The following ongoing projects/clusters have not been formally organized into centers; the boundaries among them are porous, and some scholars could be listed under more than one. We have laid out these ongoing proejcts/clusters as they appear below in the interests of best highlighting our department’s overall research strengths and directions.
- Literary Studies and Theory
Our department has considerable strength in Anglopohone and Sinophone literary and cultural studies combined with theoretical and conceptual inquiry, at times incorporating a historical perspective that links this cluster to the following one.
With a group of international scholars, Yi Peng has participated in the production of a digital archive to serve as a platform for manuscript studies, and his long-standing research in this field has culminated in a forthcoming monograph on modern manuscript research, THCI core journal publication, and a continuous three-year MOST research grant. Yeh Te-hsuan’s research on affect and aesthetics has led to prolific recent publication (i.e., two journal articles and two book chapters since 2017) in high profile venues, after, in 2016, editing a special issue of The Wenshan Review on East Asian theories of affect. His research on affect has also received MOST funding support. Spencer Lin teaches Shakespeare and researches exchange and power in relation to early modern conceptions of the body and personhood; at Taiwan’s largest academic associations for English and American literature and Medieval and Renaissance literatures, he has recently presented two conference papers on contract and exchange, and power, pain and violence in Dr. Faustus. Our senior faculty member Percy Kuo teaches Romantic and Victorian literature, and has published on Wordsworth (TSCCI). David Barton has recently published an experimental text, part fiction and part theory, entitled Lazar and Leper (Cave Books) which has a multimedia version (text, image, music) published on YouTube. As is true for his previous publications, its originality has been well-reviewed; this time his work was noted in the Taipei Times as “an intellectual comic-strip journey through the psychotic imagination of Taiwan’s expat Samuel Beckett.”
- Cross-Disciplinary Cultural Studies
A cohort of faculty who have joined our department in the twenty-first century have been able to take advantage of the university and college institutional support for junior faculty in the form of reduction of classes, and have produced solid discipline-based comparatist work as well as engaged cross-disciplinary studies (in addition to the scholars listed below, this cohort also includes Jonathan Yeh Te-hsuan in literary studies and Darcy Sperlich in linguistics). All use a historically informed method to study literary and cultural texts, while the major object of their study can be literary/cultural, social, and/or historical. They have each published prolifically in the most established and high profile international journals in their fields and have excellent MOST records (see accompanying materials). Peng-yi Tai was trained in the critical cultural studies of the Frankfurt School. Her research revolves around the labor and aesthetics of animation, including Disney traditional animation, Pixar and the knowledge economy, and zombie crowd simulation and post-Fordism. Recently she focuses on animation and the political economy of media conglomerates. She has published in Chung-Wai Literary Review and Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Grace Hui-chuan Wu has taken the approach of interdisciplinary literary studies to delineate the development of human rights culture in Taiwan in relation to Southeast Asian (im)migrant narratives. Through the lenses of comparative genre studies, disability studies, and affective politics, her research reads Southeast Asian (im)migrant narratives as a site of struggle and contestation where inter-Asian labor migration and immigration reshape and redefine Inter-Asian relations in the post-Cold War era. By focusing on the cultural politics of representation, the institutionalization of Southeast Asian (im)migrant literature, the biopolitics of Southeast Asian (im)migrants, and the formation of new social relations, her research explores how Southeast Asian (im)migrant narratives mediate and intervene the knowledge production of global labor migration and racial capitalism. Chien-Ting Lin researches the development of what he terms “medical modernity” in Taiwan, drawing connections between Taiwan cultural studies and critical American studies with a method that combines historical research, textual analysis and ethnography. He has published in the international journals Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Review of International American Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and in Taiwan Radical Quarterly and two of his recent conference papers have won awards, one from the American Studies Association and one from the International American Studies Association. Yu-Ching Wu focuses on medieval romance, Chaucer, and the History of Emotions. His doctoral dissertation, Alle Schalle Be Wele? In Search of Unhappy Emotions in Middle English Romances, calls attention to the precarious nature of the happy ending trope typically observed in the corpus of Middle English metrical romance produced between 1250s-1300s. By re-calibrating the issue via the rhetoric of emotions, his work seeks to deconstruct the optimistic façade of romance—the feeling of “bliss”—by highlighting its interplay with other emotional dissidents, such as jealousy, grief, anger, and alienation. Laura Pérez is a Mexican philosopher interested in questions and debates intersecting the philosophy of perception, aesthetics and social ontology, such as: “What is the nature of our perceptual experiences of the social world?” “What is the constitution of institutional aesthetics?” And, “How does corruption visually appear?” Laura has published articles on social vision and visual attention, and the problems of perception. Currently, she is finalizing the co-edition of a volume of recent work on the Gibsonian notion of affordances. Her framing of certain philosophical problems has coexisted with an interest in furthering public and collective philosophy and bilingual philosophical inquiry.
Our faculty includes two linguistics scholars whose research, taken together, covers several of the diverse fields within this discipline. Both have published prolifically, have excellent records with MOST and other funding sources, and maintain international research connections.
Emma Mei-Ya Liang works in the fields of socio-cognitive linguistics, computer-mediated communication, intercultural discourse studies, and multimodal narrative analysis. Her research in these areas, including a 2016 position as visiting scholar at the University of Edinburgh, have resulted in recent publications on multimodal discourse and narrative analysis published in the SSCI journals ReCALL and Language and Communication as well as in the International Journal of Society, Culture and Language and Classroom Discourse. These accomplishments were recognized by the NCU outstanding research award. Darcy Sperlich specializes in theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, anaphora, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and experimental linguistics. He is a prolific writer, and since 2015 he has published five journal articles, three in SSCI journals, and two book chapter articles collected in books published by Rutledge and Oxford University Press. In addition to his MOST funding, he has also received the Aim for the Top University Project Grant.
This moment of global restructuring is challenging for all the Humanities but, as illustrated by the research topics and methods listed above, it also brings new possibilities for crossing disciplinary boundaries. We increasingly see the English department as an integral part of the humanities college and we are prepared to help with college level conferences and other academic events. Importantly for the English department, for example, students and scholars in the Humanities are now faced with increasing institutional integration among Anglophone, Sinophone, and Francophone literatures (among others). This condition has created more opportunities for collaborative research and teaching between departments within our college, which has research strength in these three literatures.
Our future vision for the department includes drawing on our faculty’s unusual strength in interdisciplinary study to contribute to the ongoing collaboration and integration between departments in our college. This includes developing interdisciplinary methodologies both by individuals and research teams within our own department and in collaboration with individuals and teams across departments in the college; and in doing so to take advantage of the fact that the college increasingly supports research and pedagogy that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Finally, the English department will continue building cooperative connections with international institutions and intellectual communities as we have done in the past, but with a more integrated vision of the disciplines at both the institutional and research levels.