About the Project

The project, Discover Taiwan, aims at more focused promotion of the Taiwanese culture both in the academia and among the general public, within a two year span (2014-15). Up to now, only some Taiwan-related activities such as conferences, talks, workshops etc. have been sporadically organized by individual institutions with a rather limited impact. In contrast, our project proposes a series of activities, through which the Oriental Institute, in cooperation with other Czech universities and with the European Association of Taiwan Studies, will address diverse topics in different areas of research and culture to reach different target audiences. We will use the opportunity to share the expertise and skills of incoming scholars who will pay visits to more than one Czech institution of research and culture during their stay. In this way, we will make the best possible use of our funding and synergize the efforts of several institutions.

We opted for two target groups for our program: first, the Czech academia (scholars and students) and second, the general public. The Taiwanese culture still needs more active promotion in the Czech Republic, and closer familiarity among academics who act as multipliers of knowledge will lead to a broader dissemination of such knowledge throughout the society as a whole. On the other hand, purely academic discussions may only attract a limited audience, so we would like to propose topics of a broad and general appeal as well as cultural events such as a book exhibition, a discussion with a writer, and film screenings that are suited to a non-academic audience.

The project is sponsored by a grant Taiwan Spotlight (Ministry of Culture, R.O.C.) under the patronage of Dr. Samuel Yin.

Below follows a detailed outline of our objectives:

A) To attract Czech scholars from different fields of expertise to learn about the Taiwanese culture as a case study in the application of different methodological approaches (activity 1, 2, and 4).

These three activities are directed at different groups of scholars, who might find prospective partners for their academic collaboration and research.

  • Workshop: Digital Sinolgy and Taiwan Studies

Digital Humanities is a new, cutting-edge methodology that has officially been announced as a priority of future research activities at many institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The application of this methodology in the study of Chinese and Taiwanese culture will serve to identify new challenges and developments in this dynamic field. Our target audience will be both scholars from other fields, but also experts from the field of Chinese studies, sinology, and Taiwan studies.

  • The Roundtable is scheduled to fall between two big Taiwan-related events in Europe: The World Congress of Taiwan Studies to be held in London and the Annual Conference of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) to be held in Poland. We believe that the Roundtable will attract both participants of these international events and local scholars and supporters of Asian films. The Roundtable will be organized in cooperation with EATS and it will invite film-makers both from Taiwan and from Europe to discuss how and why they communicate scientific topics (in the broadest sense of the word) in their documentaries. We aim at attracting local documentary makers and film studies experts as well.

B) To arouse interest in Taiwan among students from different Czech universities

Although the activities of our project will be organized by the Oriental Institute in Prague, we would like to attract a geographically wider audience. In addition to students from universities in Prague (Charles University and Metropolitan University, graduate students from the Czech Academy of Sciences), we also intend to welcome students from Masaryk University in Brno (the second largest university in the country) and Palacký University in Olomouc (the third largest university). All aforementioned universities boast strong Asian Studies programs, which guarantees a good turnout of students.

C) To popularize the Taiwanese culture among the general public

The academic events of the program will be accompanied by an exhibition of recent Taiwanese and Chinese literature translated into Czech, which will be displayed at Palacký University.

  • We would like to invite a writer to launch a book at annual Book Fair to be held in Prague in May 2015.
  • A talk with one or two Taiwanese writers:
  • During theRoundtable organized by EATS with the presence of film-makers we plan to show documentaries dealing with environmental issues in Taiwan, which will be followed by discussion with the invited film-makers.
  • Some of the speakers will be asked to give public talks at other universities (cities) than the locations of the conference venues.