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Session A5
From David Schak to "Seeing through Hong Kong and Taiwan": Oral History of Ethnographers, Anthropological Reflections, and Comparative Perspectives
鄭肇祺 Siu Kei Cheng
Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Dr. Schak is an renown urban anthropologist specializing in poverty, business, and civility. Going back and forth Taiwan and China to conduct ethnographic research, Schak has developed his research interests on urban problems and social change. His religious mission back to the mid-20th century has been tied to America-Taiwan relationship. His comparative approach benefits from the opening of China and the transnational movement of the Taiwanese. In this presentation, I will compare the oral history records of Schak with the other interviewed scholars in the latest NATSA project. I will also review the autobiographical articles of Western scholars doing longitude fieldwork in Hong Kong and Taiwan. I argue that the particular history of ethnographic work on and in Taiwan and Hong Kong has provided a comparative perspective to facilitate our understanding of the political economy and cultural diversity of what we called the Greater China (which also includes the Chinese societies in Southeast Asia). I will also discuss how the rich body of literature has affected the training of anthropologists in South China and Taiwan. This reflection on scholarly training will help us find more effective ways to enhance Taiwan studies with qualitative, if not only ethnographic, research methodology. Reviewing the available resources in global Taiwan Studies, I further argue for the continuation of western scholars to visit Taiwan and Asia for ethnographic fieldwork, while Taiwanese scholars should be supported to conduct ethnographic research in “Western societies” to enrich the discussion of global Taiwan Studies. The comparative approach will strengthen the contributions of Taiwan Studies to the making of truly globalized social science and humanities