Sunday, 9 November 2008

Call for Papers -- NATSA 2009 The 15th Annual North American Taiwan Studies Conference

Abstract Submission Deadline: November 30, 2008
Date: June 26-28, 2009
Location: The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Organization: North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA)

Main Theme: Locating Taiwan: Space, Culture and Society

In the past two decades, Taiwan has experienced major transformations in the remapping of space. The operation of Taipei and Kaoshiung's Rapid Transit Systems and the High Speed Rail has integrated more people into the metropolis and fosters different lifestyles. The direct weekend flights between Taiwan and China not only attract Chinese tourists but also allow Mainland-based Taiwanese entrepreneurs to reconnect to their homes with greater convenience. Apart from the implementation of transportation infrastructure, digital communication technology also constructs a virtual geography. While the (re)generation of spaces, virtual or real, bring people into intimate contact, a reconfigured landscape might also mean destruction. For instance, the demolition of mainland veteran quarters and the relocation of Le-Sheng Rehab jeopardize the wellbeing of local communities and disown the already marginalized minorities. The challenges as well as the possibilities make it an urgent task to reexamine how a shifting geography bears on the domains of Taiwan’s culture, politics and society.

This year’s conference is defined under the rubric of “Locating Taiwan: Space, Culture and Society.” First, we invite scholars from all disciplines to situate Taiwan in terms of space and explore the relationships between the changing landscape and various realignments in cultural and social formations. While our attention is focused on Taiwan’s physical localities, we also encourage writers to explore the evolving definition of space. In particular, global capital flows interface and destabilize familiar territorial demarcations and as a consequence, “interstitial spaces” emerge to accommodate new social groupings, the bloggers and Otaku for instance. How do these new communities enable political empowerment and/or aggravate economic inequality? To what extent are these new spatial identities embedded in or uprooted from the physical environment and what are the impacts? Writers do not limit themselves to the current phenomenon of globalization. Historical reflections are also crucial to the discussion on the relationship of space and culture.

Minor Themes:

A). Regionalism and Nationalism in Taiwan’s Context

In the context of Taiwan, there seems to be at least two versions of regionalism at work. Externally, Taiwan is situated in a particular node of Pacific Rim where interests of China, Japan and the U.S. collide and converge. Domestically, Taiwan has its own regionalism that divides the South from the North, which has a direct correlation to the emergence of Taiwan’s nationalism. In this minor theme, we invite submissions that discuss the forces of nationalism and regionalism pertaining to Taiwan. How does each of these dominant forces manifest itself in international relations, cross-strait negotiations and domestic politics? Since regionalism and nationalism in the case of Taiwan is closely related to the concern of economy, scholars from the field of economics and finance are encouraged to bring in their expertise to the discussion.

B). Eco-Politics in Taiwan

Since the mid 1980's, Taiwan has faced the difficult task of conserving environment in a stage of high industrialization. Although global investments and international trading agreements such as the WTO might help Taiwan economically, technological intervention has also brought irremediable damage to the land. In this minor theme, we would like to encourage discussions on Taiwan’s eco-movements and the imagination of a “green politics.” As Taiwan’s politicians continue to put the issue of nuclear plants on their ballot during election campaigns, does it mean that Taiwan’s eco-movement is co-opted by bipartisan politics? How might the grassroot eco-consciousness challenge Taiwan’s political makeup? Or how does the focus on the environment call for a traditional sense of community as practiced in Taiwan’s aborigines? These are part of the issues relevant to Taiwan’s eco-movements and we hope to incorporate both empirical studies and critical evaluations in our discussion.

C). Identity and Hybridity in Cultural Spheres

In its efforts to shape a distinctive political identity, Taiwan also strives for self-expression in both domestic and global cultural domains. On the one hand, Taiwanese film auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-hsian and Edward Yang have established their stature and gained international recognition from the 1980s onward with their stylistic innovation and humanist concerns. On the other hand, Taiwan’s local creative industries have demonstrated vitality and diversity partly as a result of democratization, as best exemplified by the recovery and revival of Taiwanese aborigines’ cultures. In this minor theme, we want to invite writers to address the complications between identity politics, cultural industries, new technologies and contemporary sociopolitical ideologies. Considering that The National Palace Museum has to repackage traditional artifacts in a glossy modern design by Alessi of Italy, we also welcome submissions that explore the hybrid phenomenon manifested in Taiwan’s cultural intersection with the world.

Panel Proposal and Poster Presentation

This year, NATSA invites panel proposals by discipline or field of interest. In order to foster discussion, each panel should consist of three to four writers. The panel proposal submission should include the panel abstract, together with all the paper abstracts to be presented in the conference. Each panel and paper abstract is subject to review. All disciplines are welcome, and proposals from less represented disciplines are particularly encouraged.

NATSA will also continue to hold poster presentation for the second year. Please indicate what kind of presentation you want to give when submitting your abstract through our online submission system. The system will be open from October 10th through November 30th, 2008 (Eastern time, USA). Conference contributors may be eligible for travel grants. For a full version of our Call for Paper and other detailed information please visit our website at

Travel Grant
Each year NATSA seeks funding to support scholars and professionals to present at our conferences from all over the United States and all over world--Taiwan, Japan, China, England, Italy. Although the exact grant NATSA is able to offer vary each year, in the past we have offered US$150~$300 to domestic participants and US$300~$600. The travel grant is an effort to encourage all to submit abstracts!
Best Paper Award

To encourage graduate students making quality contribution to the field of Taiwan Studies, NATSA continues the Best Paper Award for the second year. The winner will receive a prize of $300USD.

The Hermes Program

The NATSA encourages universities and research institutions in the United States and Canada that are planning to hire new faculty members (at any level) with specialization in Taiwan Studies come to our annual meeting and interview with potential candidates in person. The NATSA will cover all the representatives’ traveling expenses and lodging fees incurred during their visits to our annual conference.

Book Exhibition

This year's conference will continue past years' tradition of bringing in publishers active in Taiwan and North America to present their products at a discounted rate (15~20% off), such as the University of Washington Press, the University of Hawaii Press, the Cornell University Press, the Columbia University Press, and the Stanford University Press. The book exhibition presents many important as well as most updated works in various fields relevant to this year's conference themes. Don't forget to stop by the booths during coffee breaks!

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