Taiwan Studies Programme

TSP Conference 2020

Online by Invitation
Friday 11th (13:30) - Saturday 12th December 2020 (17:30)

If you are interested in attending online, please register on Eventbrite and your invite will be sent to you securely.

Registration URL

Democracy In An Age of Globalization and Populism: Taiwan, UK and USA

If you are interested in attending online, please register on Eventbrite and your invite will be sent to you securely.

In the era of deepening globalization and rising populism, we see two major elections taking place in Taiwan and USA, Taiwan’s general election in January 2020, USA’s in November 2020. The UK, constantly eyeballing on post-Brexit scenarios, may feature a snap election at any times. Political cultures of these three societies might be very different, but the challenges from the domestic populism, economic uncertainty, intensity and pervasiveness of social media’s usage, and the diversion of internal political and electoral fractions are the same.

Taiwan Studies Programme at the University of Nottingham and Taiwan Foundation of Democracy in Taipei believe it is opportune to sponsor a two-day conference to dwell on these challenges that Taiwan, UK and USA face and on the way their voters understand and manage them.  

This year the TSP's conference will take place online and by invitation only on 11/12 December and is co-organised by Dr. Chun-yi Lee, Director of Taiwan Studies Program, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham and Prof. TJ Cheng, Class of 1935 Professor, department of Government at William and Marry, editor of Taiwan Journal of Democracy, this conference takes a thematic approach, clustering four panels around four sets of issues.

The first one is focused on the rise and dynamic of domestic populism, the second on economic anxiety, the third on the impacts of social media on public opinion and electoral processes, and the fourth on partisan competition and its impacts on foreign policies.  

Each panel is an open forum for scholars from and on the three polities to exchange views from a comparative perspective. Based on discussions and post-conference revisions, we aim at publishing an edited volume with Routledge Taiwan series as well as a special issue with Taiwan Journal of Democracy.  


Conference programme (PDF)

Day One

Friday 11 December 2020 from UK time 13:30 to 17:30; USA East Coast: 8:30-12:30 am;Central European time zone: 14:30-18:30 Taiwan time 21:30- 1:30 am


Paper 1

UK: 13:30-14:10; US East Coast: 8:30-9:10; Central European time: 14:30-15:10 Taiwan 21:30-22:10

Wei-Ting Yen (Government Department, Franklin and Marshall College)

Paper title: Labor Market, Economic insecurity, and Populism in Taiwan


Paper 2

UK: 14:10-14:50; US East Coast: 9:10-9:50; Central European time: 15:10-15:50 Taiwan 22:10-22:50

Geoff Hoon (Former Secretary of State for Transport, Labour Party)

Paper title: Election turnout and the populist message



UK: 14:50-15:20; US East Coast: 9:50-10:20; Central European time: 15:50-16:20 Taiwan: 22:50-23:20


Paper 3

UK: 15:20-16:00; US East Coast: 10:20-11:00; Central European time: 16:20-17:00 Taiwan: 23:20-12 am

Roger Mortimore (King’s college, University of London)

Paper title: The role of opinion polls in modern British elections


Paper 4

UK: 16:00-16:40; East Coast: 11:00-11:40; Central European time: 17:00-17:40 Taiwan: 12 -12:40am

Thomas Greven (Political Science at Berlin Free University/ Associated Member of the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) at University of Kassel)

Paper title: US party politics and the peculiar nature of American populism


First day concludes at:

UK 17:30 USA East Coast 12:30; Central European time: 18:30 Taiwan: 1:30 am


Day two

Saturday 12 December 2020 from UK time 13:30 to 16; 8:30-11:00 US East Coast; 21:30-24 midnight Taiwan time


Paper 1

UK: 13:30-14:10; US East Coast: 8:30-9:10; Taiwan: 21:30-22:10

Liyhun Lin (Journalism, National Taiwan University) and

Chun-yi Lee (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham)

Paper title: Does Press Freedom Come with A Price: Media for and against populism in Taiwan


Paper 2

UK: 14:10-14:50; US East Coast: 9:10-9:50; Taiwan: 22:10-22:50

Dafydd Fell (Comparative Politics/Director of Taiwan Studies Centre, SOAS, University of London)

Paper title: Populists, Splinters and Movements: Challenges to Mainstream Parties in Taiwan



UK: 14:50-15:10; US East Coast: 9:50-10:10; Taiwan: 22:50-23:10


Paper 3

UK: 15:10-15:50; US East Coast: 10:10-10:50

Jon Herbert (Political and Global Issues, Keele University)

Paper title: USA: Trump and the American Populist Tradition


Final thoughts for opening discussion and conclusion of conference

UK: 15:50-16:30; US East Coast: 10:50-11:30


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Event summaries

By Arthur Quayle, MA Global Asia Studies, Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham 

Day two of TSP’s online conference on Democracy in An Age of Globalisation and Populism: Taiwan, UK and USA, was incredibly interesting and insightful. Many of the points raised were fresh and thought-provoking, and especially applicable when considering the climate of global politics over the past decade or so. Liyhun Lin and Chun-yi Lee began the day by exploring their paper Does Press Freedom Come with A Price: Media for and against populism in Taiwan, focusing on CTiTV and how its use as a populist tool split Taiwanese society around questions of its regulation and censorship.

Dafydd Fell followed up by discussing his paper (which he wished to express is still in its planning stages) Populists, Splinters and Movements: Challenges to Mainstream Parties in Taiwan, exploring Taiwan’s more niche political movements. Jon Herbert finished the day by exploring his paper USA: Trump and the American Populist Tradition, offering some incredibly interesting insights relating to populism within the context of US politics, such as Trump’s hostile takeover of the republican party in 2016. Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting event and it’s always a pleasure to attend one of TSP’s conferences.


By Minal Gadher, BA Economics and Politics, University of Nottingham 

Day one of the conference consisted of a captivating introduction to and potential reasons behind populism in by Professor Wei-Ting Yen. Former Ashfield MP Geoff Hoon then presented us with the personal case of populism experienced in his own constituency. The Brexit campaign was discussed by Professor Roger Mortimore, with a prime focus on the importance of opinion polls. The last discussion of the day was held by Thomas Green, who spoke on populism within US party politics. 

Professors Liyhun Lin and Chun-yi Lee started day two with a niche focus on populism in the media in Taiwan. Professor Dafydd Fell then explored populism’s impact on mainstream Taiwanese parties. Lastly Professor Jon Herbert defined the populism of Donald Trump and the power of its threat.  Brief Q&A opportunities encouraged participants to contribute to the ongoing discussion. I would encourage students to keep an eye out for similar events to come!  


by Adrian Chiu, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies SOAS, University of London

The TSP annual conference provided a fruitful and insightful mixture of academics and practitioners discussing the comparative impact of populism in Taiwan, UK and US. What strikes me most was despite the different political and cultural context, how such phenomenon is shared across national borders. In particular, how economic globalization has created a new section of society that felt overlooked, betrayed or left behind which provides fertile ground for populist politics.

The day ended with a dynamic discussion of how we should perceive and tackle the rise of populism and both left wing and right wing on the spectrum, especially when it is essentially about putting up a target of enemies to be against. It really provides some food for thought at this historical juncture as the UK is about to formally complete its populist exercise of Brexit. 

Taiwan Studies Programme

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