Reading Taiwan, Living Taiwan, Understanding Taiwan2015/10/1~2018/9/30
  • Project Description

    Our Taiwan Program  provides the following opportunities to students and researchers, and  the  broader  public: “Reading Taiwan” - offers a series of lectures, performances, workshops, and specialized courses on Taiwanese history, society, and culture, and a language course teaching the Taiwanese language, i.e. “Taiwanese Hokkien“ or “Taiyu”; “Living Taiwan” - offers support to spend time in Taiwan to undertake small or large research projects, or engage in teaching exchanges with Taiwan; thereby offering different perspectives for “Understanding Taiwan”.

  • Outcome Feature Description

    The Taiwanese language courses are very special as the students learn how to recite poetry and act in budaixi theatre. A relatively small number of students attend these classes, and they perform at various occasions, for example at the Lunar New Year celebrations .

    Our regular Taiwan Lecture Series or Virtual Classrooms provide insights into as many aspects of both contemporary and historical Taiwan as possible. The lectures are integrated with the regular Taiwan Seminar taught at Heidelberg’s Institute of Chinese Studies, but they are also open to the public, especially when combined with artistic performances, exhibitions, or film screenings. During the first year of the Taiwan Studies Program, we held: 1. a special three-day lecture series on Taiwan Music and Culture; 2. a workshop on the life and work of Lai Ho, also known as Loa Ho, who has been called the “father of modern Taiwanese literature”; 3. a virtual classroom on Taiwan Literature; and 4. a three-day lecture series which the writer, essayist and cultural critic Lung Ying-tai participated in. Each part of this lecture series/virtual classroom was very well received, both within the Institute of Chinese Studies, and by the broader public:

    1. Taiwan Music Lecture Series (October 2015) Taiwan Music, Past and Present Activities This included several concert performances, a presentation of Chinese instruments, and a tea tasting ceremony and lecture. The concerts took place in the Ethnographical Museum ( Völkerkundemuseum) and the Great Hall of the University (Alte Aula der Universität). They were each attended by a large international audience.

    The tea tasting ceremony and lecture was conducted in the Institute of  Chinese Studies. It was attended by members of the Heidelberg public and by all of our first-year students. The students, who had just started their language classes, were immediately intrigued by the wealth of Taiwan Culture.

    1. Workshop Forging Literary Memory in Taiwan: The Commemoration of Writers in Museum Space (展示作家:博物館空間形塑的台灣文學記憶學術研討會)

    In December 2015, this interdisciplinary workshop was held to bring together scholars from Taiwan and Europe who are engaged in literary studies, history, and/or memory studies. The workshop, which included a concert, and a recitation of some of Lai Ho’s work, with student translations, was held at the Ethnographical Museum ( Völkerkundemuseum)  in Heidelberg. It was very well attended by several dozen people.

    A film of the event which includes the students’ performance of their own translations of Lai Ho’s poetry and a performance by professional actor Katharina Schütz, and a concert with Wu Yi-jui, the winner of the Lai Ho music competition, along with the workshop program, posters, and abstracts can all be seen here:

    http://www.asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de/en/research/conferences/taiwan-lecture-seri es-workshop.html.

    1. Virtual Classroom Taiwan literature and the making of Female Consciousness

    This seminar was conducted in January 2016 in collaboration with Prof. Wang Yu-ting, 王鈺婷from Tsing-hua University, Taiwan. It was attended by a group of a dozen students from the Institute of Chinese Studies and the MA Transcultural Studies program. Recordings of all of these lectures can be found here:

    http://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/sinologie/research/tls/taiwanlec1516_de.html

    1. The Taiwan Literature Lecture Series Re-Reading Gender and Politics in Taiwan in Memory and Practice 重讀台灣記憶與實踐中的性別及政治

    was held in July 2016. It included a joint close reading and analysis of Lung Ying-tai’s work Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949. Students actively participated in creating short literary translations from Big River, Big Sea to be performed in a public recitation. The lecture series and the performance were enormously well-attended. They brought together almost all the Chinese and Taiwanese scholars, and interested members of the public from in and around Heidelberg, and scholars from as far away as Darmstadt, Tübingen, Berlin and Frankfurt who came to Heidelberg especially for this event. Recordings of all the lectures open to the public and the student performance of their translation of Lung Ying-tai’s work are available here:

    http://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/sinologie/research/tls/taiwanlec16_de.html

     

    Between 1 OCTOBER, 2016 to 30 SEPTEMBER, 2017, the Institute of Chinese Studies in Heidelberg has implemented the following activities:
    (1) Taiwanese language courses
    Taiwanese Language classes have been taught by Dr. Thomas Wang 王志宏 with his wife Kaja Müller-Wang 梅開雅. The classes included students being taught Taiwanese by learning how to recite poetry and how to discuss Taiwan film. Students were able to meet with members of the Taiwan association and film maker Hou Hsiao-hsien as well as his script writer Chu Tien-wen.

    (2) Taiwan Lecture Series or Virtual Classrooms
    Scholars from different partner institutions—Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University, etc. but also European specialists on Taiwan (e.g. from SOAS or Tübingen or the US)— and Taiwanese artists, writers, film makers, calligraphers, and musicians are regularly invited to Heidelberg through the Taiwan Lecture Series scheme. They either lecture in person or they participate in a Virtual Classroom. Their lectures are recorded and made available on the project website. They provide insights into as many aspects of both contemporary and historical Taiwan as possible, covering a broad range of Taiwan-related topics and issues, in such fields as politics, economics, history, society, literature, and the arts. The lectures are integrated with a regular Taiwan Seminar taught at Heidelberg’s Institute of Chinese studies, but they are also open to the public, especially when combined with artistic performances, exhibitions, or film screenings.
    This year we were able to organize the Taiwan Lecture Series in two parts,
    a. as a special lecture series on Taiwan documentary film makers and Taiwan film culture,
    b. as a film marathon with film maker Hou Hsiao-Hsien and his script writer Chu Tien-wen who came to Heidelberg personally in May 2017.
    Each part of the lecture series was very well received both within the Institute of Chinese Studies and by the broader public:
    a. Lecture Series “Taiwan in Film” (Winter Semester 2016/17):
    In the Winter Semester, our Taiwan Lecture Series featured documentary and fictional films from Taiwan in the long twentieth century—from contemporary times back to the period of Japanese rule. The Lecture Series featured some of the most representative works of Taiwan’s best film directors (Wei Te-sheng, Yang Dechang, Hou Hsiao-hsien). All of these films were selected as they reflect social developments and value transformations in Taiwan. The Lecture Series also featured three documentary films and invited the three young film makers as visitors to Heidelberg and to the seminar. Their documentaries provided the students with each a different glimpse into a very personal story. From every one of these documentaries, we were able to understand another slice of the social stratum in Taiwan—from elite lawyer to comfort woman— as well as the impact of politics in Taiwan. 

    (3) Workshop
    Around Pentecost (mid-May 2018) a workshop and concert series including a new composition by Taiwan composer CHEN Cheng-Wen (陳政文), born in 1980 in Nantou, will be performed by the Junge Kantorei in Heidelberg and Frankfurt in their series Neues Hören. This series is intended to allow the audience to hear well familiar music from the repertoire, in our case, Handel’s Messiah, with new ears, in a new context. This time, two composers from different religious traditions, Chen Cheng-Wen being one of them, have been asked to reconsider the Messiah as a prophet figure, musically and philosophically, from their particular cultural and religious backgrounds. For this purpose we have commissioned Chen Cheng-Wen (and, from another budget, also another composer from the Arabian tradition) each to produce about 30 minutes of intermittent music and text in dialogue with certain extracts from Handel’s Messiah (which uses bible texts as its base). A nanguan-ensemble from Taiwan will come to perform in Chen’s musical interludes.
    The concert series will be preceded by a workshop entitled Messiah-Zarathustra-Mohammed-Laozi-Buddha: Prophets in a global context to take place in a cooperation between the universities of Heidelberg and Frankfurt. The workshop will be devoted to teasing out how different Messiah figures have appeared in the global context and how their thoughts, ideas, and their imagemaking differ or overlap. The workshop will include a discussion with the two composers. 

    (4) Scholarship Support for students, and 1 or 2 staff members

    Two graduate students went to Taiwan this year, Ann-Kathrin Dethlefsen (1 week) and Giulia Merker (6 months). In addition, two teachers went to Taiwan for research and advanced training:
    Dr. Wilfried Spaar left at the end of August 2016, spending 6 weeks in Taiwan, testing and acquiring new teaching materials and filming a number of events and localities as illustrations for our textbook lessons for the first year course.

     

    Between 1 OCTOBER, 2017 to 30 SEPTEMBER, 2018, the Institute of Chinese Studies in Heidelberg has engaged in the following activities:
    (1) Taiwanese language courses
    Taiwanese Language classes have been taught by Dr. Thomas Wang 王志宏 with his wife Kaja Müller-Wang 梅開雅. Students were being taught Taiwanese first by learning how to converse in typical Taiwanese “situations”, then, how to read poetry and eventually also how to sing and perform in Taiwanese. In the second semester, the students prepared a puppet performance. Students also attended some of the lectures, concerts and film screeings offered through the Taiwan lecture series.

    (2) Taiwan Lecture Series or Virtual Classrooms
    In our Taiwan Lecture Series, Scholars from different partner institutions—Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University, etc. but also European specialists on Taiwan (e.g. from SOAS or Tübingen or the US)—and Taiwanese artists, writers, film makers, calligraphers, and musicians are invited to Heidelberg. They either lecture in person or they participate in a Virtual Classroom. Their lectures are recorded and made available on the project website
    (https://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/sinologie/research/tls/index.html). A database of all recorded lectures is also being built (https://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/sinologie/research/tls/db_de.html). The lectures provide insights into as many aspects of both contemporary and historical Taiwan as possible, covering a broad range of Taiwan-related topics and issues, in such fields as politics, economics, history, society, literature, and the arts. They are integrated with a regular Taiwan Seminar taught at Heidelberg’s Institute of Chinese studies, but they are also open to the public, especially when combined with artistic performances or film screenings.

    The first highlight of this year’s Taiwan Lecture Series was a series of concerts and lectures in February 2018: entitled “Magic Flutes in East and West—Zauberflöten in Ost und West,” featuring Taiwan flutist Chung-Sheng Chen who played a series of concerts on traditional and European flutes together with the German-Taiwanese Trio Piazolla in Munich, Tübingen, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, with additional performancs in Freiburg and Würzburg. The ensemble went on to hold a series of concerts in Taiwan in March and April of 2018.
    Each of the 6 concerts in Germany was introduced by an hour-long workshop by the musicians, introducing Chinese flutes to the audience. In Heidelberg, Prof. Barbara Mittler, also presented some thoughts on the magic flute as a transcultural phenomenon.

    The second part of this year’s Summer Taiwan Lecture Series was devoted to the topic Ethnicity, Identity and Marginality in Taiwan—Multimedial Reflections. Part of the lecture series was held in cooperation with the SOAS Taiwan Studies Program. We jointly introduced an important Taiwan film maker, one novel writer, and several scholars from Taiwan. For the film screenings, we continued our fruitful cooperation with the local cinema, Karlstorbahnhof. The students taking the seminar in Heidelberg also attended a workshop and performance of Händel’s Messiah in a recomposition that included Taiwan composer Chen Cheng-wen and the Beiguan Water Stage Ensemble.
     

    (3) Workshops
    Around Pentecost, a workshop and concert series including a new composition by Taiwan composer CHEN Cheng-Wen (陳政文), born in 1980 in Nantou, was performed by the Junge Kantorei in Heidelberg and Frankfurt in their series Neues Hören (http://www.junge-kantorei.de/konzerte/chorkonzerte/). This series is intended to allow the audience to hear well familiar music from the repertoire, in a new context, or with “new ears”. In this case, we chose Handel’s Messiah.
    Two composers from different religious traditions, Chen Cheng-Wen being one of them, had been asked to reconsider the Messiah as a prophetic figure, musically and philosophically, from their particular cultural and religious backgrounds.
    For this purpose we had, already last year, commissioned Chen Cheng-Wen (and, from another budget, Ali Gorji) each to produce about 30 minutes of intermittent music and text in dialogue with certain extracts from Handel’s Messiah (which uses bible texts as its base). A nanguan-ensemble from Taiwan was included in Chen’s composition. The two world premiere concerts took place on May 20, in Frankfurt, Festsaal im Casinogebäude, Campus Westend der Universität and on May 21, 2018, in Heidelberg, Neue Aula der Universität. The concert series was preceded by a workshop entitled Messias-Zarathustra-Laozi-Buddha: Prophetie und Messiasgestalten im globalen Kontext (Messiah-Zarathustra-Mohammed-Laozi-Buddha: Prophecy and Messiah-Figures in a global context) which was organized as a cooperation between the universities of Heidelberg and Frankfurt. The workshop took place on May, 12 2018, Casino-Gebäude der Goethe-Universität zu Frankfurt. It was devoted to teasing out what kinds of Messiah figures have appeared in the global context and how their thoughts, ideas, and their image-making differs or overlaps. The workshop included a discussion with the two composers. The concerts, too, were each introduced by a roundtable with the two composers. Both the workshop and the concerts were attended by a sizeable number of students, researchers and the interested public and we were happy to have guests from the Berlin Taiwan Office visit the events, too!