Department Lecture: Reconsidering and Re-Framing Taiwan and its History: Aborigines, Colonial Rulers and Democratization
The Department of Political Science presents a Lecture:
“Reconsidering and Re-Framing Taiwan and its History: Aborigines, Colonial Rulers and Democratization”
Professor J. Bruce Jacobs
Wednesday April 26th, 2017, 4:00-6:00 pm
Henry F. Hall Building, room 1220, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West
J. Bruce Jacobs is Emeritus Professor of Asian Languages and Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where he began teaching in 1991. His research has focused on Taiwan, China, comparisons between Taiwan and Korea as well as such issues as Australian relations with Asia and human rights. In the early 1990s, Professor Jacobs served as a member of the Australia-China Council. His recent books on Taiwan include Local Politics in Rural Taiwan under Dictatorship and Democracy (Norwalk, CT: EastBridge, 2008), Democratizing Taiwan (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), and The Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016). He has also edited the four-volume Critical Readings on China-Taiwan Relations (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014). Professor Jacobs has also co-edited and contributed to Changing Taiwanese Identities (London and New York: Routledge, 2017, in press.) His current project is A History of Taiwan.
Abstract: Although Chinese, such as Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, insisted that Taiwan had been part of China since time immemorial, in fact both only claimed Taiwan as a part of China in 1942. Genuine historical research (as opposed to political “historical” research) demonstrates that no permanent Han Chinese communities existed in Taiwan until after 1624, when the Dutch arrived and imported Han Chinese for labor.
Looking back, we can frame Taiwan’s history into three large periods. The first period dates from about 6,000 years ago to the arrival of the Dutch in 1624. During this period aboriginal groups lived in Taiwan and conducted considerable trade with Southeast Asia. The second period comprises six colonial regimes with rule by outsiders in the interests of the outsiders: the Dutch (1624-1662), the Spanish in north Taiwan at the same time as the early Dutch period (1626-1642), the Zheng family (1662-1683), the Manchus (1683-1895), the Japanese (1895-1945) and the authoritarian Chinese Nationalist regime under Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo (1945-1988). The third period is democratization following the death of Chiang Ching-kuo in January 1988.
This historical analysis enables us to explain current political phenomena in Taiwan such as rapidly increasing Taiwan identity.