The Exchange and Flow of Taiwan’s Experience from the 19th Century to the 20th Century: Labor, Technology and Knowledge

(Please click here for abstracts included in this panel)

From the nineteenth century to twentieth century, globalization and imperialism strongly affected the island of Taiwan. Due to its defeat in the Second Opium War (1856–1860), beginning in 1860, the Qing court opened four treaty ports of Taiwan. Westerners came to Taiwan to manage the Customs, do business, conduct missionary work and investigate the island’s indigenes and natural resources. These developments also brought great changes to Taiwan’s politics, economy, and culture. In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan. During the period of Japanese colonial rule, the flow of people became more complicated under the impacts of globalization and Japanese imperial expansion. The Japanese administration also brought manpower, knowledge and technology to Taiwan or in some cases transferred them to other regions.

This panel focuses on the various groups of people who came to Taiwan after the nineteenth century, under the influence of globalization and imperialism. It asks how they brought various experiences and resources, how they facilitated cross-border cultural contacts and exchange, and how they sometimes settled in Taiwan; and it investigates how they contributed to Taiwan’s development into a modern society and economy. On the other hand, for other people, Taiwan was just a sojourn; they would continue to flow across borders and bring their experiences in Taiwan on their next journey or back to their hometowns, which affected the development of those regions.

This panel brings together scholars from different methodological backgrounds to provide a comparative perspective on this important issue. It compares and explores the labor, technology, and knowledge of Taiwan from the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century as seen from the perspectives of different people—officials, customs officers, businessmen, intellectual elites, laborers, etc.—who went to Taiwan and illustrates their roles and the influence of these cross-border experiences of exchange or flow.


LIN Yu-ju, Professor, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan,

Session Members and Paper Titles:

1. TSAI Weipin, Senior Lecturer in Modern Chinese History, Royal Holloway, University of London,

Bystanders’ Views? Observations on Local Politics, the Sino-French War and the First Sino-Japanese War by Maritime Customs Service Commissioners Stationed in Taiwan

2. LIN Yu-ju, Research Fellow, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica; Professor of the Department of National Taipei University, Taiwan,

The Construction and Disintegration of Cross-Straits Dual Families from the Late Qing Dynasty to the Early Days of Japanese Rule: The Case of Xu Zangchun, a Guild Merchant in Tainan

3. HSIEH Chun-Tse, Assistant Professor, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology,

Dependence and Flow: Dialect Networks of Taiwanese Tea Merchants in Siam (1885–1915)

4. CHEN Yun-Ru, Associate Professor, College of Law, National Taiwan University,

When Legal Ideas Traveled: Lin Cheng-Lu’s Anti-colonial Discourses in 1920s’ Taiwan and Beyond

5. CHEN Wei-chi, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan,

No Island Is an Island: Global Imagination and the Taiwanese Anti-colonial Movement in the 1920s

6. LIN Wen-kai, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan,

From Taiwan to Manchuria: The Establishment and Transfer of Imperial Knowledge under Japanese Colonial Rule

7. YAO Shohei, Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; University of Tokyo,

The Global History of the Relocation of the Pineapple Industry in the 1930s: Focusing on Taiwanese Settlers in Yaeyama District, Okinawa

8. CHU Chis-Li & HUNG Kuang-Chi, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taiwan,

Managing Nature at the Right Scale: American Ecology and Taiwanese Forestry, 1920–50

Proposed Discussants

HUANG Fu-san, Research Fellow, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica

WU Tsong-Min, Emeritus Professor, Department of Economic, National Taiwan University, Taiwan,