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Jens Damm - Taiwan’s Ethnicities

The Perspective from Mainland China

Taiwan Studies have become the vogue in Taiwan, where they are mainly associated with “Taiwanese subjectivity” (Taiwan zhutixing) and issues of identity. Especially ethnic identity and the idea of four main ethnic groups play an important role in research, but also in the self-understanding of Taiwan’s citizen. Taiwan Studies in Mainland China on the other hand are seen as providing knowledge about the “renegade province” in order to smooth the path towards unification, a much focus is laid on a common “Han Chinese identity” of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. This lecture will analyze in more details changes and probably convergences on identity research about Taiwan taking into account the recent contacts that have been established between scholars on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Nevertheless, the difficulties inherent in bringing the two sides together as a result of current political considerations will not left out and it is asked to what degree research results in Mainsland China Taiwan studies tend to be subordinated to the current political line.


Jens Damm is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan. He is also a board member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies and a Research Associate with the ERCCT, the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan, University of Tübingen. His research is mainly focused on discourses on gender and ethnicity-related issues in Taiwan, Greater China including the People’s Republic of China, and on the impact of new communication technologies. He is the author of Homosexuality and Society in Taiwan: 1945 to 1995 (2003) and co-editor of Chinese Cyberspaces (Routledge 2006, co-edited with Simona Thomas). His most recent publications are Taiwanese Identity in the 21st Century (co-edited with Gunter Schubert), “Whither Taiwanization?” (Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 2011, co-edited with Yoshihisa Amae) and European Perspectives on Taiwan (VS Springer 2012, co-edited with Paul Lim). Jens Damm is currently involved in a research project on “Cross-Strait Cyberspace,” investigating the perceptions of the Taiwanese within cross-Strait cyberspace (see Jens Damm, “The Cross-Strait Perception of the Taiwanese in Cyberspace,” Zixun shehui yanjiu, 21, July 2012, pp. 55-82).

Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0
Lastupdate: 05.10.2014 - 12:03