2018 EATS Young Scholar Award Reports


I am a researcher of popular music and filmmaker who recently received my PhD in music from the University of Liverpool (UoL). I am currently working as a research associate in the Department of Music at UoL, and an editing assistant for Taiwan Insight at the University of Nottingham. My research interests include Chineseness in popular music and music censorship, with a special focus on audience and fan culture. I often incorporate documentary filmmaking and public screenings as part of my research methods, which enables me to collect feedback as well as engage with the general public about my research topics.

My doctoral thesis is entitled “Questions of Chineseness: A Study on China Wind Pop Music and the Post-1990s Generation in the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the UK”. A short documentary, “Chasing the China Wind: A Musical Journey”, was produced alongside my fieldwork in the aforementioned locations. This 30-minute documentary was shortlisted for the Utopia Award in AHRC Research in Film Awards 2016.

It was a great honour for me to be able to receive the prestigious Young Scholar Award at the EATS Conference in 2018. The paper I presented, “A Tale of Two Versions: Censorship Attitudes of UK-based Chinese Students Towards Taiwanese Popular Music”, focuses on a topic I have a special interest in: music censorship and audiences’ perceptions of it. I am very grateful that I could present it at the conference in Zurich, which allowed me to gather incredibly valuable feedback from other researchers. I am also indebted to the EATS conference organisers, judges, and committee. I have been participating in the EATS conferences since 2017. As both a PhD student and early career researcher, EATS has provided a most welcoming environment for my peers and I to sharpen our academic skills, and start a conversation with researchers from different backgrounds but with similar research interests. The award has encouraged me to pursue further opportunities to research music censorship and Taiwanese popular music.

The paper I presented provides a brief overview on censorship mechanisms imposed on Taiwanese popular music in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), examining how censorship influences the way the audience experiences music. The result of this censorship practice is that there are often two different versions of music albums, or even songs, available to the audience. One of them is called the “imported version”, and is approved by the PRC; the other is the original “Taiwanese version”, released in Taiwan. Ethnographic methods were employed in this paper, and the interviewees are UK-based university students who are able to surpass this censorship mechanism.

Interviewing some fans of Taiwanese music acts, such as Mayday (五月天), this paper argues that the practices of music censorship in the PRC create a unique fan culture. Fans’ pursuit of authenticity, and their awareness of the two versions, have the potential to result in more discussion in politics and dissatisfaction with the state, regardless of the fact that the music they listen to is generally considered apolitical. However, although the majority of respondents agree that censorship underestimates the audience’s ability to understand music, most of them still regard music censorship as necessary for two main reasons. First, the PRC population is so large that it is dificult to manage; secondly, educational attainment is uneven in China. Their beliefs indicate that popular music without a certain level of censorship is not conceivable to them in China given the latter’s current context.

In the near future, I hope to continue conducting research on Taiwanese popular music and its audience in a transnational context. The generous feedback I obtained at the EATS conferences and my receipt of the first prize of Young Scholar Award 2018, have been invaluable for me. I am looking forward to the next EATS Conference and the opportunities to work with other EATS members for researching Taiwanese popular culture. There is still so much to explore and so many stories to tell, and I am very thankful that EATS has supported and encouraged me throughout this journey.

Chen-yu Lin received her PhD in music in 2018. She currently works as a research associate and an adjunct lecturer in Department of Music, University of Liverpool.


I participated in the EATS Conference for the first time in 2018 and was excited to see presentations by scholars who are extremely well known in the field of Taiwan Studies. This included papers by many younger scholars who are undertaking extraordinary new work. At the conference, I was also extremely honored to receive the 2018 Young Scholar Award for my paper “James Clifford’s ‘Indigenous Articulations’ as Traveling Theory?: The Search for Sustainability in Theorizing Taiwan’s Indigenous and Han Populations.”

After receiving a BA in History and Chinese language from Williams College in the United States, I moved to Taiwan in 2006 and have lived there through to the present. I received a MA in Chinese literature from National Taiwan University and have worked at Academia Sinica and the Tuvalu Embassy in Taiwan. I am currently in the middle of a Pacific Studies PhD program at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where I focus on contingency and agency in performative cultural diplomacy between Tuvalu and Taiwan. This is an interdisciplinary project combining international relations, cultural studies, and dance and performance studies. I have completed six months of interviews and fieldwork for this project in Taiwan before the EATS Conference and I am currently engaged in five months of interviews and fieldwork in Tuvalu.

The paper I presented at the EATS conference is part of the theoretical analysis section of my PhD dissertation. In the paper, I look at how James Clifford’s “Indigenous Articulations,” a fundamental work in Pacific Studies, has often been adapted and changed by scholars writing about Taiwan. I discuss relationships between these changes, Taiwan’s status as a settler colony, and attempts to develop a hybrid society in Taiwan that sometimes effaces the different lifeways and epistemologies of indigenous and Han populations. In my dissertation, I expand on my findings in the paper to consider how the Taiwan government has mobilized indigenous dance and music groups to enhance relations with Pacific nations and the different understandings of Taiwan and indigeneity these projects have created.

Based on my recent fieldwork in Taiwan, it is apparent that indigenous dance and music groups are only “operationalized” by the Taiwan government for so long before they seek to undertake their own exchange projects in Pacific countries, independent of the government and on their own terms. Therefore, I examine how more recent discourse regarding the place of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in the Austronesian language group has made possible closer ties between Taiwan and Pacific governments, but also how such discourse has mobilized indigenous peoples to look toward the Pacific rather than toward the Taiwan Strait. One of my main interests here is divergences in imaginings of Taiwan’s future and ways in which Taiwan can be analyzed within (and not simply adjacent to) Pacific Studies.

In my research, I also address Taiwan’s multicultural projects in Tuvalu and rest of the Pacific, as well as Tuvalu’s projects in Taiwan. But I am specifically interested in how Austronesian/indigenous discourse in Taiwan, Tuvalu, and the rest of the Pacific causes complexities in diplomatic relationships. This is especially apparent because terms like “Austronesian” are not universally accepted or used throughout the Pacific and “indigenous” is often applied to/within Pacific nations in different ways based on population demographics.

I hope to use any spare time during my fieldwork in Tuvalu to prepare my conference paper for submission to the International Journal of Taiwan Studies and I look forward to developing new research findings for presentation at EATS next year.

Jess Marinaccio is a PhD Candidate in the Pacific Studies program at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She has published in Asia-Pacific Viewpoint and Issues & Studies.


It was a great honor to receive the third place of the YSA for my paper titled “George Leslie MacKay as a Pioneer of Sustainable Taiwanese Christian Society”. I particularly appreciate all the feedback and comments. I am also very grateful for all the help I have received since I joined the EATS community several year ago. This association has proven to be a great platform for academic cooperation. As a young scholar, it has helped me gain advice from more experienced researchers, which enriched my own work.

The paper I presented in Zurich is part of a smaller project. My research interest is the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, and the recent history of church-state relations. However, the topic I presented regarded the life of the first Canadian missionary in northern Taiwan. The aim of the paper is to analyse how George Leslie MacKay (1844-1901) built his mission and tried to establish the very first sustainable Taiwanese Christian community as evidenced in the text From Far Formosa: The Islands, Its People and Missions. The text, published in 1895, was written by MacKay himself, and edited by Reverend J.A. MacDonald.

George Leslie MacKay was born in Zorra, Canada, in March 1844. He was the youngest child of a pious couple (Helen and George MacKay), his father being a ruling elder in the presbytery for 25 years. George Leslie MacKay decided to start a missionary career as early as at the age of 10. He attended Knox College in Toronto from 1864 to 1867. There, he was introduced to the method of connecting scientific knowledge and the Bible as a source of the only Truth. During his missionary career, he often implemented this evangelization method for himself. Furthermore, he attended Princeton Seminary between 1867 and 1870.

After his graduation, he submitted a proposal to become a foreign missionary. In 1871, he was notified about its acceptation by the Committee on Missions in Canada. Afterwards, he was ordinated and the General Assembly of the Canada Presbyterian Church delegated him to establish a new mission in an area of China. When requested to choose a particular field for his mission by himself, MacKay chose Taiwan.

As soon as he arrived in Taiwan, he started maintaining independence and freedom from external control. He did not wish the Committee on Missions in Canada or the General Assembly to control or dictate any missionary methods for him to adopt. As a consequence, he was often confronted with criticism from some church leaders in Canada. MacKay wanted to establish an independent church with native Taiwanese leaders. He was strongly against social injustice and did not advocate colonialism. He even married a native Taiwanese woman, which was considered to be a rather controversial act. Furthermore, his own daughters were married to native priests in Taiwan. George Leslie MacKay spent almost his entire life in Taiwan. In 1901, he was diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer and suddenly died at the age of 57.

As the very first missionary in northern Taiwan, his goal being to establish the Protestant church there. However, his own approach was significantly different compared to other contemporary missionaries. A common method for the first missionaries in Taiwan was to have full supervision over the native Taiwanese inhabitants. MacKay tried to establish an independent and sustainable Taiwanese Church. From the beginning of his mission, he was very positively perceived in Taiwan as well as abroad.

In the EATS presentation, I analysed George Leslie MacKay’s missionary methods. His first missionary efforts took place through modernization and education, including modern western medicine, used for spreading the Christian faith. However, MacKay’s contribution was much more important as he introduced western medical techniques to his trainees. He believed that a successful mission and sustainable Taiwanese Christian church must be based on native leaders with adequate training. He delegated power to the local ministry and trained Taiwanese people in western medicine to support his own missionary ambitions, becoming a pioneer of sustainable Taiwanese Christian church.

Magdaléna Masláková is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion, Masaryk University in Brno. She studies Christianity in a Chinese context, particularly focusing on the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Since 2011, she has been an editorial board member of the student magazine Sacra.