|Taiwan Studies in Ottawa, Canada’s Bilingual Capital|
|史國良 Scott Simon|
Taiwan Studies, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada
The University of Ottawa, which prides itself as being the world’s oldest and largest bilingual university in the world, is currently the location of a Taiwan Studies Chair financed by the ROC Ministry of Education. The University of Ottawa is an ideal place for a Taiwan Chair for several reasons. First of all, the university is historically an educational institution in service of Ontario’s Francophone community and has expertise in linguistic minority education. This makes it of interest for comparative thinking about Taiwan’s languages that are marginalized in university settings: Hakka, indigenous languages, and even Hokkien. Second, the University of Ottawa is undergoing a grassroots process of indigenization and decolonization, which augurs well for relations with scholars working on indigenous issues. Third, since Ottawa is located in Canada’s federal capital, Chair activities are open to Canadian diplomats, legislators, and other government official who would like to learn about Taiwan. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, U Ottawa is one of the world’s leading research-intensive comprehensive universities and opens its doors to wide collaboration with Taiwan.
The University of Ottawa has two professors who specialize in Taiwan Studies. Prof. André Laliberté, School of Political Studies, specializes in the rights of domestic caregivers, legal pluralism in the Sinicized cultural area, religious diversity, and the geopolitics of Buddhism. Prof. Scott Simon, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, with theoretical interests in indigenous rights, legal pluralism, and multispecies ethnography, does research in Taiwan with Truku and Seediq indigenous communities. Prof. Laliberté biannually takes U Ottawa undergraduate students to attend an intensive course at National Chengchi University. Prof. Simon biannually takes undergraduate students to National Dong Hwa University to study Taiwan’s indigenous issues from political and ecological perspectives.
Through the International Research Acceleration Program, the UO Office of International Research seeds research collaboration to a target set of 12 countries, including Taiwan. U Ottawa faculty work with Taiwan, not only in the humanities and social sciences, but also in such scientific fields as biotechnology, photonics, and nanotechnology. In 2015, U Ottawa signed an agreement with National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, and has also promised greater collaboration with National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), which has close ties to the Telfer School of Management. International exchange agreements are active with both National Taiwan University and NSYSU.
The Taiwan Research Chair at the University of Ottawa has funded M.A. field research in Taiwan, hosted three post-doctoral scholars, provided assistance for acquisition of Taiwan-related library materials, sponsored four years of lecture series on Taiwan, and organized special topics courses on Taiwan in political science, anthropology, and sociology.
During this roundtable, Prof. Simon will reflect upon the lessons that can be learned from four years of a Taiwan Chair at the University of Ottawa, with suggestions for deeper and more sustainable collaboration.