CfP: Revisiting the Cold War on Taiwan


Revisiting the Cold War on Taiwan

5th and 6th December, 2019 at the Wilson Center, Washington D.C.

Abstract submission Deadline: 25th August 2019

In scholarship of Taiwan during the Cold War, the agency and subjectivities of Taiwanese voices have often been overlooked. Cold War policies from 1945-1972 toward Taiwan were structured for the Republic of China, driven by US and Kuomintang (KMT) state and elite interests. Under Cold War-enabled authoritarianism and the White Terror, human rights and Taiwanese identities were written out. In the US and the Global South, communist China drew attention as an alternative for global anti-colonial/anti-imperial movements. Discussions of Taiwan as a result were defined from a PRC-centric narrative, denying Taiwanese liberation and democracy struggles in the post-WWII era.

High politics and great power perspectives often ignore the roles played by subaltern actors. Changing US-Taiwan and global conditions since the mid 1960s—US immigration reform in 1965, human rights diplomacy, the normalization of US-PRC relations in the 1970s, and the global anti-authoritarian and pro-democracy movements in the 1980s—all provided an opportunity for Taiwanese voices to emerge from the orthodox Cold War narrative. Meanwhile, migration and activism within and across borders challenged and redefined boundaries and nation building.

The purpose of this workshop is to invite scholars working on Cold War Taiwan to come together and discuss new approaches, frameworks as well as new archival sources to understand Taiwanese history. We invite submission and discussions to revisit this period of Taiwanese Cold War history and US-Taiwan relations through alternative lenses and voices. Submissions from history, sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, and especially junior scholars (advanced PhD candidates, postdoctoral scholars, non-tenure track faculty) are welcome.

Possible topics of papers include, but are not limited to:

  • Examining the effect of the global Cold War on Taiwanese peoples, society, and culture
  • Re-orienting US-Taiwan relations or Cold War history to focus on previously understudied voices, e.g. non-state actors, activists, indigenous peoples, immigrants, farmers, international/and transnational agents
  • Utilizing different approaches, i.e. violence, human rights, race and ethnicity, migration, environment, knowledge production, etc., to reinterpret the Cold War on Taiwan
  • Taiwan’s Cold War-era foreign relations (beyond the US), e.g. Taiwan-Latin America, Taiwan-Southeast Asia, Taiwan-Africa relations
  • Rethinking the Cold War on Taiwan through newly declassified archives from Taiwan and/or the US

A 500-word abstract and max. 250 word short biographical paragraph should be emailed as one document to by August 25th, 2019. Please also briefly describe the context of the project in the abstract, for example, if part of a larger manuscript project, edited volume, journal article, etc.

We will announce the successful submissions in early September. A 7000 to 8000-word paper will need to be pre-circulated to all participants one month before the conference. Each presenter is also expected to prepare a 20-minute presentation. Three nights of accommodation (shared for PhD students) and meals will be provided during the conference.

This workshop conveners include The Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Chengchi University Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, and the University of Washington Taiwan Studies Program.

For inquiries, please contact the organizers:
Chichi Peng:
James Lin:
Charles Kraus:
Guo-Sian Lin: