INSTITUTIONAL PROFILE: North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA)
NATSA, a US-based non-profit organisation founded in 1994, is the oldest academic association focusing on Taiwan Studies in North America. The main mission of NATSA is to facilitate and promote scholarly exchanges related to Taiwan, and enhance productivity in and across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. We believe that Taiwan is not just an area to be studied, but also a way to expand the current understanding of human societies and enable a more complex reflection on changing global conditions. In particular, as an in-between region that receives and channels cultural and economic influences from China, Japan, the United States, and other East and Southeast Asian countries, studies on Taiwan can broaden the perspectives of researchers in these countries by offering new ways to look at how they perceive and interact with one another. Over the past two decades, NATSA has hosted twenty-one consecutive inter-disciplinary conferences at a number of prominent universities in the United States, attended by numerous academics and graduate students. We are very proud to have built a welcoming and vibrant network that has lasted for over twenty years and which is still growing and evolving today.
In 2016, NATSA celebrated its 22nd anniversary, with events based in Canada for the first time. Our 2016 annual conference was held at the University of Toronto on 10–11 June. Following the theme “Taiwan Studies in Trans* Perspectives”, our panels facilitated dialogues on a wide range of topics, such as transitional justice, electoral politics, theatre, trans-disciplinary education, seafood trade, Taiwanese American, and Transnational LGBTQI movements. Our featured roundtable was entitled “Quebec/Taiwan: Cultural Strategies of Recognition and Inclusion”, aiming to situate Taiwan in comparative perspective that addresses questions pertinent to not only Taiwan but also Canada, and more generally all nations in pursuit of recognition. We had approximately 120 participants and scholars to attend the two-day conference in June 2016. Please visit our website for more information: http://www.na-tsa.org/new/
To facilitate the development of NATSA, we have launched a three-year professionalization programme. By establishing a life-long membership programme, reallocating resources, and developing new projects, we aim to foster collaboration between North-America-based scholars and their cohorts from around the world. Our new executive structure is pushing to enhance our efficiency and provide new services to our members. One such project is our Seed Fund (details TBA) that sponsors members to promote Taiwan Studies in innovative ways. To ensure our progress is transparent and up-to-date, we issued our first newsletter in February 2016. Our listserv will be available soon.
We wholeheartedly invite you to join NATSA as a life-long member. As a member, you will be able to enjoy our new services, including a member list (which you can use to contact each other for panel organisation or creating other collaborative projects), our regularly updated Taiwan Studies bibliography, and the Seed Fund. We also expect more Europe-based Taiwan Studies scholars to regularly participate in our annual meetings and other projects, as some enthusiastic scholars have already done!
Ching-Fang Hsu is PhD student, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto. She is also the president of NATSA for the 2015–16 term. The current president of NATSA is Chi-ting Peng from UC Santa Barbara.