The 18th Annual Conference of the European Association of Taiwan Studies : Taiwan in Translation
Taiwan’s contemporary political situation is, without doubt, at a crossroads, both domestically and internationally. Recent political and public-health events, following the outbreak of Covid-19, have shown the importance of Taiwan not only in the Asian region, but worldwide. Nobody could have foreseen the devastating as well as the self-strengthening effect the outbreak of Covid-19 would have on Taiwan.
Since the beginning of the democratization process at the end of 1980s, members of Taiwanese society, including politicians, have been exploring their identity and questioning the approaches they should take in relation to Taiwan’s large neighbour. Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have moved from a period of peace, stability, and a growing trust between 2008 and 2016 to a period of instability, mistrust, and mounting tensions. After the Covid-19 outbreak, the PRC’s rhetoric towards Taiwan’s global position became increasingly hostile, including the continued refusal to allow Taiwan’s presence in the World Health Organization. In the meantime, Taiwan announced a series of policy measures to provide assistance to the international community in its fight against COVID-19, gaining immense public support at home and abroad.
Even before the pandemic, Taiwan’s political and societal situation had reached a symbolic crossroads. President Tsai Ing-wen, elected for her second term this January, turned her back on her predecessor’s foreign policy, choosing instead to prioritise global engagement. The ambivalent attitude of Taiwan’s general public toward the DPP government’s China stance has made the party’s attempts at domestic reform even more difficult.
The 18th EATS Annual Conference aims to cover not only the developments since the Covid-19 outbreak but also the events and changes that led to Taiwan’s current position. We invite contributions from all disciplines, pertaining to all periods, in order to analyse the multiple perspectives from which Taiwan’s past, present and future have been narrated. Taiwan is standing at a symbolic crossroads in many ways. This conference aims to provide a platform for studying this multifaceted phenomenon.