2023 Spotlight Taiwan Seminar


Welcome to our 2023 Spotlight Taiwan Seminar. We have two speakers to shed light on interesting aspects of Taiwan’s history and politics. ALL WELCOMED.

Tuesday 26 September, 13:15-14:30 Helsinki Time

Venue: Room U3041 at the University of Helsinki Main Building

13:15 Introduction by Prof. Julie Yu-Wen Chen, University of Helsinki

13:20-13:40 The Uses of Cuteness: Gender, Identity Politics, and Elections in Taiwan (Associate Teaching Professor Hsin-I Sydney Yueh 岳心Department of CommunicationUniversity of Missouri-Columbia, USA)

One salient feature in Taiwan’s political campaigns is the use of cute elements. In this talk, Professor Hsin-I Sydney Yueh will introduce a cultural concept “sajiao” and explain how this prevalent communication style has been adopted by Taiwan’s politicians and government officials to compose their persuasive messages. Examples ranges from presidential elections, referendum rallies, and policy promotions conducted by the central and local governments. Based on ethnography and through the lens of cultural studies, Yueh will show the audience the formation of sajiao culture in Taiwan, and the implications of using this particular style in political communication. In addition to analyze the cute elements in Taiwan’s elections, she will also identify limitations of this particular strategy under China’s information warfare to Taiwan.

13:40-14:10 Taiwan, China, and the Cold War Refugees: Hong Kong, Dachen Islands, and Southeast Asia (Professor Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang 楊孟軒, Associate Professor of East Asian History, Department of History, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA)

Population displacement is a recurring theme in human history. During the Cold War, mass exodus became a weapon in the rhetorical battle for the hearts and minds. Influenced by Cold War politics, in the 1950s, the UNHCR defined refugees narrowly as people displaced across “national borders.” Moreover, international bureaucracy back then cared more about European displacement than Asian and African displacement. As a result, the world knows very little about the experiences of ordinary people displaced by the Chinese Civil War and the ensuing Cold War in Asia. Prof. Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang’s talk will focus on three different cases of mainland exodus from China to Taiwan during the 1950s: Hong Kong, the Dachen Islands (Zhejiang, China), and Burma.

14:10-14:30 Discussions

Spotlight Taiwan Helsinki 2023 is organized by Department of Cultures at University of Helsinki with the financial support of Taiwan’s Ministry of Cultures. More about our events can be found here