Exhibition in Allen Library recognizes the new Taiwan Studies Program

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Exhibition in Allen Library recognizes the new Taiwan Studies Program

A new exhibit in the Allen Library titled “Beautiful Island: Taiwan's Journey to Democracy” shows important events that led to Taiwan’s democracy.

With the inauguration of the new Taiwan Studies Program in the Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) this year, the lobby of Allen Library is showcasing the exhibition, “Beautiful Island â€" Taiwan’s Journey to Democracy,” to the p ublic for the first time

The content of the Taiwanese exhibition was created originally in Taiwan by a group of historians and designers led by Chang Tieh-chih, a notable Taiwanese political critic and activist. He pitched this exhibition as a project, hoping that it will be hosted and rotated among different universities and institutions in the United States. The UW is the first and only school in the United States to host Chang Tieh-chih’s exhibition thus far.

Bill Lavely, director of JSIS’s East Asia Center and professor in the department of sociology, has a background education in Chinese at the Taiwan Normal University, which sparked his interest in forming the new Taiwan Studies Program at the UW.

“There was a lot of advanced planning for the Taiwanese exhibition â€" at least a year and a half,” Lavely said. “It wasn’t easy to rent out the library space for the exhibition.”

In terms of the new Taiwan Studies Program, Lavely dis closed that it was difficult to get funding. However, due to the effort of several faculty members in the Jackson School and a private anonymous donor who heard about this project, the previously established Taiwanese initiative was finally institutionalized in the recent school year.

“The program finally has an institution status, which means that we now have solid funding and expertise to make the program a long term study at the UW,” Lavely said. “What we’re hoping to achieve is not only raising consciousness about Taiwan on campus and in the broader community, but also increasing demand for the Taiwanese courses among students.”

One of the plans of the Taiwanese initiative was to hire a professor whose main specialty will be on Taiwan. That new faculty member is James Lin, a trained historian who just started teaching in autumn 2017. So far, he is the first and only full time Taiwan Studies professor in the Jackson School and will be giving a detailed to ur of the exhibition Wednesday, Feb. 28.

“I think UW is really special in that we’re providing Chang Tieh-chih a public space to show the exhibition, which has been very difficult to do,” Lin said. “It is sensitive to have an exhibition just on Taiwan when we consider the political context.”

His undergraduate course is a historical survey of Taiwan that is being taught for the first time here at the UW. The UW certainly has a deep background in East Asia studies, but their goal is to expand the conversation on Taiwan from a literature focus to a social science and humanity one. In the future, the program is hoping to invite a keynote speaker and organize an academic conference or workshop.

The current academic plan is to grow the number of courses and faculty instructors in the program with a goal of offering a degree in Taiwan studies. The program is partnering with the Seattle International Film Festival with the intention to bring in Taiwan ese films in the Seattle area by May.

“My goal is to bring different aspects of Taiwan to understand it. Some of it involves very recent political events, some of it is more history, sociology, economics, and sometimes even urban design,” Lin said. “They are all different ways to learn more about Taiwan and why Taiwan is important.”

You can stop by the exhibition, “Beautiful Island â€" Taiwan’s Journey to Democracy,” in the lobby of Allen Library until March 14.

Reach contributing writer Kelsey Chuang at managing@dailyuw.com Twitter: @chuang_kelsey

Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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