Dr. Dafydd Fell




Why I study and teach Taiwanese Politics

In this informal talk I will discuss my passion for Taiwanese politics. I start from how I first became interested in the subject while witnessing Taiwan’s rapid political change while I was a student and then teacher in the 1990s. When I came to starting doctoral studies I knew I wanted to examine the topic of party change since the start of democratization. I will discuss the way I used and continue to use newspaper and television advertising as a key source material for analyzing party change. Thus my approach is rather different from the mainstream survey methods used by many in political studies of Taiwan. Working with such rich material is one of the reasons I enjoy my work so much. Since graduating in 2003, much of my work continues to centre on party change and I have continued working with advertising content analysis. Most political scientists at university are not able to teach what they research. In contrast, I have been fortunate to work in a specialist university where the majority of my courses are closely linked to my research. I have also been teaching courses on Taiwanese politics since 2002 when I was still a student. I will discuss my experiences teaching such niche courses to students that often come from quite different levels of knowledge on Taiwan, different disciplinary backgrounds and nationalities. It goes without saying I do bring advertising material into my classroom and this is something students enjoy almost as much as I do!


DAFYDD J. FELL is the Reader in Comparative Politics with special reference to Taiwan at the Department of Political and International Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is also the Director of the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies. In 2004 he helped establish the European Association of Taiwan Studies. He has published numerous articles on political parties and electioneering in Taiwan. His first book was Party Politics in Taiwan (Routledge, 2005), which analyzed party change in the first fifteen years of multi-party competition. In 2006 he co-edited What has Changed? Taiwan’s KMT and DPP Eras in Comparative Perspective (Harrassowitz), a volume examining the impact of the first change in ruling parties in Taiwan. In 2008 he edited a four volume reference collection of articles titled Politics of Modern Taiwan (Routledge). His latest book is Government and Politics in Taiwan (Rouledge, 2011). He recently co-edited Migration to and from Taiwan (Routledge, 2013). He is also the book series editor for the Routledge Research on Taiwan Series.