The creation and evolution of Taiwan studies has greatly benefited from the contribution of the social sciences, which have played and continue to play a leading role. In the variegated field of Taiwan studies, though, a less evident but still very significant role has been played also by the arts and humanities, and by literary studies in particular. As a matter of fact, the significant results of literary research focused on Taiwan are evident to any researcher engaged in Chinese studies at large.
The aim of this paper is thus to assess the state of Taiwan studies in Europe with reference to literature and other related research fields in the arts and humanities. The paper will concentrate on literary research on Taiwan as seen through its presence at the European Association of Taiwan Studies annual conferences, thus taking into consideration the representativeness of the Association and its role in mirroring the situation of research on Taiwan literature in Europe and at the same time in stimulating it. In particular, this will be done by examining the conference papers presented at EATS conferences from the first one in 2004 to the most recent one in 2018. The way panels for the arts and humanities have been organized, the number of participants from these fields, the countries where they do their research and the content of the papers can indeed provide the opportunity to assess the situation of Taiwan studies in Europe, with reference to these research areas.
A further step will be the analysis of the publications that in some cases have followed the conferences: for the long lasting impact of publications, this will be a different set of data which should prove useful in observing the contribution of EATS to the development of Taiwan Studies in Europe. The set of data collected and analyzed will be commented upon drawing a picture of the way literary studies dedicated to Taiwan have evolved in Europe, and at the same time showing the potential of the field.