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Call For Papers - RE : Taiwan as Practice, Method, and Theory

May 25 - May 27, 2017 Stanford University

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Call For Papers - RE : Taiwan as Practice, Method, and Theory

May 25 — May 27, 2017 Stanford University

North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA) 2017 Annual Conference

Abstract submission due : December 31, 2016

Notification of acceptance : February 15, 2017

Travel grant application due : March 15, 2017

Notification of travel grant result : March 30, 2017

Early bird registration due : April 15, 2017

Regular registration due : May 1, 2017

Full paper due : May 1, 2017

Call For Paper Website :

Submission Rules :

The NATSA 2017 conference, titled “RE : Taiwan as Practice, Method, and Theory” endeavors to critically retrace the epistemological position and geopolitical contour of Taiwan studies by highlighting the multiply-intersected field in terms of practice, method, and theory. As seen in the header line of most email replies, the prefix “RE :”—regarding the matter of—can mean the recognition of the status quo, a response to a previous message, or simply a repeated speech-act to carry on a conversation. Evoking the image of a communication feedback loop between self and others, the prefix points to a series of fundamental questions confronted by Taiwan studies in North America today : Who are talking to whom regarding what ? Who or what are included in, or excluded from, our conversations and agenda-setting ? How do “we”—observers, researchers, or action takers with regard to both Taiwan and North America—articulate our own situated experiences and identify our own intersected positionality in relation to what we do ?

To capture a more self-reflexive position of thinking and doing Taiwan studies in and through North America, the conference invites papers that critically revisit and reimagine Taiwan as (I) a practical case for comparison, contrast, or as an exception ; (II) a methodological critique of knowledge production ; (III) a contact zone where diverse attempts of theorizing and agenda-setting clash or converge. The submissions can be about, but not limited to, the followings :

RE : Taiwan as Practice

Fifty years after Taiwan’s first sociologist proposed to see Taiwan as a “laboratory” where experiments on “Chinese” culture and society can be practiced (Chen, 1966), two lines of case-oriented thinking have characterized how we study the island thus far. On the one hand, Taiwan is a case upon which generalizable knowledge can be built, with everyday reality being turned into “cases” defined by numbers, charts, graphs, and narratives. On the other hand, the framing of a case is itself a practice deeply informed by the institutional infrastructures where the researcher is situated. Therefore, some research emphasizes on the subjective perception and embodied practices that can “make a case” for a potential deviation from norms, models, and systems. Between these two lines of thinking, we encourage participants to reflect upon Taiwan either as “a practical case” in pursuit of generalizable data, or a “case in practice” characterized by constant border-crossing and paradigm-making.

RE : Taiwan as Method

The postcolonial Taiwan has emerged as a de facto nation-state struggling to gain global visibility among hegemonic empires. Globalization and the rise of China have also exposed Taiwan to the division of labor in the neoliberal world-system. Against this backdrop, can Taiwan itself be seen as a critical method to debunk the epistemological underpinnings of area studies by investigating the shifting landscapes of sovereignty and governmentality, nation and identity, race and ethnicity, or gender and sexuality, all of which are integral to the making of the postcolonial/neoliberal state ? We invite submissions that can envision Taiwan not only as a comparative case study but a decolonial project to examine the processes and consequences of imperialism, colonialism, and neoliberal globalization.

RE : Taiwan as Theory

This conference recognizes the intersected genealogies of the theorizing attempts of humanities and social sciences done by Taiwan studies communities in Taiwan, North America, and other parts of the world. Shifting our focus from Taiwan as the passive object for theorization to an active agent that can negotiate and produce theories of its own, we encourage submissions that highlight the flashpoints of theoretical debates within a discipline or among disciplines in Taiwan studies. We especially welcome pieces that can contrast and compare the diverse trajectories of theorization projects proposed by different academic communities.

Capitalizing on the innovative culture and progressive atmosphere that Stanford University and San Francisco Bay Area are renown for, the NATSA 2017 conference endeavors to provide a platform for discussions, debates, and dialogues with a future projection of the direction Taiwan studies should take through a critical review of the fundamentals.


Spencer Chen, NATSA 2017 Co-Program Director, scchen0918 Lawrence Yang, NATSA 2017 Co-Program Director, knulpyang Sandy Tseng, NATSA Secretary, secretary

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