label r shifted
Session B2
Digital Humanities and the Study of Elites: Defining the Political Capital of Ruling Elites in Taiwan (1935–1950)
路丹妮 Táňa Dluhošová
Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
張隆志 Lung-chih Chang
Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Twentieth-century Taiwan presents the historian with a unique, complex situation in which three distinct political regimes were intertwined: the Japanese colonial regime, the Chinese Republican government, and the provincial government of Chen Yi. This presentation will demonstrate the usefulness of Digital Humanities approaches to social history—in particular the study of elites—by attempting to disambiguate the tessellated aspect of the early postwar political and administrative landscape. The study of elites in itself is not a novel topic, but we believe that the recent technological advances, methodological innovations, and digitization projects in Taiwan Studies will facilitate our endeavor to comprehensively synthesize variegated methodological perspectives in a still largely disparate research area. To arrive at a more multifaceted understanding, the paper will innovatively embrace perspectives from sociology, anthropology, political history, and even the study of literature. We will conduct multiple case studies in social network analysis based on data extracted from newly digitized sources and interpret the results from a variety of angles. Thus, the presentation does not only introduce a novel methodological approach and a new database, but also presents an integrated analysis of historical periods often studied apart from each other. The findings of this paper, both on a methodological and an analytical level, are therefore relevant to other, often disparate academic fields (sociology, history, and literature) and applicable to other geographical areas as well.

With the group of high-ranking officials (those employed at provincial-level administrative institutions) and local officials as our pilot sample, we shall carry out a quantitative study to identify the dynamics which facilitated this group's rise to power. In short, with the help of generalized linear model (e.g., regression) we aim to identify the foundations of their political capital. To this end, we will analyze the following relationships: office-kinship ties; office-education; office-literary activities; office-business ties; office-place of origin; office-affiliation with political entities. Our results will be grouped chronologically (1935-1945 and 1945-1949), allowing us to identify the dominant factors for success in officialdom in the respective period, which will shed light on historical changes in the socio-political power structure.

We will analyze the available data and construct a network of people, places, events, and other entities and relations between them. Data are encoded in OWL and stored in a graph database (Taiwan Biographical Ontology, TBIO), which will allow us to work with the data by applying well-established tools for ontology reasoning and graph analysis.


1.     Manually added data: Record of Officials of the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office 臺灣省行政長官公署各單位及臺北市各公共機關職員錄 (1946) and Taiwan shiren zhi 臺灣時人誌. (Zhang 2009 [1947])

2.     Yang Chien-ch’eng Database of Taiwanese Elites in the Japanese Colonial Period 楊建成日治時期台灣人仕紳資料庫 (1915–1942)

3.     For complementary biographical information we will draw on the Taiwan Diary Knowledge Bank of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica.

4.     In our analysis of cultural capital, we shall utilize catalogue information about publications by the contributors: the Catalogue of Taiwan Literature Journals 台灣文學期刊目錄 (1911-1959) provided by the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature.