Dr Sophie McIntyre, ‘author, Imagining Taiwan: The Role of Art in Taiwan’s Quest for Identity‘?Queensland University of Technology, Australia

The Stories We Tell: the role of art in the narration and (re)imagining of identity in Taiwan

Telling stories, whether through words or images, enables us to relate to one another, define ourselves, build a sense of community, and make sense of the world around us. Mediating between fact and fiction, narrative is an interpretative and inter-relational form of story-telling. Narratives have the potential to influence and challenge dominant perceptions, inspire and shift national debates, and empower marginalised communities. This presentation explores the role of narrative in Taiwan contemporary art, and the ways in which artists in Taiwan have developed their own unique visual narratives to critique, re-write and re-imagine Taiwan’s identity. Focusing on the post-martial law period, and on local and indigenous artists and exhibition case studies, the presentation examines the diverse and often subversive ways in which Taiwan’s artists and museums have engaged with, and questioned and transformed official narratives about Taiwan’s identity, and its past, present, and future. It also highlights the significant, though often overlooked, contribution artists and museums have made towards the (re)construction and (re)presentation of Taiwan’s identity through the production and dissemination of visual identity narratives, nationally as well as globally.

Professor. Taeku Lee, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, US

Democracy and Disequilibrium? Towards a New Praxis of Political Communication and Public Opinion Research in the Era of Populism and Fake News

The global rise of populism and, with it, widespread public distrust of institutions like the mainstream media has set many societies off the equilibrium path from stable representative democracies to an uncertain political future, possibly democratic and possibly not. This rising tide of anti-elite sentiments and distrust of public institutions is not limited to Donald Trump’s America, Boris Johnson’s United Kingdom, and Narendra Modi’s India. Populist sentiments are also sweeping through Northeast Asia and transforming politics in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. This emergent phenomenon raises obvious and important challenges to democratic governance. In this talk, I also hope to make the case that it raises less obvious, but equally important challenges to how we study politics – mass communications, political behavior, public opinion – when the politics are in disequilibrium. Specifically, I will argue that social science research conditioned on swelling levels of anti-elite sentiment and distrust in institutions that adjudicate facticity needs to be more adaptive, imaginative, inductive at all levels – theoretically, epistemologically, and in the data and methods we use.

Bio Professor. Taeku Lee

Taeku Lee is George Johnson Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Lee is also currently Associate Dean at Berkeley’s School of Law. His interests are in racial and ethnic politics; immigrant political incorporation; public opinion and survey research; identity and inequality; deliberative and participatory democracy. He is author of Mobilizing Public Opinion (2002); Transforming Politics, Transforming America (2006), Why Americans Don’t Join the Party (2011), Accountability through Public Opinion (2011), Asian American Political Participation (2011), and the Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics in the United States (2015). Lee’s research interests related to East Asian politics include projects on the invisible markers of discrimination in East Asia and the role of polling in democratization in Korea and Taiwan.

Lee is also co-Principal Investigator of the National Asian American Survey, Managing Director of Asian American Decisions, and is serving his second term on the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Census Bureau. He has previously served as member of the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Studies (twice), member of the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey, Treasurer and the Executive Council member for the American Political Science Association. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Lee was previously Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. Lee has visited as Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at Yale, Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Lee was born in South Korea, grew up in rural Malaysia, Manhattan, and suburban Michigan, and is a proud graduate of K-12 public schools, the University of Michigan (A.B.), Harvard University (M.P.P.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.).