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Advancements in Taiwan Studies at UW-Madison

Academic Year 2010-2011

The 2010-2011 academic year brought many exciting new developments to the CEAS Taiwan Studies Initiative. The biggest news came when Taiwan’s Ministry of Education via Taipei Economic Cultural Office (hereafter TECO) in Chicago pledged funding to CEAS for the next four years to begin building the program. Specifically, this amounts to over $70,000 to be used for three purposes: course development, library collection building, and for supporting visiting scholars from Taiwan. Last year Professors Thomas Popkewitz (School of Education) and Richard Miller (CEAS) took advantage of this course development support. Professor Popkewitz is creating a course on education with Taiwan as a case study, and Professor Miller is putting together a course on global popular culture, also with a Taiwan component. These courses will be added to our campus’s existing Taiwan-related courses and will be part of a Taiwan Studies curriculum. Another part of this funding is matched by CEAS and is given to continue to build the Memorial Library’s East Asian Collection with resources from Taiwan, and the last part of this funding (also matched by CEAS funds) is to bring major scholars from our Taiwanese partner universities (see below) to have short residencies here on campus.

The second huge success for our Taiwan Studies Initiative was announced at a press conference as then UW Chancellor Biddy Martin was visiting Taipei in November 2010. A treasure trove of 30 classic and new Taiwan films were to be donated to the UW-Madison. These films were to be reprinted in 35mm by their respective film studios, newly subtitled, and shipped to the U.S. for short tours before they arrived home in UW-Madison’s Center for Film and Theatre Research collection, where they will join our already respectable collection of Taiwanese 16mm films, donated in 2003 by the Press Division of TECO in Chicago. This amazing donation was the fruit of several collaborations between our Center (especially our Director, Nicole Huang) and Professor Wenchi Lin, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at National Central University in Taiwan (who is the curator of the collection of donated films), Taiwan’s Government Information Office, UW-Madison’s Center for Film and Theater Research, UW Cinematheque, and the Wisconsin Film Festival.

film donation to CEAS and UW-Madison

UW Chancellor Biddy Martin (center) in gifting ceremony at a press conference in Taipei, Nov. 2010

The film gift will continue over a three year period, in groups of about five each semester. In Spring of 2011 CEAS used the first shipment of recent films from Taiwan as an opportunity to celebrate Taiwan’s films and culture with a series called Island of Light. Professor Wenchi Lin, who is a renowned scholar of Taiwanese film, was here to give a kick-off lecture about new Taiwan films and also to provide additional insight on the films production and cultural elements in each of the five films: Parking, God Man Dog (shown through the Wisconsin Film Festival), Cape No. 7, ORZ Boyz, and Yang Yang (shown at UW Cinematheque).

To accompany the series of films and film lectures, CEAS put together a 1-credit short course on Taiwan film led by Prof. Nicole Huang and CEAS Assistant Director David Dettmann.

The rest of the Island of Light series was devoted to lectures on Taiwan’s literature and music, and important scholars from UW-Madison’s partner universities National Taiwan University (NTU), and National Chengchi University (NCCU) came for short stays on campus where they offered guest lectures, workshops, and seminars. Professor Ming-ju Fan (NCCU) gave a guest lecture called “Two Golden Ages of Women’s Literature in Taiwan”, and also gave a special workshop on “Post-regional Fiction from Contemporary Taiwan”. Later Dean of International Affairs at NTU Professor Tung Shen delivered a lecture on the topic of popular songs between Shanghai and Taipei in the early to mid-20th century. Chia-ling Mei, Director of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at NTU, gave a presentation on language in poetry in Taiwan of the 1950s. Finally Wen-hsun Chang, also of NTU, gave a seminar on modern literature “From Eileen Chang to Murakami Haruki: Subjectivity in Contemporary Taiwanese Literature”.

Prof. Mingju Fan leading a seminar

Visiting Prof. Ming-ju Fan leading a seminar on post-regional literature in Taiwan

CEAS and the UW-Madison has been working to build closer relations to the above institutions, in terms of faculty visits like those in our Island of Light series, and also for study abroad. In September of 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by then UW Chancellor Biddy Martin, Dean of the Division of International Studies and Vice Provost for Globalization Gilles Bousquet, Huei-wen Hsu, then Director of the Cultural Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago, and Professor Nicole Huang, Director of CEAS, to strengthen our ties.

Academic Year 2011-2012

From September 10 th to the 18 th of 2011, the UW-Madison campus and the greater downtown Madison area witnessed a week full of Taiwan-related events. The series, entitled Taiwanese Arts Week, was a highly collaborative event, co-sponsored by CEAS, the Council for Cultural Affairs (Taiwan), Taipei Cultural Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission (Madison), the Overature Center and many other local UW supporters. The event series was directed and organized by Professor Jin-wen Yu of the UW Dance Department, and brought outstanding films, scholars, and artists to Madison, connecting some of Taiwan's many great arts traditions to the broader Madison community. Five films were shown in conjunction with the week-long celebration, Wen-Tang Cheng’s Somewhere Over the Dreamland, Jen Wan’s Super Citizen Ko, Chin-Yuan Ke’s Swing, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Dust in the Wind, and Edward Yang’s Terrorizers. Several of the films were also part of the "treasure trove" of classic and new Taiwanese films to be donated to UW-Madison's film archive (Academic Year 2010-2011 news above). As a part of Taiwanese Arts Week, CEAS hosted two guest lectures by Hsiao-hung Chang, a distinguished professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University. Professor Chang first spoke on contemporary women writers in Taiwan and their use of fashion to frame cityscapes, entitled “Fashioning the Cityscape,” and later in the week she gave a talk on the films of director Hou Hsiao-hsien (that talk was followed by a screening of Hou's 1986 film Dust in the Wind). Other events in the series included a lecture on interdisciplinary collaboration on Design Education by Yu-Chien Ann, Dean of the College of Design at Shih-Chien University, and a Taiwanese photo exhibit entitled Windows to Taiwan, that sampled a variety of notable Taiwanese photographers at the Memorial Union. There were also nightly performances of Tiers, Jin-Wen Yu Dance 2012 production, a showing of the environmentalist documentary Swing, along with a discussion and Q/A session with its filmmaker Chin-Yuan Ke. Finally, there was a performance at Madison's World Music Festival and separate workshop by the music group Chai Found Music Workshop, performed at Madison's World Music Festival, and a performance and workshop demonstration by the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company entitled A Sea of Puppets played at the Overature Center and at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

UW-Madison Memorial Library and East Asian Collection Librarian Dianna Xu purchased a remarkable newspaper database from Taiwan, entitled Taiwan Nichinichi Shinpo(1898-1944) 台灣日日新 報 . This newspaper, originally published from 1898 to 1944, was the official newspaper published by the Government-General of Taiwan. The database provides access to articles in Japanese and Chinese for UW-Madison students and faculty studying Taiwan during its years under Japanese occupation.

In Spring of 2012, CEAS hosted a guest lecture by Shu-mei Shih, Professor in the Departments of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies at UCLA. Professor Shih’s lecture was entitled “ Is Feminism Translatable? Taiwan, Spivak, A-Wu” and brought together faculty and students from UW-Madison’s East Asian Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies communities.

Professor Shih leads discussion on March 1 st, 2012

Also in Spring of 2012 CEAS co-sponsored another film series of 4 remarkable Taiwan films in collaboration with UW Cinematheque and the Wisconsin Film Festival. First was Tsai Ming Liang’s 2003 film Goodbye, Dragon Gate Inn, 2011 documentary Hand in Hand ( 牽阮的手 ), and finally two recent films in the Wisconsin Film Festival, Juliets and The Fourth Portrait. These last three films were followed by an audience discussion led by faculty and students of CEAS.

 

 


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