Saturday, November 11, 2006

Call for Panelists: Taiwan Studies Conference

Hot off H-Asia. Looks very interesting


November 10, 2006

Seeking co-panelists for Taiwan Studies Conference, Madison, June 07
From: "McCormick, Brett J"

Dear Colleagues,

I am seeking co-panelists for the 13th Annual North American Taiwan Studies Conference to be held in Madison, Wisconsin, on June 8-10, 2007.

The title and theme for this year's conference is:

2007 Main Theme
Taiwan in the Nexus of 'Empires'

Theme Statement:
Since the birth of modern social sciences, nations or nation-states as implicit units or boundaries of analysis have dominated social inquiry. The use of such frameworks, however, often implies unexamined assumptions, such as that these societies have homogeneous and synchronic societal landscapes and autarkies. The theme "Taiwan
in the Nexus of 'Empires'" challenges scholars from all disciplines to look at Taiwan from a different perspective. Participants are invited to reflect on: a) how the presence of competing empires on the islands, both past and present, have shaped Taiwan's social, political, economic, and cultural landscapes, and b) how these imperial influences, with their multiple forms and layers of governance and hegemony, have resulted in particular responses by the Taiwanese people, such as resistance, acceptance, transformation, and misplacement in everyday life or academic praxis. The term "empire" as used in this Call for Papers is broadly understood t!
o possess the potential to include without limitations sovereign states, private and public entities, supra-national organizations, and ideology. Please note that methodological reflections or critiques of this empire approach as applied to Taiwan Studies are equally welcome.

My recent work on East Asian diplomatic history has focused on China-Japan relations. The chapter I'd like to present is not technically a Taiwan centered essay, but does fit the main conference theme precisely. My paper is titled "Taiwan as the Nexus of China-Japan Relations." I think it could be a profitable central point of historical context around which to base two or three historically related Taiwan-centered papers. The coincidence of my paper title and the conference title was too much for me to not at least try to contribute to the proceedings.

Diplomatic and political issues concerning Taiwan have consistently been at the center of China-Japan relations. Starting in 1871, when China and Japan began the contentious process of re-defining the status of their peripheral territories, and in turn how those relations would shape direct China-Japan relations, Taiwan came to
center stage. The majority of every subsequent major point of transition in the development of China-Japan relations centered in one way or another on Taiwan or Taiwan related issues.

This paper identifies three consistent dynamics according to which we can better understand the role Taiwan issues have played as the nexus of modern China-Japan relations (and of China-U.S. and Japan-U.S. relations as well): 1) At each moment of fundamental change in the regional inter-state order, Taiwan has been a central point of concern or contention as neighboring empires transitioned into their new relationships; 2) Matters of domestic politics in China and Japan (and the U.S.) had disproportionate impact on how Taiwan issues unfolded, and subsequently how China-Japan relations evolved accordingly; 3) The congruity (or incongruity) of domestic political concerns with international political concerns frequently dictated the stability (or instability) of evolving China-Japan relations.

By analyzing the motivations of the competing empires that have shaped and influenced Taiwan's historical experiences this paper can serve as a starting point for a variety of possible panels dealing with Taiwanese responses to Chinese or Japanese influences. Please feel free to contact me directly at "bmccormick[at]" to discuss the possibilities.

Thank you.

Brett McCormick
Assistant Professor
Department of History and Political Science
Otterbein College
Westerville, OH 43081 (USA)

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