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The Taiwan Studies Programme is delighted to announce that Thomas B. Gold, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley will be presenting in the 2016/17 series of Taiwan Studies lectures on "State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle 30 Years On". The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception at 6.30pm in Room A3 Law and Social Sciences.
Thomas B. Gold is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1981. He also served as Associate Dean of International and Area Studies and Chair of the Center for Chinese Studies at Berkeley. Tom got interested in China as an undergraduate at Oberlin College. After graduating he taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan. He then received a Masters in Regional Studies-East Asia and a PhD in Sociology, both from Harvard University. In February 1979, while at Harvard he was a member of the first group of American exchange students to study in China, spending a year at Fudan University in Shanghai. Prof Gold’s research focuses on many aspects of the societies of East Asia, primarily Taiwan and mainland China. In the largest sense, he examines the process of the emergence of the increasingly empowered and autonomous individual and a private sphere in authoritarian societies. His book, State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle (1986) is a standard work in the field. He continues to research social change in Taiwan since the end of Martial Law in 1987.
When my book, State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle appeared 30 years ago, Taiwan was still under Martial Law, even though there had been nearly a decade of popular protest and KMT Chairman and ROC President Chiang Ching-kuo had begun tentative steps towards liberalization. I argued that the one-party top-down mainlander-dominated political system had become an anachronism and was likely to give way toward democracy. Later in 1986, Chiang indeed permitted the opposition dangwai to formally organize a political party, The Democratic Progressive Party, and contest Legislative Yuan elections that year. The following year he terminated Martial Law, in effect since 1949, and he died soon after. Since that time, Taiwan has undergone a fundamental political and cultural transformation, no less miraculous than the economic developments of the 1960s and 1970s. This talk reviews Taiwan’s changes as well as ways we can think about their significance for our understanding of a range of social processes.
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