EditorialAbout Us

Challenges and Opportunities

Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley

As reported to the General Meeting at the EATS Annual Conference in Prague in Spring 2016, we anticipate that the newly elected EATS Board 2016–2018 will play a critical role in the Association’s history. This Board will take on particularly difficult challenges when EATS is facing a major transformative period. The transformation is necessary because EATS is growing. The challenges are unavoidable because a “virtual office” infrastructure needs to be (re)built which is sustainable and can facilitate the likely expansion of EATS membership in the years to come, especially following the launch of the International Journal of Taiwan Studies in 2018.

Members of the EATS Board have been remarkable in accomplishing almost all the work to their best ability with limited resources and within a tight schedule, including the organisation of an 18-panel conference programme (one of the most ambitious to date) in 2017, and the creation from scratch of a brand new online registration system (for which we must thank our tireless web mangers, Herman and Tom). Of course, there is always room for improvement. However, I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect and appreciation to all my colleagues on the EATS Board for their sterling work and selfless devotion. Thanks to this group of people who are able to work effectively and efficiently across different geographies, time zones and disciplines for a common goal, daunting challenges are turned to exciting opportunities for Taiwan Studies, with our community becoming bigger, stronger, and increasingly connected across the globe.

In this issue of EATS News, we are pleased to be able to introduce readers to several prominent institutions which are important to the development of Taiwan Studies: Lim Pen-Yuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, Institute of Taiwan History of Academia Sinica, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and North American Taiwan Studies Association. We look forward to closer collaboration with them and other institutions in the field.

Meanwhile we are extremely sad to lose a talented young member of the EATS community. Benjamin Hlavaty (1978–2016) became a Research Assistant for EATS in 2014 and completed in the Summer of 2016 a survey of published papers presented at the EATS Annual Conferences between 2004 and 2016. His sudden departure shocked and saddened all of us, but we shall always remember his smile, his love for life and music, and his contribution to our organisation. We offer our sincere condolences to Ben’s family, especially his son.

EATS has always been mindful of nurturing new generations of researchers and in 2016, five EATS Library Grants were awarded to facilitate different research projects. We are proud to share four of the reports here (Ambrus Gábor Szentesi’s report was already published in the July 2016 issue of EATS News).

Two more contributions which deserve our attention are Lara Momesso’s review of the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan (ed. Gunter Shubert, 2016), and Adina Zemanek’s note on being a visiting scholar at the Taipei Office of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC). Their reflections, together with all the information published in the Notice Board, serve once more as evidence of how vibrant and diverse Taiwan Studies are today in terms of subject matter and institutions involved.

At the beginning of a new year, we hope EATS will continue enjoying your support as a member. If you have any news that you wish to announce, please write to the editor of EATS News at ming-yeh.rawnsley@eats-taiwan.eu. We look forward to hearing from you. We also look forward to welcoming many old and new friends to the EATS Annual Conference in Venice.

Dr Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley is the editor of EATS News. She is also Research Associate, Centre of Taiwan Studies, SOAS, University of London.