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Transculturation in Taiwan

2023 UCLA-NTNU Taiwan Studies Initiative Conference

Transculturation in Taiwan

Image with permission of the artist: Eleng Luluan 安聖惠, “Wapacapacase”

2023 UCLA-NTNU Taiwan Studies Initiative Conference

Thursday, April 6, 2023 - Friday, April 7, 2023
(Pacific Time)
Royce Hall Room 314, UCLA

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Organized by Shu-mei Shih (Irving and Jean Stone Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies, UCLA), the Transculturation in Taiwan conference is presented as part of the UCLA-NTNU Taiwan Studies Initiative, a partnership of UCLA and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) that aims to create research synergies to promote cutting-edge research in Taiwan studies.

Except in times of danger, as in the present historical moment with the deepening geopolitical crisis across the Taiwan Strait, there has always been a crisis of knowledge about Taiwan, or at best a sanctioned ignorance about Taiwan in the U.S. and the West in general. Taiwan should be understood not just in terms of its geopolitical role, however, but also in its own sake as a nation where peoples and cultures have encountered, clashed, and creolized with each other over centuries. While Han settler colonialism has been ongoing for centuries and several other exogenous colonizers have come and gone, we have yet to thoroughly map their cultural implications—the processes and consequences of transculturation—on the ground, even as these cultural implications also hold important geopolitical meanings. Hence, there is a growing imperative to understand transculturation in Taiwan to not only contest the bullish demand for possessive and compulsory Chineseness by China, but also the static conception and practices of multiculturalism in Taiwan that serves to maintain Han settler colonial structures. From the perspectives of transculturation, decolonization in Taiwan may then ultimately mean decolonization from the legacies and structures of Chineseness and Han-centrism for both the Han and non-Han populations alike. 

The conference panels will feature a range of topics, including:

  1. Han settler colonialism and its cultural consequences
  2. Indigeneity in Han-centric multiculturalism 
  3. Exogenous colonialism-the Dutch and the Japanese, for instance-and their cultural consequences
  4. Cultural Entanglements between China and Taiwan and their implications
  5. The role of Americanism-the primacy of American culture since the first Cold War
  6. English as a medium of cultural mediation in academia, such as English studies, or in popular culture
  7. The politics, processes, and consequences of creolization
  8. The question of epistemological colonization or colonization of knowledge
  9. Southeast Asian migrant cultures and the politics of race, class, and gender

Download the complete conference program

Day 1, Thursday, April 6 (Royce Hall 314) 

1:00-1:30 pm: Opening Remarks 

Cindy Fan (Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement, UCLA)
David Schaberg (Professor, Department of Asian Languages & Cultures and Former Dean of Humanities, UCLA)
Shu-mei Shih (Professor and Conference Organizer, UCLA)

1:30-3:00 pm: Panel 1: Imperial Archipelagos

Moderator: Shu-mei Shih (UCLA)
Iping Liang (National Taiwan Normal University)
Island Encounters: Mapping Indigenous Taiwan in the Context of "Imperial Archipelagos"
Erin Y. Huang (Princeton University)
Islanding: An Archipelagic Approach to Zones Across Militarized (South) Seas
Ian Rowen (National Taiwan Normal University)
One China, Many Taiwans: The Geopolitics of Cross-Strait Tourism

3:00-3:30 pm: Coffee Break

3:30-5:00 pm: Panel 2: Indigeneity and the Settler Colonial Present 

Moderator: Fang-mei Lin (National Taiwan Normal University)
Tzu-hui Celina Hung (Independent Scholar)
Strings Attached: Screening Austronesian Worlds in Archipelagic Taiwan
Nicolai Volland (Penn State University)
Islanding Taiwan 
Yu-Ting Huang (Wesleyan University)
Writing about Indigenous (Trans)Culture; or, the Technologies of Time Travel

5:00-6:00 pm: Opening Night Reception (Royce Hall Room 314)


Day 2, Friday, April 7 (Royce Hall 314) 

10:30 am-12:00 pm: Panel 3: Japanese Colonial Transculturation and Its (Dis)contents

Moderator: Hui-shu Lee (UCLA)
Laura Jo-han Wen (Randolph-Macon College)
Cinematizing Wars in Colonial Taiwan
Fang-mei Lin (National Taiwan Normal University)
Translation and Transformation: From Gothic Romance to Family Complex of Taiyupain
Jasmine Yu-Hsing Chen (Utah State University)
Transforming Swordsmen: (Re)Capturing Japan through Taiwanese Puppetry

12:00-1:30 pm: Lunch Break

1:30-3:00 pm: Panel 4: Transcultural and Transcolonial Translations

Moderator: Shu-mei Shih (UCLA)
Joan Chang (National Taiwan Normal University)
Writing from the Fringe: A Study of Paratexts in the Publication of literature by Southeast Asian Migrant Workers in Taiwan
Lily Wong (American University)
Transpacific Alliance: Coalitional World-Making Across Taiwan and Asian/America
Lucas Klein (Arizona State University)
En Face & the Face of the Other: On Intersubjectivity and Equivalence in Translating Contemporary Sinophone Poetry

3:00-3:30 pm: Coffee Break

3:30-5:00 pm: Panel 5: Young Scholar Showcase

Moderator: Wei-hsin Yu (UCLA)
Faye Qiyu Lu (Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA)
Articulation of Humanism Against Transculturation: A Decolonial Critique of New Confucian Philosophy in Cold War Taiwan
Hsin-hui Lin (Ph.D. Candidate, National Cheng-chi University)
Transculturation in Taiwanese Science Fiction: Imagining Non-Normative Futures
Raymond Kun-Xian Shen (Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA)
In the Trans- in Transmediation the Trans- in Transculturation? Video Ethnography, Street Photography, and
Settler Colonial Critique in Hu Tai-Li’s "Voices of Orchid Island"

5:00-5:30 pm: Concluding Reflections 

Min Zhou (UCLA)
Shu-mei Shih (UCLA)  

Sponsor(s): Asia Pacific Center