A digital version of Brill Academic Publishers’ Taiwan Encyclopedia is to be uploaded in November, which would be the first time an international publishing house has published an encyclopedia focused on the nation.
The Netherlands-based publishing house said it decided to publish the Taiwan Encyclopedia due to growing demand among academics and others in the international community to understand Taiwan, adding that it is interested in Taiwan-related research.
Brill asked Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology adjunct research fellow Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌) to be the editor-in-chief of the encyclopedia.
Photo courtesy of Vox Nativa Association
He started work on the publication in September 2020.
The encyclopedia explores Taiwan through 14 fields, including international relations, sociology, archeology, linguistics, women’s studies, indigenous studies, music, movies, literature and history, Hsiao said.
It is different from the Ministry of Culture-sponsored Encyclopedia of Taiwan, which was available online until June 2014, when the platform no longer accepted changes made by the public, he said.
Each article in the Brill encyclopedia is to be written by academics, Hsiao said, adding that it has more than 600 articles so far.
Brill publishing an academic-level encyclopedia on Taiwan shows that the nation has “built up enough credit” to have a say on matters of importance to the academic community worldwide, he said.
No Chinese author is on the writing team, because China lacks academics who seriously study Taiwan, Hsiao said.
“Beijing has never treated research on Taiwan as a scholarly pursuit, but as a means to control Taiwan,” he added.
From as early as 1990, Taiwanese embarked on Taiwan studies that were not influenced by Chinese interpretations, and after 30 years of hard work, Taiwan studies is a unique academic field, separate from that of sinology or Chinese studies, he said.
There are more than 20 academic departments conducting research on Taiwan, as well as dedicated international journals, Hsiao said, adding that there are more than 20 Taiwan study centers around the world.
“We may not be able to make political statements on the international stage, but in academia, Taiwan is making a name for itself,” Hsiao said.
The Brill encyclopedia is the final piece needed to establish Taiwan studies as its own academic field, he added.
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