accessible to our respective research institutions, National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica. After a few disheartening weeks sifting through online apartment listings, we found a place near Yongkang Jie, a street in Da’an…

Putting Memory to Work: The Ming Court and the Legacy of the Mongol Empire

Written by David M. Robinson 魯大維 Wednesday, 25 July 2018 10:18
       Empires create legacies that successors use in diverse ways.  My project explores the court of China’s Ming dynasty (1368-1644) on a broad Eurasian stage.  It focuses on a moment when much of Eurasia shared a common reference point, the Mongol empire.  In the thirteenth century, the Mongols created the greatest land empire in history; their courts in China, Persia, and southern Russia were centers of wealth, learning, power, religion, and lavish spectacle. Scholars have rightly stressed the Mongol empire’s lasting impact on later ages, drawing attention to the emergence of an early modern global economy, the rise…
     I spent my Fulbright year engaged in ethnographic research on Taiwan’s indigenous communities and their practices, and the ways in which these practices are being addressed under Taiwan law. This year has been a year of returns for me. My family lived in southeastern Taiwan when I was young boy. At that time, the area in which we resided had a high concentration of indigenous peoples, and members of the Amis, Puyuma, and Paiwan tribes were some of our closest friends and neighbors. As a result, this year has been an opportunity for me to return to an…

Inside Taiwan's Sunflower Movement

Written by Ian Rowen 伊恩 Thursday, 02 August 2018 15:15
       “Say goodbye to Taiwan,” wrote political scientist John Mearsheimer in a widely read article in the March-April 2014 issue of The National Interest.1 Threatened by China's rising economic might and abandoned by a weakening United States, one of Asia's most vibrant democracies was facing, in his “realist” analysis, an almost inevitable annexation via economic if not military force. “Time,” he wrote, “is running out for the little island coveted by its gigantic, growing neighbor.” But only days after publication, on March 18, activists and armchair analysts alike said hello to a new reality.        That evening, the…

Reflections on Identity and Regional Security

Written by Kirsten Asdal 艾永勤 Friday, 05 September 2014 10:56
Kirsten Asdal graduated from the US Naval Academy in May 2013 with a B.S. in Chinese. She will complete a master's degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford University in 2015, then report to her first ship, the USS MICHAEL MURPHY (DDG112), to serve as a division officer.         My first four months living in Taiwan were very fruitful, and I am grateful for the new perspectives I developed through my experiences and studies. I have been taking a masters class on cross-strait relations, as well as auditing a Ph.D. class on Asia-Pacific security. Meanwhile, at Chengchi University’s MacArthur…

Seeing the Coral for the Reef

Written by Nathaniel Maynard 馬耐德 Saturday, 28 February 2015 12:06
       According to research by the Kenting National Park (KNP), more than 80% of Taiwanese people will visit the park at some point in their life, and of those, 70% will go to one of the park’s coral areas. Over 400,000 international and domestic tourists visit the area each month. These tourists bring critical revenue to the Hengchun Peninsula supporting livelihoods and infrastructure. At the same time, rising tourism increases overfishing, water pollution, and coastal development, all of which damage marine biodiversity. Humans need both economic development and natural integrity, but how do we balance these sometimes-competing goals?…

Identities, Past and the Present

Written by Nancy Chunjuan Wei 衛純娟 Tuesday, 28 July 2015 21:28
     For a long time, I have wanted to complete a manuscript contributing to understanding the complicated political and economic relationships between the Republic of China (ROC, or Taiwan), the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China), and the United States of America (USA). Part of the motivation is personal. While my parents and grandparents were born citizens of the ROC, currently headquartered in Taiwan, my daughter and I were born PRC citizens, and now we are both naturalized citizens of the United States. The other, larger part of my motivation comes from my academic training in both American…