Month: January 2019

When Home and Economics Collide: The Opaque Market of Foreign Domestic Work in Taiwan

     Although I have lived most of my life in China, my Fulbright scholarship was the first time I had been to Taiwan. I had heard much about the beautiful island, and other members of my family had visited and told me stories, but I’d never had the chance to go. And as was to be expected, Taiwan was a beautiful place, with lush hills, beautiful beaches, hot springs, and tons of great hiking trails. Even if it rained constantly in Taipei, the people were very friendly and the city was clean, convenient and quite safe, and I was able to explore many parts of the island in my time there. However, for my Fulbright fellowship, I was not there to enjoy the beauty of Taiwan – quite the contrary, since my research tasked me with looking at the side of life here that no one usually talks about: the invisible labor of migrant workers (often called the “maid trade”), the underside of the Taiwanese economy necessitated by flaws in the nation and region’s infrastructure and social systems. Specifically, I was looking at the system and mechanisms that allowed the foreign migrant domestic worker market to flourish in Taiwan,

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Can Health Insurance Boost Fertility? The Fertility Effect of National Health Insurance in Taiwan

    When I arrived in Taipei two years ago, I knew relatively little about local Taiwanese culture or issues. With an undergraduate background in English and Chinese, most of my academic knowledge was limited to English literature and the politics of mainland China. I was drawn to Taiwan by its reputation for vibrant democracy, encouraged by professors and friends alike who raved about Taiwan’s open educational environment, remarkable food scene, and multicultural colonial history. Through the generosity of Fulbright and the Taiwanese government, over the past two years my understanding of this island has changed and grown, along with my research interests at National Chengchi University.      When I first came to NCCU, I intended to study global climate change policy. But after two years of living in Taipei and engaging with local community through volunteer opportunities at local shelters, language exchanges with classmates, and more, I’ve chosen a thesis topic closer to (my new) home: Taiwanese fertility. Low fertility is one of many demographic trends affecting Taiwan, and an issue that will only grow in social, economic, and political importance in the years to come. Since I moved to Taiwan in 2016, the political landscape of the

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Green Space in the Heart of a Bustling City

     During the 2016-2017 academic year, I am honored to have spent ten months at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Modern History while on a Fulbright grant for American graduate students (U.S. fellows).  My Taipei-based project, A Chameleonic Power: The Republic of China’s Encounter with the Decolonizing World, 1942-1971, has been a component of my dissertation research in the field of diplomatic history.  The overarching theme concerns the quiet advocacy of Nationalist Chinese statesmen at the height of the Cold War.  During that period, representatives of the ROC journeyed to distant capitals in West Asia, Africa, Europe, and beyond in order to normalize relations of states and sub-national groups with the government in Taiwan, an island about which much of the world knew little.  For this project, I have utilized the wealth of archival and library holdings open to foreign researchers in and around Taipei, and regret having to leave it all so soon.      When I arrived here last September, with only a piece of luggage plus a backpack, the first order of business was to quickly find a place to live.  Having lived abroad for significant periods of time before entering graduate school, I can attest that

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Chris Upton: Rights and Rule-Crafting Processes in Taiwan’s Special Indigenous Courts

J. Christopher Upton’s research focuses on Taiwan’s newly created special indigenous courts. Chris conducted an in-depth ethnographic project concentrating on one of these courts, studying how the court crafted rules about indigenous customary practices and how indigenous litigants used the legal system to advance their own understandings of indigenous culture.  Chris Upton is a lawyer and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. During his Fulbright research, Chris was hosted by Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan and the National Museum of Prehistory in Taitung, Taiwan.

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