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From Campus to Oyster Farm: The First Week of IMAS in this Semester

Students savored a buffet lunch.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Paula Tolton took the time to answer questions from IMAS new students.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
From left to right, Richard Atimniraye Nyelade, Paola Carollo, Professor Scott Simon, and Professor Nnanna Arukwe were discussing colonial history in front of the Fort Zeelandia relics.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Josiah Spain and Tobias Larkin looked at a piece of deerskin, a key export commodity during Dutch colonization.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Winnie Chow delivered a comprehensive review of the governance of the Qing Dynasty and the history of Chinese immigration while standing in front of the majestic Eternal Golden Castle.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
The IMAS group explored the ancient cannons in the Castle.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Professor Scott Simon had a discussion with IMAS students in the National Museum of Taiwan History.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
The IMAS group gathered in front of the College of Medicine, NCKU.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
A group photo of the workshop participants(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Professor Scott Simon delivered an insightful keynote speech on “Tainan, Taiwan, and an Integrated World Society.”(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Stephen Fletes reviewed the Chinese concepts of the constitution in early 20th century, while Natcha Lee presented her research on Taiwan’s digital social movement.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Professor Nnanna Arukwe offered valuable feedback to the presenters.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
The boat navigated its way through the oyster farm, surrounded by rows of oyster beds.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Students and scholars returned from an expedition to explore mangrove forests on an uninhabited island.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
A lunch buffet featuring all-you-can-eat grilled oysters.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Female IMAS students consumed a greater quantity of grilled oysters than their male counterparts.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Local temple experience: Burning incense and making obeisance.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Local temple experience: Waiting for the interpretation of divination slips.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
The IMAS group visited Professor Scott Simon’s residence in Qigu.(Photo by College of Social Sciences)
Date : 2023-09-23 Department : College of Social Sciences
【Article by College of Social Sciences】
On September 11th, the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS) at National Chengchi University (NCCU) hosted a Chinese and Western buffet luncheon to welcome new students. In addition to the dean and director encouraging students to seize the opportunity to study in Taiwan and expand their knowledge horizons, two second-year American students, Paula Tolton and Josiah Spain, shared the challenges that foreign students may encounter when integrating into the campus and society. They also mentioned that IMAS frequently organizes inter-school exchanges, allowing students not only to exchange knowledge with students from other schools but also to gain a better understanding of Taiwan.

The first inter-school exchange of this semester took place in cooperation with the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) on September 15th. As NCKU is located in southern Taiwan, students gathered at Taipei Main Station on the evening of September 14th and took the train to Tainan.

Tainan is Taiwan's oldest city, and taking advantage of this opportunity, students also visited historical sites and relics related to Taiwan's development. On the morning of September 15th, IMAS students first visited Fort Zeelandia, which was built in 1624. Ally Wu explained the history of the Dutch East India Company and early colonization in Tainan. The second stop was Eternal Golden Castle, built in 1874 to defend Tainan against Japanese invasions. Winnie Chow, from Hong Kong, elaborated on the history of Chinese immigration and Qing Dynasty governance.

Participants of this workshop also visited the National Museum of Taiwan History to gain a clearer understanding of Taiwan's development from prehistoric times to the contemporary era. Most students and faculty members had never seen Taiwan's history explained three-dimensionally in such a comprehensive way before.

In the afternoon of the 15th, the NCKU-IMAS workshop was held in the 1st auditorium of the College of Medicine. Hsiu-yun Wang, Professor and Director of the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Medicine at NCKU, opened the meeting and welcomed IMAS visitors. The keynote speaker was Professor Scott Simon from the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at Ottawa University. His topic was “Tainan, Taiwan, and an Integrated World Society,” emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation between different academic perspectives.

The first session of this workshop was chaired by Paola Carollo, an Italian PhD candidate currently studying at Laval University. NCKU PhD student Hsiaoting Huang presented “Pencil as Weapon: A Study of Political Cartoons in Puck Magazines (1877-1918).” Two IMAS American students, Stephen Fletes and Josiah Spain, then presented “Frank Goodnow: (un)making the Republic of China” and “Japan’s Role in Shaping the US’s Shift on China.” The commentator was Nnanna Arukwe, a senior lecturer from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Nigeria, who provided feedback on the papers.

The second session of this workshop was chaired by Xu Xinyue, a PhD candidate from the People’s Republic of China, currently studying at NCCU. NCKU MA student Chunglun Liao presented “Challenging Genetic Determinism: A Study of Stephen Jay Gould’s Scientific Rhetoric.” IMAS American student Tobias Larkin, and Thai student Natcha Lee, presented “Examining Regional Revitalization Policies in Japan and Taiwan” and “Digital Social Movement of the New Second Generation in Taiwan,” respectively. The commentator was Richard Atimniraye Nyelade, a lecturer from Ottawa University, who offered perspectives on their studies.

In closing remarks, Professor Joel Stocker, an anthropologist at NCKU, and Professor Antonio Cheung from the Institute of Pharmacology and Section Chief at NCKU's Office of International Affairs, both stated that this workshop was very successful because sharing research in the social sciences and humanities with the College of Medicine was a new initiative. They welcomed more exchanges with IMAS.

On the morning of the 16th, the students visited the Salt Industry Museum in Qigu. On the way there, IMAS Korean student Jieun Lee explained the changes in the global salt market and salt industry in Taiwan. Another reason for visiting Qigu was to learn about Professor Scott Simon’s research in the area. The students were not only amazed by his ability to connect the local bird species with the local social changes but also admired his ability to live in the hot and humid climate of Tainan's rural areas without relying on any air conditioning.

The IMAS group took a boat trip to explore the oyster fields in the lagoons, gaining an understanding of how this fishing village utilizes the ocean to develop diverse industries. The highlight of this tour was that all participants enjoyed a lunch of unlimited grilled oysters in the harbor.

After bidding farewell to Professor Scott Simon, who had to rush to attend a temple fair in Qigu, the students took a train back to Taipei. IMAS Director Philip Hsiaopong Liu pointed out that the learning environment doesn't necessarily have to be confined to the campus. Students who venture outside of Taipei can quickly gain new insights into the economy, politics, society, and even international relations. Cross-campus exchanges and cultural immersion in Taiwan are essential features of IMAS. International students are welcomed to experience this unique style of learning.
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