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The Golden Age of Taiwan Studies: Our Interview with University of London’s Dr. Dafydd Fell Ep 145

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

This week I’m welcoming back Dr. Dafydd Fell to talk about the SOAS Center of Taiwan Studies at the University of London. They just had their summer school program in July, which is free and open to the public. It’s a tremendous resource for people interested in learning more about Taiwan. The program included speakers on the topics of Taiwan’s anti-nuclear movement, environmental activism and movements, Taiwan’s Post New Wave Cinema, how to write about Taiwan for a general audience, the campaign to end the death penalty in Taiwan, just to name a few. You can check out their YouTube channel which has videos from the summer school program and other SOAS Center of Taiwan Studies events. Dr. Fell and I talked about how Taiwan studies has changed over the past 20 years and some of the challenges faced by Taiwan studies programs in general.

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • The establishment of the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program at the University of London
  • How there weren’t any other Taiwan Studies programs in Europe when the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program at the University of London was established in 1999
  • SOAS Taiwan Studies program was founded by Professor Robert Ash
  • Establishment of European Association of Taiwan Studies in 2004
  • Taiwan Studies programs in Europe
  • How we are currently in a Golden Age of Taiwan Studies
  • Taiwan studies programs in Europe vs. the U.S.
  • The collaboration between SOAS Taiwan Studies program and the University of Texas at Austin Taiwan Studies program
  • The challenges faced by Taiwan Studies programs
  • How the SOAS Taiwan Studies program’s focuses on Taiwan Studies teaching  programs and publication (of books that come out of conferences)
  • The types of classes and programs offered at the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program
  • Prominent political figures from Taiwan that have been invited to speak at SOAS
  • The second world congress of Taiwan Studies at SOAS (with 80 speakers and 500 in person attendees)
  • How the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program organizes 50-70 events per year
  • How the events present interesting opportunities for students to actually meet some of the figures on their reading lists
  • What graduates of the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program have gone on to do
  • The major research contributions that have some out of SOAS Taiwan Studies Program
  • The challenges of funding Taiwan Studies programs
  • Whether more Taiwan Studies degree programs will be developed worldwide
  • The relationship between Chinese and Taiwanese studies programs
  • The SOAS Taiwan Studies Program Summer School which has been running since 2007


Related Links:


SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies’ website:


SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies’ Facebook page:


SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies’ Youtube channel:


Professor Robert Ash:


Dr. Dafydd Fell on Twitter:

The Taiwan studies book series that Dr. Fell mentioned had been around before the establishment of the SOAS Center of Taiwan Studies and since the late 1980s, was called Taiwan in the Modern World and was published by the US publisher M.E. Sharpe. The series was very active late 1980s and maybe through to the early 2000s, then faded away or was closed. The publisher itself was taken over by Routledge in 2014 and though the series no longer exists, at least all those amazing books from that era are still available.


European Association of Taiwan Studies:


North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA):


International Journal of Taiwan Studies:


Taiwan Studies program at the University of Texas at Austin:


Brill Series in Taiwan Studies:


Routledge Research on Taiwan Series:


Camphor Press:


Taiwan Studies Revisited, Edited By Dafydd Fell, Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao:

Taiwan’s Contemporary Indigenous Peoples, Edited By Chia-yuan Huang, Daniel Davies, Dafydd Fell:


Tsai Ing-wen:


Peng Min-Ming:


Frank Hsieh:


Su Tseng-chang:


Documentary filmmaker, Chung Chuan:


Hakka singer Lin Sheng-hsiang:


Second World Congress of Taiwan Studies held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) June 18-20, 2015:


Reflections on the Second World Congress of Taiwan Studies (held in 2015):


Academia Sinica:


SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies 2021 Summer School program:


The Fourth World Congress of Taiwan Studies (2022) in Seattle, Washington, USA:

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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