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Mission and Objectives

Mission and Objectives
The International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), based at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU), in Hsinchu, was established in 2013. ICCS is an inter-university academic institution and research center, bridging four major universities participating in the University System of Taiwan (UST), namely National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University and National Central University. This network started in 2003, involving 80 scholars and featuring four research clusters: Critical Studies and Asian Modernity, Contemporary Thought Trends and Social Movement, Gender/Sexuality Studies, and Visual Cultural Studies.
Starting from 2018, ICCS is now launching a five year project funded by the Ministry of Education through the SPROUT Project: Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies.
OUR MISSION: The mission of ICCS is to promote and cultivate cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that addresses critical issues related to the current and future concerns of Asian societies in a regional and global context.
OUR GOAL: Situated in Taiwan, our goal will be to establish the ICCS as a leading research center for the development of critical studies of inter-Asian societies through geo-political, socio-historical and cultural-literary-artistic analysis. We aim to provide opportunities to scholars, post-graduate students, NGOs and creative artists around the world to visit and interact with researchers to work on common interests and agendas.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of ICCS’s theme, Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies, is to investigate urgent questions related to different forms of conflict, injustice and the possibilities of knowledge decolonization mutually affecting Asian societies. This main theme highlights five subprojects:
The Politics of Memory and the Art of Governance: Inter-Asian Studies on State, Society, Ethnicity and History
(2) The Ongoing Shadow of Post/Cold War Cultures on Inter-Asia Knowledge Decolonization
(3) The Emerging Political Economy of the 21st Century: The New Rise of China, Neoliberalism, and Neocolonialism
(4) Aging Modernity, Reconfiguration of Urban Space, Migration and Subalternity
(5) Toward a Society of Equality and Coexistence in the Inter-Asian Context: Civic Participation, Legal Reform, Social and Artistic Intervention, Trans-local Free Association
PROJECT BACKGROUND: In the post-Cold War era, one has witnessed radical changes associated with the expansion of multinational corporations, global financial restructuring, and the advent of neoliberal regimes. The blurring of national borders is in fact a cover for deeper transformations in the nature of the local economy, regional relationships, new geopolitical practices and ecological environments.
On the one hand, the immediate effects on local societies include widening economic inequality, large-scale proletarianization, increased low-wage labor migration, forced eviction and land expropriation under the rubric of urban renewal and national development, the emergence of neo-racism and neo-nationalism in the populist sphere, ethnic segregation, revival of slavery, rampant environmental pollution, etc. On the other hand, machinations of power on a regional and global scale, especially along the Pacific Rim, in both East and Southeast Asia, have been precipitated by a rising China and its expansionist One Belt, One Road strategy to forge a new world network, the repositioning of U.S. interests in Asia and the balance of trade with China, tensions in the South China Sea and over North Korea, the realignment of power among ASEAN nations, the ongoing uncertainty with regard to PRC-Taiwan cross-strait relations, etc.
These various conflicts, both overt and potential, did not occur just in the 21st century. These politico-economic frictions, rivalries and animosities have formed over a long history, from Cold War ideological tensions, exacerbated by colonial rule and World Wars, over a pre-existing landscape of feudal societies and celestial empires. This framework of culture, society and polity forms a complex template for the critical study of Asian societies and their formative interactions to the present.

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International Center for Cultural Studies at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University aims to become an influential institution for inter-Asia critical studies for Taiwan and international academics across the humanities and social sciences. Our center brings together researchers across departments and institutions, with experts in sociology, anthropology, economic history, political philosophy, the history of thought, material history, gender studies, discourse analysis, and artistic practice. Our interdisciplinary researchers work together on the joint project of “Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies of Inter-Asian Societies.” We are a team of 36 researchers, and we are currently working on five subprojects and 36 topics:
  1. The Politics of Memory and the Art of Governance: Inter-Asian Studies on State, Society, Ethnicity, and History
  2. Inter-Asian Decolonization of Knowledge under the Shadow of Post/Cold War Culture
  3. The Emerging Political Economy of the 21st Century: The New Rise of China, Neoliberalism, and Neocolonialism
  4. Aging Modernity, Reconfiguration of Urban Space, Migration and Subalternity
  5. Toward a Society of Equality and Coexistence in the Inter-Asian Context: Civic Participation, Legal Reform, Social and Artistic Intervention, Trans-local Free Association
Through these projects, we hope to pursue four goals: outreach, connection, cultivation, and practice. Our strategies for the year 2019 are as follows:
1. Establish an international network, build an alliance with international research institutes, and reinforce international collaboration
  • Reinforce partnership with international research institutes: Through funding provided by The Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) and the Mellon Foundation, we are able to collaborate with 7 international academic institutes, 25 international scholars, and 7 allied institutes to develop the Global Humanities Institute (2019-2020) project: “Migration, Global Logistics, and Unequal Citizens in Contemporary Global Context.” We will host two meetings in Vietnam and Malaysia to organize the CHCI-GHI Summer School in 2020: Migration, Logistics, and Unequal Citizens in Contemporary Global Context.
  • Continue signing research and teaching MOUs with foreign institutes: We will continue our collaboration with foreign institutes and will sign new NOUs on research and teaching exchange. Currently, MOUs with 17 international institutes are underway.
  • Co-organize international academic activities: We will co-organize international lectures, workshops, and lecture series, as well as an international summer school titled “The Island” in Greece, which we will co-host with Ici et ailleurs: Association pour une Philosophie Nomade in 2020.
2. Invite distinguished international scholars to foster a global research environment
  • Yushan Scholars: Dr. Alain Brossat is currently a researcher in residence. He performs research, teaches courses, advises doctoral and MA students, invites renowned international scholars to visit our center, and helps establish international collaborations.
  • International scholars in residence: Invite distinguished foreign professors to visit as scholars-in-residence and to teach courses.
  • Short-term international visiting scholars: Invite distinguished international scholars to take short-term residences or to stay as visiting lecturers to promote the exchange of ideas.
3. Cultivate talents, fulfill educational goals, train future leaders in academic and professional roles
  • Postdoctoral researchers: Invite outstanding local and international postdoctoral researchers to execute our research projects and to assist with administrative tasks associated with the projects.
  • Short-term visits for international students: Following our TEEP project, we continue to accept foreign graduate students to visit, especially students from affiliated institutes, so as to attract outstanding international students to study in Taiwan.
  • Recruitment of international students: The Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, which our center supports, has 26 international students among 50 Ph.D. students, and 15 international students among 45 Master’s students. The International Master’s Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (IACS) has 23 international students among 52 Master’s students. These international students participate in class activities, and perform research alongside local students, fostering a global learning environment.
  • Graduate Student Research Archive Project: Our graduate students’ digital research archive project, titled “Conflict, Justice, Decolonization: Critical Studies of Inter-Asian Society,” allows both international and local students to participate in our research projects at the center. This project encourages students to learn from each other, trains students in their research and writing skills, and strengthens international academic connections by establishing an global platform for sharing research resources.
  • Research projects and international workshops organized by graduate students: Following our strategies from last year’s student-run “Where the People Are? Workshop on People's Theatre in Inter-Asian Society,” we will assist students in organizing a new “Muslim Film Festival.” Through the collaboration between international and local students, we will hold reading groups and preparatory meetings to launch the “Muslim International Film Festival 2020” through international cooperation.
  • Cross-campus collaboration: Through the platform provided by the University System of Taiwan, instructors from all four universities collaborate on our International Master’s Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (IACS), which facilitates cross-campus collaboration and exchange of ideas for both students and instructors.
4. Facilitate dialogues between academia and society, promote diversity in knowledge production, and implement social practice
  • Stranger Cooperation: This workshop is organized by 12 local and international students and is based in Dongmen Market, Hsinchu. The workshop motto is “to promote cultural exchange across classes and the barriers between the local and the international by creating a new landscape in the market from cultures of different classes and locations.” This workshop explores issues surrounding the proletariat in different societies, including migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, gender inequality, environmental justice, and the social support system. Stranger Cooperation also publishes zines as e-books to circulate these discussions and to promote everyday dialogues between academics and citizens.
  • Forums on migrant worker rights: We provide a platform for researchers from our project, legal professionals, and NGO organizations worldwide to discuss migrant worker rights.
  • Sixth Fuel Factory Project and artistic intervention: The Hsinchu Living Museum project turns Hsinchu’s postwar relic Sixth Fuel Factory into a site for artistic intervention into community building, ecological surveillance through smart technologies, and a reconstruction of the historical landscape through a hybrid of textual/historical field research and augmented reality. This project encourages the active participation of Hsinchu citizens and the global public.
5. Academic publishing in books, journals, and articles
  • Continue to promote the publication of books and journal articles.
  • Continue to support journals such as Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Router, and Renjian Thought Review.
  • Online publication: Working Paper Series.
6. Strengthen the various functions of our website: https://iccs.chss.nycu.edu.tw/