Research

Dynamic Atlas, 17th century Dutch Texts, Formosa

As observed by Nachum Dershowitz, “written text is an ideal source for understanding life in the historical past. Manuscripts, including community documents, personal letters, and commercial records all contribute to a fuller understanding of a given time and place.” This project suggests a combination of applying digital software programs to historical materials of 17th century Dutch Formosa with specific reference to Kercboek, Brievenboek van Formosa, 23 januari 1642- 4 maart 1660.

The purpose of a digitalized content format envisions two larger objectives: (1) mapping the key figures in the Dutch community, their social networks and mobility in Formosa and other VOC (Vereenigde East India Compagnie) factories and (2) provide guidance and develop standards that can be applied to other digital archives and databases pondering the possibility of generalizable methods.

The rationale behind this project is thus to develop tools that can be used to extract and visualize patterns of mobility in the VOC by its personnel that at one point had been employed in Formosa. This topic has not received the necessary attention and requires to be studied in view of the significance attached to the Tayuoan factory. Through network analyses of the names mentioned in the mission document Kercboek, Brievenboek van Formosa, it is possible to develop a set of methods that allow us to examine these questions on mobility regarding its horizontal, vertical, upward and downward specificity. The upgrade to include the methodology of digital humanities is essential in coming towards a fuller picture that contextualizes historical materials and has the capacity to change the way historians and cultural studies scholars look at mobility, past and present.

For more information, please refer to the Asia-Pacific SpatioTemporal Institute at National Chengchi University.
“Old Maps, New Views” Core Projects Development: Commonality of Interest in Spatial Humanities and Shared Technical Infrastructure

The Legacy of Arthur P. Wolf (1932-2015):
Digitizing and Data Analysis of Undisclosed Historical Demographical Fieldwork Research in the Haishan and Sanxia Region (1905-1945, 1957)

The application of Digital Humanities (hereafter DH) tools and technology in Taiwan academia is not a recent phenomenon, though it has only been in the last ten years that researchers from a wide spectrum of disciplines in the humanities have been invited to apply for project funding and the creation of platforms for academic exchange. This project proposal fits the same purpose and seeks transnational collaboration not only with one of the leading universities in the United States, but also in bringing to NTNU the legacy of one of the eminent scholars and pioneers in the field of Chinese studies on Taiwan. Our proposed project concerns the digitization and data analysis of the undisclosed anthropological fieldwork research of Arthur P. Wolf 吳雅士教授 (1932-2015).

Arthur P. Wolf is one of the world renowned anthropologists. During the 1950s, together with his first wife Margery Wolf Jones (1933- 2017), he came to Taiwan to do field work on Chinese household registers. As stated above, at the time, there was no independent Taiwan Studies and writing about Taiwan was not initially conceived as part of a project of local discovery. Instead, it was written to describe modern Chinese society – a fact indicated in titles from this period.

During the years of fieldwork in rural Taiwan that followed after communist China closed its doors, Arthur Wolf collected a vast archive of information on early 20th-century Taiwanese households focused on the southwestern regions of Taipei in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District. Marjory Wolf’s 1960s fieldwork in Taiwan resulted in her first and best known book The House of Lim: A Study of a Chinese Farm Family (1968), which established her as a China scholar of note with a particular focus on women and the family.

Arthur P. Wolf’s career path in studies of Taiwanese anthropology and related studies in comparative demography (mainly with the Netherlands) continued at Stanford where he taught in the Department of Anthropology from 1968 to 2015. He ended his career as Chair of the David and Lucile Packard Professor in Human Biology and Professor of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford, passing away in 2015.

The purpose of this research proposal is to gather the undisclosed data, digitize the handwritten, typewritten and computerized data to convert to current system for comparative purposes with Taiwan-based data on household registration information. Collaborating partners are:

  • Distinguished Professor Hill Gates who is in charge of her late husband’s trust fund, known as the Rockpile Foundation at Saltlick House.
  • Associate Professor Thomas Mullaney, Department of History and Director of Digital Humanities Asia (DHAsia) at the Digital Humanities Center, Stanford University.
  • Dr Kharis Templeman, Program Manager of the Taiwan Democracy Project at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Stanford University.

Please refer to East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (EAJPC)

The purpose of this page is to visualize the study and data access to research popular culture in Taiwan and abroad.Taiwan popular culture should be read within the contemporary social context of Taiwan, which has inherited 400 years of hybrid colonial history and seen the rapid development of both consumer society and democracy during the past 30 years. The hybridity of Taiwaneseness not only shaped the sense of Taiwaneseness through everyday practices of consumption and democracy, but also highlights a fundamental feature of Taiwan popular culture. It also shows how Taiwan has negotiated other cultures’ influences upon it. Influenced in the past by both China and Japan, and today by the global forces of modern Japan and the US, Taiwan popular culture can be said to be somewhere in between. Rather than passively accepting these cultures, Taiwan instead appropriates them and domesticates them by incorporating local features, and so transforms them into popular culture in and from Taiwan. The new concept of ‘Taiwan’ is thus a product of the negotiation between globality and locality, and is a hybrid of Chinese, Japanese and American cultures.Scholar numbers in the field of Taiwan popular culture studies are numerous and still growing. Popular culture studies in Taiwan can be divided into two significant academic trends; different disciplinary frameworks are applied to examine either locally oriented popular culture or transnational/East Asian popular culture. The ITSC aims to bring together scholars in this promising research area, to work together with relevant institutes and associations, and to carry out more projects, courses and studies in the near future.

The first East Asian Popular Culture Association Conference (EAPCA) was held in Taipei from September 1 to September 4, 2011. This conference was organized by East Asian Popular Culture Association (EAPCA), the ITSC, and the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, NTNU. At that meeting, scholars from eighteen nations delivered almost one hundred papers. The cooperation between three organizations brings in very lively and thoughtful discussion of the issues that participants developed. Following the inaugural conference of the East Asian Popular Culture Association, the timely topic of popular culture has been added as one of the center’s three research clusters.

Courses about popular culture are also developing. For examples, Dr. Yin C. Chuang’s courses, ‘Taiwan Popular Culture’ (http://twpopculture.blogspot.com) and ‘Taiwan Popular Music’ (http://popsong991.blogspot.com)’ are to lead students to read relevant materials of and discuss the issue of identity experienced in Taiwan popular culture. Both courses look into this issue through historical perspectives as well as the ways in which Taiwaneseness has been re-resented through different cultural forms, including popular music, cinema, popular Literature, betel-nuts beauties, electronic-fancy-float girls, shopping and queuing, wedding and portrait photography, adult films, comics and trendy Dramas, night markets, food culture and political consumerism in Taiwan.

In order to promote the study of Taiwan popular culture, the ITSC actively supports international conferences that represent the academic research on popular culture, provides links to publications & research articles and builds on an integrative database.

The Center welcomes donations to fund new research projects and to advance its research agenda. We encourage research institutions, nonprofit organizations and individuals to become involved in the Center’s future. Donors would contribute to our vital activities:

  • Fellowships open to international scholars
  • Fellowships open to graduate student research and learning
  • Support for visiting scholars
  • New program development
  • Interdisciplinary research projects

We are currently gathering research articles and databases that highlight themes in Taiwan popular culture. One of our designated areas of research is the history of postcards in Taiwan.

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