Four 2016 EATS LRG Reports


Project: “Taiwanese Professionals in London and Paris: Transnationality and Overseas Experience in Europe”

Libraries Visited: (1) Bibliothèque Universitaire des Langues et Civilisations (BULAC, Paris) and (2) Bibliothèque de l’Institut d’Asie Orientale (IAO, Lyon)

Before I received the 2016 EATS Library Research Grant, it was my honour to present a research paper entitled “Middling Transmigrants in a Global City: Taiwanese Skilled Workers in London” at the 12th EATS Annual Conference in Kraków, Poland. In my research, I interviewed a number of Taiwanese professionals whom I met through mutual acquaintances in Europe. I was surprised when found the number of Taiwanese migrant workers in Europe was greater than I expected. However existing studies relating to this group of people are relatively few in number. This led to the origins of my project “Taiwanese Professionals in London and Paris: Transnationality and Overseas Experience in Europe”. These well-educated Taiwanese professionals working in Europe constitute the subjects for the present research. I chose London and Paris as research sites as both cities are usually the first choice of Taiwanese migrant workers. This project aims to answer the following fundamental questions: What are the key factors making Taiwanese professionals migrate to Europe? What are the trajectories, experiences and future intentions of Taiwanese professionals in London and Paris? How are transnational networks mobilised and how are transnational practices maintained?

In this project, I intend to look at the historical context of the Taiwanese-Chinese diaspora in Europe with their migration trajectories and life experiences. I also visit the SOAS library regularly because it is the best Asian research institute in the UK where I can find most English-language literature. As Paris is one of my research sites, it is also important for me to read relevant literature written in French. I have learned French for five years and hold a DELF-B2 certificate as a proof of French proficiency. I was very much looking forward to visiting the two major Asian documentation centres in France, BULAC and IAO. For this reason, I am very grateful to EATS for offering me the grants to study in France in Summer 2016.

Bibliothèque Universitaire des Langues et Civilisations (BULAC, Paris)

BULAC is affiliated to INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales) and located in the 13th Arrondissement in Paris. From 28th July to 5thAugust, I spent a week reading relevant books at BULAC. On the first day of my visit, the librarian applied for a reader’s card for me and guided me to their online catalogue and other electronic resources. With the user’s card, I could access the library and read all the books during the opening hours. Considering that some books were stored in other rooms, the librarian told me how to confirm the book locations according to their reference numbers. If the book I need was not on the shelf, I could make an online booking, and wait for the notification of book collection. Since I stayed at BULAC for only a week and planned to read eight books, the whole week became very busy for me. The books I read were La Chine et ses migrants: La conquête d'une citoyenneté (2013), Le tourisme des Chinois Taïwanais en France (2008), Nouvelles migrations chinoises et travail en Europe (2007), Chinois de France (2005), Migrations chinoises en Europe (2003), La Chine et les Chinois de la diaspora (2000), Les relations entre Taïwan et la communaute europeenne (1998), and Trajectoires chinoises: Taïwan, Hong Kong et Pékin (1998).

The most helpful parts in these books for me are the historical descriptions and analysis from the Europeans’ points of view. I have learned how the intensification of East-West migratory movements profoundly changed the European economy and how the displacement of Chinese populations, whether highly skilled or otherwise play an increasingly important role in redesigning the European labour market. These new migrations reveal both “bottom-up” and “top-down” processes of globalisation, driven by the individual and collective itineraries of migrants. In addition, I was particularly impressed by Chinois de France because this book contains many valuable old photos telling of Chinese immigrants’ life in France in historical contexts. From these vivid pictures, I realised how Chinese immigrants tried hard to integrate themselves into the host city, and at the same time, to maintain their fundamental ethnic characteristics while simultaneously pursuing social integration.

Bibliothèque de l’Institut d’Asie Orientale (IAO, Lyon)

IAO is affiliated to ENS de Lyon (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon) and located in the 7th Arrondissement in Lyon. It has a unique collection entitled “The Lyons Taiwan Collection” with extensive archives and books addressing Taiwan’s politics, history, and society from many prestigious donors. Once more, I applied for a reader’s card to access IAO at Bibliothèque Diderot de Lyon. From 15th to 22ndAugust, I also spent one week reading the books at IAO. As IAO only opens on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I found that it was the most efficient way to email to the librarians a day before I collected the books in advance.

The books I read were L'esprit de défense de Taïwan face à la Chine: la jeunesse taïwanaise et la tentation de la Chine (2009), Taïwan, de l'autre côté du détroit: Une île en quête d'identités (2008), La diaspora chinoise: Géographie d'une migration (2000), La diaspora chinoise (1994), and Les chinois de la diaspora (1976). These books helped me to better understand why Chinese migrants chose to travel from Asia, how they adapted themselves to the new environment in Europe, and how they interacted with people of different ethnicities. In the meantime, I also read some articles about the transnational and translocal Taiwanese in France, primarily in the bimonthly magazine, Taiwan aujourd'hui. Finally, I collected some statistic data and journal articles from Population and Population et Sociétés, two academic journals published by the French Institute for Demographic Studies. Because I was expecting to read more books and articles, I had to train my reading and note-taking skills during my stay at IAO. For future research, I made photocopies of some journal articles and book chapters.

I strongly recommend the two libraries in France for those scholars and students who are interested in Taiwan Studies, SOAS in London, as well as BULAC in Paris and IAO in Lyon are excellent options within Europe for studying literature and documents about Taiwan. Their collection, which includes books, magazines, and journals in Chinese, English, and French covers every field of the social sciences. More importantly, La Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Site François-Mitterrand) is only 5-minute walking distance from BULAC. If you have the opportunity to visit BULAC, remember to visit the National Library of France. It will definitely be a valuable experience.

I would like to remind the subsequent LRG applicants of checking the opening hours of the library you are planning to visit, particularly in the summer time. After I finished my visit to BULAC, I immediately moved to Lyon on 5th August. When I arrived at IAO, I was surprised to find that it was closed during the summer break and would be re-opened on 15th August. On the contrary, the libraries in the UK are opened almost all year round, except for bank holidays and the Christmas holiday. I hope that the library visitors could keep my experience in mind. Fortunately, a friend of mine, who is a lecturer at Université Lumière-Lyon II, allowed me to stay with her for the following ten days. Thanks to my previous visit to BULAC in Paris, I could use my time productively to read the photocopied articles.

As a whole, the trip to Paris and Lyon was very helpful and beneficial to me because of those invaluable study references at BULAC and IAO. I sincerely appreciate that EATS gave me the support I needed to collect data for my project. Although my study of the literature mainly focused on Chinese immigration in Europe, I also expanded my knowledge about East-West movement trajectories and migratory experiences. This visiting experience was extremely rewarding and I felt more confident in conducting my research project as a result.

Chia-Yuan Huang is a PhD candidate, Department of Geography, University College London.

Chia-Yuan Huang


Project: Translating Memories—A Comparative Study of the Holocaust and the Japanese Colonial Memory in Translation

Libraries Visited: Vienna University Library, Austria, 21–28 July 2016

The research project entitled “Translating Memories—A Comparative Study of the Holocaust and the Japanese Colonial Memory in Translation” compares translations of Japanophone Taiwanese literature and that of the Holocaust, which has been explored extensively in the western scholarship of Memory Studies. Translation is an important mediator and method of preservation of cultural/historical memory, and though it may have been altered during the process of transmitting from one culture/language to another, still has truth claims. This project is important as translated texts and their specific contexts seem to be more influential than the original texts, as the younger generations depend significantly on translation rather than accessing to the original works or historical archives for re-constructing and re-imagining the historical/cultural memory. For example, in the Taiwanese context, Japanese is no longer the national language, so the post-war generations might only consult Chinese translations when reading the works written during the Japanese colonial rule. Therefore, translated texts are increasingly how the public engage with historical reality.

Vienna University, one of the oldest universities in the German language area, has a long history and is renowned for its studies of the Humanities. In December 2009, it established the Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies in its Department of East Asian Studies, which has played an important role of bridging cross-continental research and teaching over the past few years in both Austria and Taiwan. The University has significant collections relating to East Asian Studies, especially Taiwan Studies, which can be found variously in the main library, East Asian Studies library, contemporary history library and Sociology and Political Science library. Unlike some academic libraries in the UK, the use of the Vienna University Library is free of charge and easy to access. International scholars who wish to visit the library should bring a valid photo ID (i.e. passport), where, upon explaining the purpose of their visit, the librarians are very happy to help.

Among the materials I have found, Ying Xiong’s Representing Empire: Japanese Colonial Literature in Taiwan and Manchuria gave a thorough introduction of background of the Japanese colonisation. The most helpful part of the book is chapter six, which covers the issue of translation, with particular focus upon the relation between translation and identity transformation. Karen Laura Thornber’s Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature, on the other hand, explores the intertextuality and the flourishing intercultural writings among East Asian countries after 1895. These two books can be used as key references for this research, and should form a key part of the library of anyone studying this topic. In terms of theoretical texts, Astrid Erll’s A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies and Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook are two of the must-read key texts for their insightful exploration to the field of Memory Studies.

In addition, Tony Bennett’s Pasts beyond Memory: Evolution, Museums, Colonialism explores how the “hardware” of the memories and museums, provide the context in which new “pasts” can be organised as new realities and covers the role played by the exhibition practices of the museums in translating the pasts for public. In the chapter “Selective Memory: Racial Recall and Civic Renewal at the American Museum of Natural History”, Bennett examines the relationships between museums and the child, where memory has been preserved and passed between generations. Further exploration can also be found in Daniel Bertaux and Paul Thompson’s edited book Between Generations: Family Models, Myths and Memories. The above two books can supplement my project in addition to the theoretical texts, creating previously undiscussed dialogues.

Shifting focus to studies of Holocaust memory, Uilleam Blacker’s Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe offers a different perspective of East European memory to the paradigm of Memory Studies which has become canon in Western Europe. In contrast with memory in Western Europe, the cultural memory in Eastern Europe has not been formed and dominated by the Holocaust and the Nazi conquest of Europe. It has its own mnemonic dynamics and foci, and is consequently different from what has become widely accepted in Western Europe. Therefore, it can be read productively in contrast to Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich’s Reconstructing Jewish Identity in Pre- and Post-Holocaust Literature and Culture and Malgorzata Pakier’s The Construction of European Holocaust Memory, which focuses primarily on the collective memory of the Holocaust constructed within West European countries.

For other younger researchers who wish to visit the Vienna University Library, I would suggest they stay in Austria for at least two weeks or longer, as there is plentiful material across many libraries to justify an extended visit. This will also provide time to attend events and talks organised by the relevant departments. For example, in summer 2016, the University hosted the XXIst Congress of International Comparative Literature Association, more than 15,000 scholars from thirty countries came to the University to attend the event. Visiting the University of Vienna during the congress allowed me to meet scholars from all over the world and to exchange ideas and develop my research with others who shared my interests. To limit the budget for a longer stay, I would recommend finding a chain budget hotel outside the city centre and tourist hot-spots (but on the route of trams to the University). By doing so, money could be saved, and better quality of accommodation may be sought when compared to those within the walking distance of the University.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the European Association of Taiwan Studies in supporting my research visit to the libraries of Vienna University. This visit has been very fruitful and given me a great opportunity to enrich my thinking by visiting and collecting materials from this renowned institution.

Tzu-yu Lin is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Translation, University College London, UK.

Tzu-yu Lin


Project: “Diplomatic History of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan under the Rule of the Chinese Nationalists during the Cold War Period”

Libraries Visited: The National Archives, Kew, UK

This report is presented to the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the award of the EATS Library Grant. I would like to take this opportunity to thank EATS for their generous support to my archival research trips at The National Archives at Kew in the United Kingdom.

Description of the Research Project

My research analyses the diplomatic history of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, under the rule of the Chinese Nationalists, during the Cold War period. In particular, it studies the foreign policy-making process of the regime in the period from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. Focusing on the ways in which the Chinese Nationalists pursued regime survival, this research attempts to argue that the prominent motive of the ROC leaders was defensive in nature.

The diplomatic developments of the ROC on Taiwan within the period mentioned above is worthy of detailed investigation, not least because this period consists of turning points that transformed the regime’s diplomatic position. Parallel to the transformations of the regional political structure, the Kuomintang (KMT) regime also underwent a subtle but decisive turn in their foreign policy orientation toward a defensive and cautious, if not minimalist approach. This research examines the trajectory that the foreign policy-makers moved along vis-à-vis the transformation of the regional order.

Summary of Research Work at The National Archives

The reason for visiting The National Archives (TNA) at Kew in the United Kingdom is that TNA contains documents of the UK government that are related to the ROC on Taiwan as well as to the KMT. These primary sources include the correspondences between the British Consulate in Tamsui (in operation until 1971) and London; memoranda and annual reports of the internal situations of the ROC under the Foreign Office (FO); and the officers’ reports produced from the British-administered overseas territories that discussed the activities of the KMT agents, to name but a few.

The documents that I have consulted at TNA were composed in the period between the mid-1950s and the early 1980s.These materials are of high relevance to my research in two major respects. Above all, the materials from TNA can be juxtaposed with the archival documents collated from Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, in order to develop a broader perspective on the ROC’s diplomatic position during the Cold War. The Far Eastern Department of the FO of the UK government had maintained keen interest in Taiwan’s internal political and social dynamics. A single event such as the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958 was presented, recorded, and interpreted in multiple ways amongst the Chinese Nationalists, the British, and the Americans. As such, an inclusion of the British-based primary sources in the study of the decision-making process during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958 could contribute to a more nuanced and enriched historical narrative than current historiography.

Secondly, the materials at TNA are beneficial for understanding the connections between the ROC on Taiwan and Britain. Previous literature on the diplomatic history of the ROC during the Cold War era seems to focus mainly on the different stages of its foreign policy direction, as well as on its relationships with the United States. The UK government documents in regard to the ROC, and also Taiwan, present us aspects of official, semi-official, and unofficial relations between the British government and the Chinese Nationalists, and between the British and the local Taiwanese population. Whilst Britain was declining in both strength and influence, it still played a significant part in the affairs of East Asia, and the ROC on Taiwan, in the post-war era at least up until the mid-1960s. In other words, the archival sources at TNA are a positive addition to my research on the ROC’s diplomatic position in East Asia in the Cold War period.

Advice for Other Researchers

I would recommend researchers on Taiwan’s history to use the collections at TNA. Whilst admission is free of charge, a passport, or any personal identification document, is required upon registration. Documents can be photographed by the users themselves; alternatively photocopy request can be made at the reception. Pencils and laptops are allowed, but not for papers and notebooks.

Nevertheless, it would be better for researchers, especially those living outside of the M25 London area, to make advanced planning on the trip to TNA. Because of the considerable amount of the FO documents related to Taiwan, and because there is a daily maximum limit of documents which users can request to consult, it is advised to make good use of the online catalogue of TNA, as well as to reserve sufficient time of staying near Kew or any adjacent London boroughs in order for completing the material collection process.

Last but not least, the sources at TNA reveal interesting aspects regarding the ROC’s diplomatic position after 1949. Given that the UK government’s China policy was different from that of the United States, it is impossible for researchers on East Asia’s international history to ignore the views of the UK government towards the Chinese Nationalists, or British calculations towards the relationship between the latter and the United States. In a much broader way, the divergence of the UK and the US governments on “China” to a certain extent affected the “inter-dependence” relationship between them, hence an examination of the British-based archives can potentially generate more academic insights and shed light on the ROC’s position in Cold War history.

SO, Nelson Kai-Ho is a DPhil candidate in History, University of Oxford.

SO, Nelson Kai-Ho


Project: Analysis of the changes of Cross-Strait Relations from a Functionalist Perspective

Libraries Visited: ERCCT, University of Tübingen and the main library of the department of Sinologie und Koreanistik, Asien-Orient-Institut

2016 was a prosperous year as I finally managed to visit all leading European research centres on Taiwan Studies and Cross-Strait Relations of interest to me. It all started with a Library Research Grant awarded by EATS, which enabled my trip to the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) of the University of Tübingen, and the main library of the department of Sinologie und Koreanistik, Asien-Orient-Institut.

Before the trip, I searched for libraries in my region. The closest one is the Research Unit on Taiwanese Culture and Literature in my university (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany). This research unit holds a great amount of original sources and materials in Chinese regarding Taiwan's social and cultural evolution, including but not limited to government reports, novels, autobiographies and digital media. The collections are extensive enough for historical and literature researches, yet few relate to politics that specialise in the cross-Strait context. My research is mainly about an analysis of the changes of cross-Strait relations from a functionalist perspective. In other words, the focus of my studies is primarily on the evolutionary process of institutional changes over Straits affairs, on the way people understand the changes that affect the variable relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, and what changes matter the most to their future development. Since my study is approaching the stage referring to the most recent changes between the two polities, fewer publications in that regard can be easily accessed.

The ERCCT in Tübingen has actively hosted academic events in recent years for many scholars from Taiwan, mainland China, Europe and North America presenting their latest research findings. The research centre upholds high professional standards in maintaining academic communication and librarian collections. Given the high quality of the ERCCT’s facilities, I sought to learn more about its capabilities and their advantages for my project. If time allowed, I would try to meet up with other academics and overseas scholars for future academic activities.

My research interests lie in the dramatic changes of cross-Strait relations intertwined with Taiwan’s economic and international interests. It is necessary to acquire the latest research regarding (1) economic integration across the Taiwan Strait, and (2) Taiwan ́s internationalisation and how it interacts with the concerns of the Chinese central government. In this sense, when searching the library in the ERCCT, the latest research, namely Chu and Kastner’s Globalization and Security Relations across the Taiwan Strait: in the shadow of China (2015), Lindermann’s Cross-Strait Relations and International Organizations: Taiwan’s Participation in IGOs in the Context of Its Relationship with China (2013), Hu’s New Dynamics in Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations: How far can the rapprochement go (2013), and Cai’s Cross-Taiwan Straits Relations since 1979: Policy Adjustment and Institutional Changes Across the Straits (2011), were key texts. Throughout the duration of this library research, the academic staff from the ERCCT helped me a lot in accomplishing my task. I deeply appreciated their assistance and considerations!

Based on my own experience from this trip, I found two pieces of advice may be useful for other young researchers: (1) Determine your research goal (or the main research questions) and only focus on what you need; (2) Attempt to make contact with the leading scholars and young researchers in your field as rapidly as possible. Clearly outlining your goal and key research questions is the foremost and most important objective for material sourcing. On this research trip I met a doctoral student who had just started his studies. He made a long, detailed and fine list of book chapters based on his own research interests, not in a rough and broad sense; and he only checked those books and chapters that he considered the most related, not the “relevant” ones. It is a direct and effective method for a time-limited material collection, which saved him a lot of time for further analysis. I learned my lesson, and would recommend others to manage their preparation work carefully before the trip.

I find the ERCCT extremely valuable to international researchers who are undertaking Taiwan Studies or cross-Strait researches. They provide many different events for Taiwan-related studies, like a film festival and a research colloquium. In addition, they hold a Young Scholars Workshop (YSW) on an annual basis, at which young researchers can meet in person, discuss and debate current issues. The annual collection of research papers based on each YSW presents fresh views on, and different perspectives of, the ongoing research interests in our field. It was a great experience for my academic connections.

I am grateful for this journey to the libraries in the University of Tübingen with the support of the EATS Library Research Grant. Thanks to the EATS LRG, I managed to stay at the ERCCT for more than one week, for both material sourcing and the establishing of academic connections. On this trip, I learned a new way of reviewing my methods, unearthing resources and tailoring them in an individual way. More importantly, it provided me with a great opportunity for getting to know the leading scholars and young researchers from other universities (Taiwan, mainland China, North America, and East Europe) and to understand the latest developments in the field, which encourages me a lot to continue my studies at an international level.

Qin Tang is a PhD candidate of East Asian Politics, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Qin Tang