Tuesday 16 November 2021
Open lecture by V.TS. Golovatchev "Study of Taiwan Ethnic History of in Russia: Retrospectives and Prospects"
V.Ts. Golovatchev, sinologist, Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies (the Russian Academy of Sciences) gave a remote open lecture on the 16th of November 2021. The lecture was on the topic "Studying the Ethnic History of Taiwan in Russia: Retrospectives and Prospects."
Mr. Golovatchev answered the questions from the audience at the end of the two-hour lecture that was attended by about 70 students and teachers from the Liberal Arts Center at Kaohsiung State University of Science and Technology (Taiwan).
The first Russians accidentally appeared on the island in August 1771, and the Russian research on the ethnic history of Taiwan goes back almost two centuries. Although these studies originated by the mid-1870s in the mainstream of the general "European" (Western) tradition, the research activities began to acquire autonomy and its own characteristics and uniqueness. Probably, the investigation of Taiwan in Russia may be defined as the "Eurasian tradition" of Taiwanese studies.
Direct and systematic scientific study of Taiwan in Russia was greatly hampered by its remoteness, lack of information, scientific forces, and state interest in the island. The research activities became noticeably more intense only after two "Opium Wars" that opened seaports and territories of China for Europeans. In the years 1874-1875 two Russians at once (naval sailors V.Terentyev and P.Ibis) visited personally Formosa and became pioneers of its field study.
The more active participation of the state in the domestic study of the island became tangible only under the USSR by the mid-1930s. But this participation was associated with the ideas of exporting the communist "world revolution" to the countries of the East and the struggle against Japanese colonial expansion in Asia. Moreover, at the turn of the 1920s – 1930s. Soviet scientists were deprived of the opportunity to conduct research on the island itself.
The revival of the Russian-Taiwanese scientific ties after 1991 opened a new era for Russian Taiwanese scholars. After a break of 60 years, they regained the opportunity to work in Taiwan, freely use the entire range of foreign language sources and literature, and communicate with the Taiwanese and other foreign colleagues. This markedly increased the number and quality of post-Soviet Russian publications on the ethnology and ethnopolitical history of the island, although the general study of this topic in Russia is still low.
In the foreseeable future, the study of the ethnic and ethnopolitical history of Taiwan will remain one of the priority scientific tasks for the Russian researchers. Their most important mission will also be the transformation of Russian achievements into an organic part and really demanded property of the entire world science.