De-Cold War, Globalization and the “China Factor” - Taiwan Studies in Poland

Zemanek, Adina Simona orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7960-8646 (2016) De-Cold War, Globalization and the “China Factor” - Taiwan Studies in Poland. In: Taiwan Research in Eastern Europe and 2016 Annual Meeting of the Lim Pen-Yuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, 23 September 2016, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. (Unpublished)

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A former Eastern Bloc country, Poland was in many respects cut off from the economically advanced, western part of Europe and the U.S. Poland's post-1989 economic and political reforms were among the most efficient in the region, and the turn of the century saw further integration with the West through membership in the NATO and the European Union. However, the country's de-Cold War process has been as long and arduous as Chen Kuan-Hsing (who proposed this term) perceives it to have been in Taiwan. Poland's isolation had a significant impact in the academic sphere as well, and the reform of higher education inaugurated in 2010 aimed at countering its last vestiges and at speeding up the process of 'linking up with the tracks of the world'. This process of academic globalization has not been without shortcomings, but is increasingly making Polish scholars aware of being part of an international academic community. My paper will address the challenges and opportunities that this historical context brings to researchers in Asian studies in general and Taiwanese studies in particular. It will touch upon topics such as: availability of resources and funding for research, Polish researchers' actual access to and impact on the Western (mainly US-led) academia, and possibilities for international collaboration within and beyond the Central and Eastern European region. It will also discuss the transition from a model of sinology understood as philology based on French and Russian models to the study of modern and contemporary China from the perspective of area and cultural studies. Finally, I will address the positioning of Taiwan studies within the framework described above and its development 'in the shadow of China' – the still limited knowledge of Taiwan among the general public and university students, both China and Taiwan's cultural diplomacy policies and their effects in Poland, and the institutions and academics currently conducting Taiwan-related teaching and research activities.

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