The International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS), cosponsored by Academia Sinica and the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS), is a principal outlet for the dissemination of cutting-edge research on Taiwan. Its editorial office is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is hosted by the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. The journal has also received a publication grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange to assist its publicity activities during the launch year in 2018.

IJTS is the first internationally collaborative, multidisciplinary, and peer-reviewed academic research journal in English dedicated for scholars and students from around the world who have an active and passionate interest in Taiwan and Taiwan-related subjects. The theme of the inaugural edition is “The State of the Field of Taiwan Studies”. It is published in March 2018 and covers a wide a range of topics, including indigenous studies and anthropology, Taiwanese popular religion, ethnic relations, feminist discourses, social movements, Taiwan’s democracy and democratisation, international relations, and many more. The 2nd issue of IJTS will be printed in September 2018.

If you want to become an EATS member and subscribe to the IJTS, please go to EATS website and follow instructions. If you don’t want to become an EATS member, but want to subscribe to the IJTS, please go to the publisher’s webpage and make your order directly with Brill.

International Journal of Taiwan Studies book coverGovernment and Politics in Taiwan book cover

Fell, Dafydd (2018)

Government and Politics in Taiwan (2018 Second Edition).

London: Routledge (9781138187399)

Written by an experienced teacher and scholar, this new and revised second edition of Government and Politics in Taiwan introduces students to the big questions concerning change and continuity in Taiwanese politics and governance. Taking a critical approach, Dafydd Fell provides students with the essential background to the history and development of the political system, as well as an explanation of the key structures, processes and institutions that have shaped Taiwan over the last few decades.

Using key features such as suggestions for further reading and end-of-chapter study questions, this textbook covers:

  • The transition to democracy and party politics;
  • Cross-Strait relations and foreign policy;
  • Electoral politics and voting;
  • Social movements;
  • National identity;
  • Gender politics.

Having been fully updated to take to stock of the 2012 and 2016 General Elections, the Sunflower Movement and new developments in cross-Strait relations, this is an essential text for any course on Taiwanese politics, Chinese politics and East Asian politics.

Chiu, Kuei-fen; Rawnsley, Ming-yeh & Rawnsley, Gary (Eds.) (July 2017)

Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change.

London: Routledge. (9781138668164)

The book examines recent developments in Taiwan cinema, with particular focus on a leading contemporary Taiwan filmmaker, Wei Te-sheng, who is responsible for such Asian blockbusters as Cape No.7, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale and Kano. The book discusses key issues, including: why (until about 2008) Taiwan cinema underwent a decline, and how cinema is portraying current social changes in Taiwan, including changing youth culture and how it represents indigenous people in the historical narrative of Taiwan. The book also explores the reasons why current Taiwan cinema is receiving a much less enthusiastic response globally compared to its reception in previous decades.

For further details about this book, please follow this link.

Taiwan Cinema International Reception and Social Change book coverSpecial Issue China Perspective, 2017 cover

Corcuff, Stéphan, (2017)

Processual Change in Taiwan, Actors, Values and Change

Special Issue China Perspective, 2017: 2

Projects currently being turned into laws by legislature and into policies by the executive branch of government lead to important changes in Taiwan. Some had been widely discussed for years within the civil society, the upsurge of which further destabilised the KMT and helped bring the opposition to power in 2016. Yet, after the inauguration of the new government and a new legislature endorsing some of these reforms, government projects still met with resistance, and new protests, which illustrate the vitality of Taiwanese civil society, even though these recent protests appear sectional rather than pulling in all of society, as the Sunflower Movement did in March-April 2014.

This special issue by China Perspectives, published during the summer of 2017, studies the processes by which different actors promote change to enhance the conformity of society to their values – understood here are what actors deem worthy of fighting for, for themselves and most importantly for others. « Processual Change in Taiwan » discusses five case studies of the role played by actors, often new ones, in processes of change as applied to Taiwan’s polity and society: the use of new information technologies during the Sunflower movement (Stéphane Corcuff); the definition of the contested nation in tourist souvenirs by private operators addressing tourists’ needs (Adina Zemanek); how netizens try to prevent policies by local governments regarding the invention of a cultural tradition with which they did not identify (Fiorella Bourgeois); the question of transitional justice and how the authoritarian past is discussed today in Taiwan by a variety of actors such as victims, associations, and the state (Vladimir Stolojan); and how a powerful business magnate and civil society militants confronted each other over the question of media independence in a context of China’s growing influence over Taiwan under the Presidency of Ma (Lin Lihyun & Lee Chun-Yi). Actors establish agendas for themselves and for society along the lines of changes they are determined to fight for. It is complex to analyse changes when we focus on the process and not on the results. In each case study above, whether a businessman, civic tech groups, private publishing companies, the state, elected officials, China, victims of political persecution, or local residents in Taiwan, competing actors, old and new, as well as the values they defend and the channel of influence they use, are analysed to show how change is envisioned, programmed, and engineered.

The weakness of civil society is a consequence and a sign of dictatorship, while totalitarian political structures try to eradicate it in their attempt to establish a direct link between the Party and every citizen and to avoid the emergence of intermediary bodies they do not control. Conversely, it is difficult to imagine a democratisation process without the incremental constitution of a civil society. Whether analyzing Chinese or Taiwanese social or political transformation, focusing on actors and their values can be a way of revealing the multiplicity of stakeholders to be identified and studied in order to understand more comprehensively the processes of elaboration or reinforcement of such a civil society.

Hsieh, Shih-chung (2017).

The Era of Post-Stigmatised Identity: Taiwan Indigenous Peoples betwixt Happiness and Disheartenment on the Front and Back Stages of Daily Lives in the Past Three Decades

(謝世忠, 後認同的污名的喜淚時代)


In 1987, I published a book entitled Stigmatized Identity: Ethnic Change of the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples which caused a great sensation among the indigenous activists at the time. Many of them believed that leaders of the indigenous rights movement had gained valuable lessons from the book and were influenced by reading it to make resistant action. Time flies. We are now approaching three decades since the book was published. Many people remain concerned about changing status of the indigenes. A common question is: Is their identity still stigmatized? Many of my colleagues and students are anxious to know if today I would still be motivated to write a book on stigmatization of the indigenes since late 20th century till this moment. In fact, I have written such a new book which I hope will help readers to deeply grasp the living situation among the Taiwan indigenous peoples.

This new book is divided into three parts: chronological records of indigenous resistant movements, seven main phases of indigenous social movements, as the “front stage” of the people’s organized action in contemporary Taiwan, and daily lives among the peoples as the “back stage” situation. In my view, the indigenous movement has become a long term enterprise for the indigenous people to dialogue with mainstream society and the Han-Taiwanese state. The social movement phases are formulated as: political, artcultural, literary creations, academic work, tribal environment re-gained, ethnonyms debate and emigrants urbanized. The seven phases of social movements appeared since the 1990s and people from various indigenous groups participated; without question these phases are typically dramatized “public performances” of the peoples who directly face the eyes of all Taiwanese. That is what I mean by the “front stage.”

However, the success of indigenous social movements in Taiwan absolutely does not reflect a totality of contemporary indigenous people’s activities. I spend half of the book discussing the general situation of indigenous people’s daily lives: this is what I mean by the “back stage.” This covers very broad issues including political orientation, elite behavior, politics of re-naming, singers’ dilemma, brotherhood in and out of the country, original home versus second home, sports talent, extra benefits for educational opportunities, alcoholism, media limitation, cultural and religious struggles, accident casualty, aesthetics of tribal houses, lack of resources , escaping loneliness, manipulation of cultural villages and museums, customary laws facing national legal system, shortage of professionals child marriage, pleasant country scenes and littering behavior, wild life ecology, and modernized ancient culture. Certainly I understand it is not a full picture of the so-called indigenous back stage world. But I believe that a meaningful approach for getting to know the contemporary situation of Taiwan indigenes has been proposed well through systematic description of the third part of this book.

According to viewpoints of several indigenous peoples in the world such as Ainu of Hokkaido, Japan and hill tribes of northern Thailand, Taiwan indigenes are respectable because they are not merely winners in the history of struggle with the Han-Taiwanese state but continue to gain much more rights from mainstream society in recent years. It is true that many people might be touched when quickly viewing the general development of social movements among the Taiwan indigenes. At least seven different specialized phases of movement make people feel that the indigenes in this country are always enthusiastic and have promise. They have enjoyed restoration of all kinds of lost rights which most of the indigenous peoples in Asia are still anxious to have but have not achieved.

In the final part of the book, I discuss the authentic situation among the indigenous peoples in today’s Taiwan I contend that the back stage of indigenous everyday life is critical while the seven victorious phases of social movements are merely hustle and bustle. In sum, happy emotions and uncontrolled tears might simultaneously occur. Using the front stage and the back stage concepts together are suggestive strategies for people to understand indigenous lives in Taiwan in the present. Whether the concept of stigmatized identity which I discussed thirty years ago still existed I actually could not give a positive answer. Perhaps the best way is for the indigenous peoples themselves to clearly reply to such a question, which could provide a suitable orientation for looking at the situation of contemporary indigenous people in Taiwan.

 The Era of Post-Stigmatised Identity book coverSpecial issue Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 26 cover

Momesso, Lara and Isabelle Cheng (2017).

Migrants, families and the state: Be/coming Taiwanese in a transnational world.

Special issue Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 26 (4).

  • Tseng, Yu-chin: Should I stay or should I go? Migration trajectories of Chinese-Taiwanese couples in third countries, pp. 413-435
  • Cheng, Isabelle: Reality or pretense? Renouncing nationality and organised hypocrisy of the sovereignty of Taiwan, pp. 436-458
  • Momesso, Lara and Chun-yi Lee: Transnational mobility, strong states and contested sovereignty: learning from the China-Taiwan context, pp. 459-479.

Result of a collaboration between a group of specialists on migration in Taiwan, this special issue aims to contribute to most recent debates in migration scholarship arguing that transnational migrant experiences have increasingly disentangled from the material and ideological limits and constrictions traditionally imposed by nation-states actors. With the aim to offer a more sophisticated picture of contemporary migrations, and drawing from different migration experiences to and from Taiwan, the articles in this special section discuss the contradictions that may emerge when individual experiences intersect with local and regional dynamics shaped by Taiwan’s lack of recognition as a sovereign state.

With its growing significance as an origin, transit and destination country of transnational movements, Taiwan is an illustrative case whereby critical questions of integration, exclusion, belonging, and the resistance of migrants can be examined. Yet, the exceptional case of Taiwan, brings to the fore its complexity as an origin and destination of migrations that are otherwise often limited by its national context. This junction, between commonality and exceptionality, provides the point of departure for this thematic issue.

The set of articles included in this special section deal with different empirical cases to discuss the impact of Taiwan’s status on the everyday lives of migrants: cross-Strait couples in third countries (Yu-chin Tseng), marriage migrants’ naturalisation and household registration process in the context of Taiwan’s contested sovereignty (Isabelle Cheng), Taiwanese investors living in China and Chinese marriage migrants living in Taiwan (Lara Momesso and Chun-yi Lee).

The analyses suggest that contemporary migrants, while disengaging from the authority and control of the state as a consequence of their transnational movements and practices, may also end up being maneuvered and governed by state actors, and, eventually, supporting the nationalist ideologies of the state. One assumption shared by these articles is that under conditions of globalization and high levels of transnational mobility, the authority of the nation-state over migrant communities is challenged by its negotiation with a multiplicity of actors at various levels – international, regional and local – and its engagement with migrant communities. Finally, these articles suggest that the legal status and rights of migrants is shaped by the intersection between migrants’ geographical, social and political positionalities and Taiwan’s status in the international community.