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Book Talks

The center hosts regular book talks by scholars, policy experts and practitioners.

Upcoming Book Talks 

To be announced - stay tuned for details!

Past Book Talks

  • Siting Postcoloniality: Critical Perspectives from the East Asian Sinosphere Siting Postcoloniality: Critical Perspectives from the East Asian Sinosphere
  • A webinar book talk co-hosted with 21st Century China Center
  • Date: January 18 (Wednesday), 2023 at 4 - 5:30 p.m. PDT (Kyoto time: Jan. 19 (Thursday), 2023 at 9 - 10:30 a.m. and Taipei time: Jan. 19 (Thursday), 2023 at 8 - 9:30 a.m.) 
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  • The contributors to Siting Postcoloniality reevaluate the notion of the postcolonial by focusing on the Sinosphere—the region of East and Southeast Asia that has been significantly shaped by relations with China throughout history. Pointing out that the history of imperialism in China and Southeast Asia is longer and more complex than Euro-American imperialism, the contributors complicate the traditional postcolonial binaries of center-periphery, colonizer-colonized, and developed-developing. Among other topics, they examine socialist China’s attempts to break with Soviet cultural hegemony; the postcoloniality of Taiwan as it negotiates the legacy of Japanese colonial rule; Southeast Asian and South Asian diasporic experiences of colonialism; and Hong Kong’s complex colonial experiences under the British, the Japanese, and mainland China. The contributors show how postcolonial theory’s central concepts cannot adequately explain colonialism in the Sinosphere. Challenging fundamental axioms of postcolonial studies, this volume forcefully suggests that postcolonial theory needs to be rethought.

  • Pheng Cheah is Professor of Rhetoric and Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of What Is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature, also published by Duke University Press.
    Caroline S. Hau is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University and the author of The Chinese Question: Ethnicity, Nation, and Region in and beyond the Philippines.

    First page of book talk poster. Second page of book talk poster.


  • Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan's Expansion in China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945 image_2022-12-07_172350576.png


  • Two Countries: My Taiwanese American Immigrant Story by Li-pei Wu (吳澧培)
  • Date: September 30 (Friday), 2022 at 3-5 p.m. PDT
  • Address: Cecil's Lounge, Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093 (Free parking at Faculty Club lot)
  • Born in central rural Taiwan in 1934, Li-pei Wu 吳澧培 studied abroad in the United States at the age of 34  as a graduate student. Through hard work and perseverance, Wu became a bank turnaround expert and CEO, starting in Alaska and then in southern California.   Remarkably, he took charge of General Bank in 1982, making it a bank for immigrants and tackling the long road to the top.  Forbes (1987) had this to say about him: “Mr. Wu knows his customer.” Economists listed General Bank under Wu as among the ten most profitable in the US.  In 1998, Wu received Entrepreneur of the Year Award, on top of being the subject of numerous cover stories in business journals.  In addition to all these incredible accomplishments, Wu initiated over the years multiple non-profit public organizations to promote Taiwanese identity and to foster an environment of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait—among them, Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP), LA’s Taiwan Center, and FAPA in DC.  With the help of his friends and colleagues—like the former Alaska Governor and US Senator, Frank H. Murkowski, Wu helped strengthen diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the US.  In 2004, Wu decided to give up his American citizenship and returned to Taiwan to serve as a senior advisor to two Taiwanese presidents.  Currently, he resides in his home country but remains active internationally as a trusted voice advocating for a resilient and independent Taiwan.
  • In our Sept. 30 book talk (3-4pm), we hope we can cherish Wu’s success story and to learn from his life lessons.  On such a wonderful occasion, Wu’s son, Gene (a UCSD aluminon), will lead us in discussing the great man’s personal and philosophical developments.   For instance, his comments on finding a job for opportunities rather than just for securities.  Or, in search of excellence while not losing sight of building new alliances.
    An American BBQ and beverage reception will follow, 4-5pm.  This will present  a good chance to meet local TAP and community leaders from diverse fields.
    If you are interested in purchasing a signed copy of the book at a special discount price ($10), please indicate that in the registration form.
  • The Rover Incident Revisited:
    History and Ethnicity
  • A Webinar Book Talk by Yao-chang Chen, MD
  • Moderated by Ping-hui Liao, Chuan Lyu Endowed Chair, Literature Dept., UCSD
  • Date: May 12 (Thursday), 2022 6-8 p.m. (PDT); May 13 (Friday), 9-11 a.m. (Taipei Time)
  • A cardiologist turned writer at the age of 60, Dr. Yao-chang Chen has produced six books on Taiwan’s history and ethnicity, all of them best sellers. Dr. Chen’s first historical novel, The Puppet Flower (2016), the centerpiece in our May 12/13 webinar, was adapted in a public TV series Seqalu (also featured on Netflix). The novel zooms in on the Rover incident (1867), in which 13 American sailors were killed by Taiwan’s indigenous Kualut tribal people. The incident puts Taiwan on the map of transpacific diplomatic negotiations between the Qing and USA, that eventually change not only the fate of the island but the world history. In this book talk, Dr. Chen will discuss what motivated him to write historical novels or the remarkable “flower” trilogy—puppet, lionhead, and bangas. The Puppet Flower is available in Japanese translation (2019), with Korean version in preparation and English edition forthcoming from Columbia UP.


  • Island Fantasia: Imagining Subjects on the Military Frontline between China and Taiwan
  • Date: April. 29 (Friday), 2022 at 5 p.m. PDT (webinar only)
  • Based on her book, Professor Wei-Ping Lin shows how islanders used both traditional and new media to cope with the conflicts and trauma of harsh military rule. She discusses the formation of new social imaginaries through the appearance of ‘imagining subjects’, interrogating their subjectification processes and varied uses of mediating technologies as they seek to answer existential questions.


  • Locating Taiwan Cinema in the Twenty-First Century by Paul G. Pickowicz and Yingjin Zhang
  • Date: March 29 (Tuesday), 2022 at 4 p.m. PDT
  • Address: Cecil's Lounge, Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093 (Free parking at Faculty Club lot)
  • Welcome to our first in-person book talk of the year! Prof. Paul G. Pickowicz and other authors of the book: Prof. Daisuke Miyao, Pai Wang, Eunice Lee, and Thomas Chan will share some exciting stuff about the book. The event will be held at the Faculty Club on campus and there will be a reception following the book talk presentation. You are more than welcome to bring your friends too.


  • Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan
  • Date: Feb. 24, 2022 at 5 p.m. PST
  • Professor A-chin Hsiau from the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica will talk about his book "Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan." Professor Hsiau traces the origins of Taiwanese national identity to the 1970s, when a surge of domestic dissent and youth activism transformed society, politics, and culture in ways that continue to be felt. After major diplomatic setbacks at the beginning of the 1970s posed a serious challenge to Kuomintang authoritarian rule, a younger generation without firsthand experience of life on the mainland began openly challenging the status quo.