2014 Young Scholar AwardsAbout Us

Ek-hong Ljavakaw Sia

Ek-hong Ljavakaw Sia

Receiving the Young Scholar Award (YSA) was an honour and also one of great encouragement. I am grateful to the reviewers of YSA. The award, as a token of support and appreciation of my ongoing work, from an international academic community prompts me to continue my march towards academic excellence. It was my first time to attend the EATS’s annual conference and I was amazed to see so many enthusiastic senior and young fellows of various nationalities who have devoted themselves to studying Taiwan. More impressive, is that their grasp of Taiwan is quite deep and extensive. As a newcomer, who originated from Taiwan, I really enjoyed participating in this Europe-based academic community and appreciate all the efforts made by EATS in their arrangements of such a meaningful academic event over the past 10 years.

My paper presented at the conference was titled: “When Weak Communities Meet Strong NGOs: Collaborative Governances in the Post-disaster Reconstruction”. This article illustrates the different triangular relationships between the state, four NGOs, and the disaster-affected aboriginal communities – in other words, the different governance modes – which in turn, produced three different outcomes for the communities involved in the ongoing reconstruction efforts. Multiple research methods were adopted in this study, including fieldwork, on-the-spot inspections of damaged areas, intensive interviews, participatory observation in meetings, and secondary source analysis. My argument can be summarized as follows: Empowerment effects occurred in the governance mode involving the Presbyterian Church which is ideologically familiar with, and organizationally overlapped with, the disaster-affected communities but ideologically unfamiliar with and organizationally autonomous from the state. Destruction effects occurred in the governance mode involving Tzu Chi which is ideologically unfamiliar with and organizationally autonomous from the disaster-affected communities but ideologically familiar with and organizationally autonomous from the state. Dependence effects occurred in the governance mode involving World Vision and Red Cross which are organizational autonomous from and keep ideologically equidistant to both the state and the disaster-affected communities.

The fieldwork conducted in a variety of aboriginal tribes for this article not only contributes to broaden my horizons on the plentiful facets of the small island, but also enriches my personal life through the unusual event in which I was adopted as a son of a Paiwan chief.

I am going to revise the article and submit it to a top-tier journal of public administration and governance. This article will also function as an important footnote for my Ph.D. dissertation which deals with the postwar relations between two external organizations: The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) from 1865, and the Republic of China (ROC) from 1949. As a consequence this is a diachronic study on the not-so-smooth relations between an indigenized religious organization and a settling émigré political organization. By adopting an organizational approach, my dissertation will examine and explain how and why the PCT articulated civic Taiwanese nationalism while simultaneously resisting the incorporation of the ROC during the 1970s. Furthermore, it will explore the later revised and “upgraded” version of ideology, tentatively named, ‘ecological Taiwanese nationalism’, that confronts cross-strait political-business practices from 2008. It also explains how the PCT shifted its political participation from an approach of opposition politics to that of governance politics by devoting itself to post-Morakot reconstruction. My EATS paper, which analyzed the triangular relationships between the state, the church, and the disaster-affected aboriginal communities in post-disaster governance is a preliminary attempt to depict this new type of church-state relations which differs from the integrative model that exists in many European countries and as well as the PCT’s own oppositional approach from 1970s.


Julia Schulz (PhD candidate at Goettingen University)

Julia Schulz - photo by Peter Heller

Receiving the Young Scholar Award for my paper “English insertions in Taiwan Mandarin” has been a great and unexpected honour. When the call for papers for the 11th EATS conference was published, I had just graduated. So it was only after some kind encouragement that I decided to submit a paper based on data, I had collected in Taiwan for my Master’s thesis. As this conference has been my first opportunity to present my research, I would like to say that I am grateful for the very warm welcome, I received not only from the EATS board but also from fellow scholars, who made my debut on the academic floor such a great experience.

My paper deals with the contact between English and Mandarin in Taiwan. While language contact can manifest itself in many ways, insertions of English phrases or single words, embedded into Mandarin speech, are the most striking and common effects found in Taiwan Mandarin. My main purpose is to determine, where these insertions are to be located on a borrowing – codes-witching continuum, as both ends implicate different future developments of Taiwan Mandarin. I, therefore, adapted several criteria to distinguish between borrowings and code-switches in general and applied them to the specific contact situation in Taiwan. In order to do so, data has been collected through questionnaires, field observation and semi-structured interviews in Northern Taiwan in spring 2013. In a subsequent investigation, the frequency of use, integration into the tonal system, morphological integration and the semantic change, as well as speakers' attitudes have been analyzed. In addition, functions of English insertions have been examined and compared with findings of previous code-switching studies.

Already during my first visit to Taiwan the use of English insertions in Mandarin conversation aroused my curiosity and this interest has stayed with me ever since. Fieldwork in Taiwan has been a rewarding but also very demanding experience. In this respect, the YSA is also a huge encouragement for my future PhD research on a comparative perspective on English-Mandarin language contact in the Sinophone world.