Report on 2020 EHLecture (5) 2020/11/3
Research on the Introduction of Apple Snails to Taiwan
In the last lecture this year, we are honored to invite Yan-ling Tsai (蔡晏霖), associate professor from Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Graduate Program of Ethnicity and Culture in National Chiao Tung University. Professor Tsai devotes herself to the farms in Yilan (宜蘭), and studied the problems with which farmers have been struggling for a long time. The most notorious problem that has bothered farmers since the 1980s is the invasion of apple snails (福壽螺).
Apple snails came to Taiwan from Argentina around 1979-80. They quickly accommodated themselves to their new home and increased gradually in number in rice fields with their astonishing living skills, which allow them to live in a variable environment. Their enormous appetite for rice stems reduces the harvest from rice fields, turning them into the most fearsome enemies to the farmers. They even became the most infamous introduced species that should be eliminated from Taiwan at the appeal of the government, which put lots of efforts on the prevention of apple snails while condemning those who released this terrifying creature to the wild.
Rather than speaking in a tone of condemnation, Professor Tsai pays attention to the social contexts that introduced apple snails as food to Taiwan and made them problematic. She pointed out that there was a trend of introducing exotic species to Taiwan in the 1970-80s, a time of the Cold War in which they were easier to be smuggled to Taiwan as a result from the ignorance of the government. Members of “China Technical Mission” (農技團), immigrants to Latin America during the 1970s and the farmers who suffered from the decline of agriculture played a key role in the introduction of exotic species. They found benefits from snail breeding as well as farming, and hence gave themselves over to introducing or breeding different exotic snails. Apple snails were one of them, and soon considered as the most profitable product in the breeding market due to the low breeding cost.
This breeding trend of apple snails could also be seen in other countries. In Japan, apple snails were given a lovely name “夢貝”, which means the dreamed shellfish, in the newspaper advertisement. In contrast, apple snails were not promoted by businessmen, but by the government in the Philippines. Despite lack of explicit evidence, it is said that Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines at that time, encouraged snail farming in order to provide more protein to her people. With the support from the government, apple snails spread from the countries to the cities with the name of “the miracle snails,” and were viewed as an achievement of agricultural modernization by Filipinos.
However, the popularity of apple snails did not last long in Taiwan. Before the consumption market of apple snails was developed, these small creatures were found to be a hazard to rice fields. Apple snails were depicted as an animal with flagrance by the government and media, eliminating their glamorous looks and great worth in the breeding market. The collapse of the breeding market caused a more serious problem: the frightened farmers threw away their snails to avoid losing more money and being condemned. Professor Tsai called this phenomenon the failure of domestication in species and capital absorption in the world of agrarian capitalism.
Professor Tsai tried to propose a possible solution for this problem. Instead of urging to wipe out apple snails by pesticides, which destroys the ecosystem in rice fields, she advocated that farmers can reduce the number of apple snails by changing the way of growing rice. She showed that the adoption of the direct seeding in growing rice in Japan and the Philippines limits the number of apple snails. Besides, she also appealed to a deeper understanding of the intrusion of apple snails to replace the meaningless condemnation that no one can learn a lesson from the past. Being inspired by Paul Robbins’ thought-provoking research about ecological intervention, she suggested that we had better to clarify our demand for rice production and ecology by knowing how apple snails provoked the recombination of multi-species in rice fields, and with the basis of that, we will be able to live in peace with apple snails.
Professor Tsai’s fascinating lecture raised interest for the audience about knowing more details of this topic. For instance, discussant Yu-Ju Chien (簡妤儒), assistant professor from Department of Sociology in National Taiwan University, wanted to know why the consumer market was not fully developed at that time. Pin-Tsang Tseng (曾品滄), associate research fellow in Institute of Taiwan History wondered if apple snails truly taste bad, which impacted the consumer market. Moreover, he questioned if it is appropriate to connect the Cold War and the introduction of exotic species.
Professor Tsai clarified that the taste of apple snails is actually not bad, which is quite different from the general opinion. Hence, the reason why the consumer market was underdeveloped is not the bad taste of apple snails, but the profitability of the breeding market that attracted those who were involved in snail farming. And in the Cold War, the government concentrated on the control of people more than exotic animals or plants, giving an opportunity for those who were able to travel abroad to introduce species other than those in Taiwan.
Paul F Robbins, “No Going Back: The Political Ethics of Ecological Novelty”, in Kohei Okamoto and Yoshitaka Ishikawa ed. Traditional Wisdom and Modern Knowledge for the Earth’s Future: Lectures Given at the Plenary Sessions of the International Geographical Union Kyoto Regional (Japan: Springer Verlag, 2013), pp.103-118.
Paul F Robbins, “Comparing Invasive Networks: Cultural and Political Biographies of Invasive Species” in Geographical Review (2004), 94(2), pp. 139-156.
The fourth lecture was given by Tong-hong Huang (黃同弘). Mr. Huang has been investigating aerial photographs for several years, and already published two books relevant to this topic. He started his research career from the study of aerial photographs taken by the United States Armed Forces during World War II for military purposes. These photos caught his attention, and dragged him into the stories told by lines and color lumps on the image.
He pointed out that aerial photography is a combination of aviation, photography and survey. These photos are not only a beautiful art craft that show an aerial view of the landscape constructed by nature and humans, but also a scientific tool for survey of geography, agriculture and forestry. They carry large amounts of information, and can be considered as materials for historical and humanistic research. For instance, a trained researcher is able to figure out the location and amount of aboriginal villages revealed in the photos, tell their changes by overlay analysis, and provide an interpretation of the change that cannot be seen in documents or archives.
He explained the value of aerial photos. Aerial photos, which provide more direct and objective information, can be beneficial to historical study, especially when written records are absent, when oral records are misguided by people’s memories, and when people’s memories shared within communities vanish. For example, these images offer information of forestry during World War II, when statistical work was hard to be done. Furthermore, aerial photos also offer a more holistic view of lands. In the case of the hydraulic management of the Tamsui River and the Keelung River, residents in Guandu (關渡) and Wugu (五股) believe that the seawater intrusion was caused by widening the Tamsui River in 1964, in spite of a more complex reason given by the government. The aerial photos proved that the inference of the government researchers is correct: the land subsidence of Guandu and Wugu, which was partially caused by the establishment of the Shimen Dam as well as sand and gravel exploitation, led to the seawater intrusion.
Besides the interpretation of aerial photographs, Mr. Huang also concerns the history of technology. The technology of aerial photography in Taiwan was introduced by the United States Armed Forces. In 1952, the Forest Resource & Land Use Survey Team was established by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction (農復會). It cooperated with American army to conduct surveys on the forest resources and land use. Since then, it has collected many aerial photos of Taiwan. Nowadays, the team is named the Aerial Survey Office, and under the instruction from the Forestry Bureau (林務局), an agency of the Council of Agriculture (農委會).
Mr. Huang provided some basic tools for finding and utilizing aerial photos. Discussant Hsiung-Ming Liao, an associate research scientist in the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, suggested that Mr. Huang could instruct people in the interpretation and use of aerial photos.
Basic tools Mr. Huang recommended:
Books published by Mr. Huang:
The third lecture was given on August 4th, 2020, by Chia-hsing Ho (侯嘉星), an assistant professor from the Department of History in National Chung Hsing University. It was titled, “Acquisition of Technology and Environmental Development: A Case Study of the Daxueshan Forestry Company”.
Prof. Ho's research focuses on the afforestation and machine industry in China in the first half of the 20th century. He has published two books, “The Afforestation of Nationalist Government of R.O.C. during 1930s: A Focus on the North China Plain” (《1930年代國民政府的造林事業：以華北平原為個案研究》) and “Machinery Industry and Villages in Jiangnan Region: The Transformation of Agriculture and Industry in Modern China, 1920-1950” (《機器業與江南農村：近代中國的農工業轉換1920-1950》). These books interpret the interaction between “tradition” and “modern” in forestry, agriculture and machine industry, looking at economic activities, environmental reconstruction and their impacts. In his research, he found that the policy of integrating agriculture and machinery, which had already appeared in China before World War II, was executed in public-owned factories in Taiwan by the Nationalist government. Based on that, he turned his attention to the Daxueshan Forestry Company, a provincial business founded in November, 1958.
This forestry company was located in Dongshi (東勢), Taichung. It is a place filled with woodland and there were many factories for wood processing during the Japanese Colonial Period. Besides its Japanese heritage, “Daxueshan” seems more like an American forestry company: not only because its capital was mainly from American aid, but also American machines and trucks were used for cutting and carrying timber. In brief, this forestry business was managed in an American way, which Prof. Ho considered as an influence from the Nationalist government on account of the adoption of American operations of forestry in China. However, the “American style” adopted by the operators from China failed to bring benefits in Taiwan, leading to the end of the company in 1973 due to many operational problems.
Most research on “Daxueshan” uses interviews and official publications. These materials unambiguously tell us the operational problems hidden in the company: (1) the deforestation was so efficient that it drastically raised the cost of tree planting; (2) the machines for wood processing were not meant for coniferous trees in Taiwan, causing enormous waste of wood; (3) there was a lot of “deadwood” in the company, increasing the burden of personnel cost. However, Prof. Ho pointed that these materials did not present the holistic plan of resource exploitation mapped out by the Executive Yuan (行政院) and the Taiwan Provincial Government (臺灣省政府), as well as “the concept of environment” revealed from the plan.
Prof. Ho mentioned that the archives from the Provincial Government, especially those from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry (農林廳), are significant materials that were rarely used by researchers before. Department of Agriculture and Forestry was the main competent authority managing environmental exploitation and utilization of resources, giving its archives values for being key materials on the research of “Daxueshan”. Although these incredibly helpful materials were collected by different governmental agencies after the provincial government was streamlined, causing difficulty to do research, Prof. Ho still found interesting facts that are able to provide a more holistic image of “Daxueshan”.
Prof. Ho argued that the management and operation of “Daxueshan'' was more complicated than previously thought. There were tensions between different departments of provincial government: the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Forestry Bureau (林產管理局) wanted to expand the forestry business in order to gain benefits and to promote other industries around the area, while the Department of Finance had the opposite opinion, and was worried about excessive investment which had emerged when the company was just founded, and would eventually bring it to an end.
The Executive Yuan also had its own opinions towards environmental exploitation. It acknowledged the importance of water and soil conservation from its experience in China, so it insisted on making a balance between deforestation and afforestation. Previous research of “Daxueshan” usually sees the company’s forestry plan as something great but not appropriate, or criticized the government as a plunderer who seized numerous resources from the forest through “Daxueshan”, but Prof. Ho showed that it is not that simple. The government did value forests and put a lot of effort into afforestation. In contrast to forestry work nowadays, which follows the principle of environmentalism, the government at that time renovated the environment, removed protophyte, and planted trees that were considered to be “useful”. Prof. Ho indicated that the environmental reconstruction under the needs of environmental exploitation was the main principle of forestry operation, and it can be viewed as a concept that derived from the forestry experience that the Nationalist government had in China.
In the last hour of the lecture, discussant Prof. Hong-jin Wang (王鴻濬) from the Department of Public Administration, National Donghwa University, provided more facts of the forestry in Taiwan after World War II, and recommended a book, “Investigation of Forestry in Taiwan” (《臺灣林業考察研究專輯》) , which contained lots of details on the Daxueshan Forestry Company. One of the participants wondered on what level the forestry experience could influence plans and policies of forestry in Taiwan, and questioned if the American technology and knowledge adopted by “Daxueshan” can be seen as an influence from China. In response to these questions, Prof. Ho took road transportation as an example. He said that road transportation had already become the main way to carry wood in southwest China by 1940s, and was directly applied in Taiwan by the officials from Nationalist government instead of the American government or companies.
After a long wait during the pandemic, the second lecture titled “The Anthropocene Concept for Humanists: From the Perspective of Energy” was successfully held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on June 4th. Professor Hannes Bergthaller from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in National Chung Hsing University provided a brief but inspiring map showing the developing history of human societies and the use of energy.
He opened up his lecture with the challenge raised by the concept of Anthropocene to humanists. The challenge is how to connect cultural and social history with the history of human energy use. Human beings, as omnivores, lack a clearly defined position in the trophic pyramid. In addition, they supplement the energetic needs of their organic body with external sources of energy other than food, such as the use of fire, agricultural tools, coals and petroleum. The use of energy impacts human life and societies.
Following, he briefly reviewed the history of this energy interpretation toward history: this discourse with a “progressive theory of history” was proposed by Herbert Spencer in the middle of the 19th century, and was abandoned after the World War II. Although the old fashion concept was abandoned for a while, the Great Acceleration made scholars aware of the considerable impact of the fossil fuels. Professor Bergthaller indicated that if one wishes to understand how fossil fuels have profoundly and comprehensively shaped the culture of modernity, he/she should look back at history, and understand the dynamics of social development with reference to their energetic base.
Hence, on the basis of scientific research, Professor Bergthaller divided history into three regimes from the perspective of energy: hunter and gatherer regime, agrarian regime and fossil energy regime. During hunter and gatherer regime communities moved around frequently, which held back their population growth and opportunities to develop technologies. When people started to rely on agriculture due to climate change, they had more energy to grow their population and to develop technologies such as heavy machinery that for hunters and gatherers would’ve required too much energy to carry around. However, in agrarian society, sources of energy and population growth were constrained by the cultivated lands, which had only made a small change of human’s life in ten thousand years. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was the use of fossil energy that profoundly broke through the restriction of lands and agriculture, emancipating people from lands, but simultaneously dragging them into a paradoxical life that has no scarcity and autarky. Last, he suggested that the only way to maintain our life in a world with finite fossil sources is “to decouple out notions of liberty from a life-style centred on liberal dissipation and of energy,” and that is also the responsibility of environmental humanists.
Discussant Dr. Hung Kuang-chi (洪廣冀) from Department of Geography in National Taiwan University questioned the value and effect of “Big history” Professor Bergthaller mapped for linking cultural history and history of energy use. Other scholars also indicated that this huge historical framework of energy use seems to be a western one, which overlooks the diversity of human communities and civilizations. Professor Bergthaller clarified that the theoretical framework was not meant to erase the difference between various groups of people, but to inspire “a fruitful dialogue between environmental history and the ecocritical study of literature.”
Academia activities of environmental history in 2020 have been changed from four workshops into six lectures and two workshops. The first lecture was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on Feb. 4th, and its topic was “Farming Knowledge and the Ming Discourse on Military Colonies: From the Perspective of Song Yingxing’s Yeyi (An oppositionist’s deliberations)”.
It is our honor to invite Dr. Masato Hasegawa (長谷川正人) from National Taiwan University to share his latest research about farming knowledge of “military colonies” (so-called “tuntian 屯田”) in the late Ming period. Dr. Hasegawa first pointed that research of tuntian usually focuses on its system and collapse; however, according to the perspective of Dr. Terada Takanobu (寺田隆信), the decline in farms we’ve seen from the official data may misguide us, since it was only based on official agricultural outputs.
Dr. Hasegawa argued that during the Japanese invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598, tuntian in the Sino-Korean borderland was proposed by Ming military planners as well as Chosŏn (朝鮮) officials, showing that despite its “collapse” in the late Ming China, the tuntian system was still considered not only as a practical solution for food supply of garrisoned troops, but also as an expeditious measure to address the urgent need to provision Ming and Chosǒn soldiers fighting against the Japanese. He then investigated some historical materials on tuntian, including an essay written in a book called Yeyi by Song Yingxing, to explore local knowledge accessed in tuntian, the working period of tuntian, and the time division between military training and cultivating. His goal is to build the link between war, farming, and the environment in the late Ming China, and to give research of tuntian a new perspective.
As a discussant, Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu (劉翠溶) suggested paying attention to the environmental impacts of tuntian, because she discovered their impacts on plants and animals in Xinjiang in the Qing dynasty, and would like to see this examined in Dr. Hasegawa’s research. She also proposed to locate tuntian fields on map by GIS, which could further research, such as the influence towards population of tuntian, and water source as the necessity of tuntian, and the difference between tuntian in the northeast of China and that in the northwest.
The third workshop of environmental history in 2019 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on Jul. 26. Two reports were presented.
The first paper titled “The Trade-offs between Air Pollution and Sustainability in Taiwan“. The author Prof. Hurng-jyuhn Wang 王鴻濬 (Department of Public Administration, National Donghwa University) attempts to present air pollution issues in Taiwan and discusses the control measures and trade-offs between air pollution and sustainability. He uses statistical data to analyze the air pollution and energy consumption situation, and also discusses strategies and efforts to combat the pollution issues.
Subsequently, Dr. Yawen Ku 顧雅文 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, gave a working paper titled “The Environmental Change of the Old Ai-Liao River”. She examines how the regulation of the Ai-Liao river in the 1920s alleviated the flood but created another problems of water lacking, and discusses how the local people and government responded to the changing water environment.
The second workshop of environmental history in 2019 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on May 24. Two research reports were presented.
Dr. Pin-Tsang Tseng 曾品滄 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented his recent study. He first introduced the history of food consumption investigation in Taiwan during the colonial and early post-war period. Then he focused on pork, a highly consumed food, and pointed out the cultural meanings of pork consumption in the Taiwanese traditional agricultural society. Finally, he discussed the social and agricultural policy change changes since the 1960s, as well as their impact on pork consumption and production.
Dr. Shao-li Lu 呂紹理, Professor of the Department of History, National Taiwan University, gave the second report. The just started study discussed the plan surveys of medicinal plants in colonial Taiwan, the establishment of agricultural and forestry experiment stations, and the transplantation or cultivation of these plants. He also pointed out his continuing research on the relationship between academic or official medical botany and local knowledge of medicinal plants, as well as the environmental impacts of the alien invasive species.
The First Environmental History Workshop held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, on 22 March 2019 presented three research papers.
The first paper by Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu 劉翠溶 of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, discussed problems of marine resource decline and pollution in Taiwan, as well as the increase awareness and actions for marine sustainable development in recent years.
The second paper presented by Prof. Shiuh-Shen Chien 簡旭伸 of Department of Geography, National Taiwan University is titled ‘Infrastructural Elements and Subterranean Insecurity- Case of Gas Explosion of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’. He examined the historical context of 2014 gas explosions in Kaohsiung municipality, and put forward a conception of ‘infrastructure-elements’ which provides a better understanding of risk society.
The third report was presented by Dr. Joan C. Lo 羅紀琼, Adjunct Research Fellows of Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica. She briefly introduced the use of cost effectiveness analysis for cancer prevention and control policy in Taiwan.
The Third Environmental History Workshop held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, on 19 October 2018 presented two reading reports.
The first report by Dr. Chonghao Pio Kuo (郭忠豪) of Center of General Education, Taipei Medical University, discussed the book edited by Bruce Makoto Arnold, Tanfer Emin Tunc, and Raymond Douglas Chong, Chop Suey and Sushi From Sea to Shining Sea: Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in the United States (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, June 2018), 320 pages. This book consists of 14 chapters. Dr. Kuo gave a detailed discussion on Chapter 5, “The Rise of Chinese Restaurants,” which presented the development of Chinese restaurants in the United States since the 1920s. In addition Dr. Kuo briefly introduced the content of other chapters of the book.The second report by Dr. Yawen Ku (顧雅文) of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, discussed the book by David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature – Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 497 pages. This book consists of six chapters: (1) introduction, (2) Conquest from Barbarism, (3) The Man who Tamed the Wild Rhine, (4) Golden Age, (5) Race and Reclamation, (6) Landscape and Environment. Dr. Ku gave very detailed discussion of each chapter with her own opinions.
The second workshop of environmental history in 2018 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on August 8. Two reports were presented.
Dr. Liwan Hung 洪麗完 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, an historian of Taiwanese plains indigenous peoples, gave her first environmental history study as the first report. She discussed the land reclamation of the Han immigrants in 18th-century Hengchun Peninsula of southern Taiwan, and pointed out that the development of charcoal industry had changed the forest landscape. Since the late 19th century, the intervention of State power and the “conquest” of aboriginal people in mountain areas had brought greater impacts to the environment.
Subsequently, Dr. Shiyung Liu 劉士永 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, gave a book review on John L. Brooke’s Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). The book was composed of four parts and twelve chapters. Dr. Liu mentioned some problems of this book, such as the lack of the use of first-hand historical materials, and some defects when describing Asia history. But it is still an inspiring work and an excellent textbook of environmental history.
The workshop of environmental history in 2018 reschedule to Wednesday morning to meet most members’ convenience. The first one was held on June 6 at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. Two research papers were presented.
Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu 劉翠溶 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, gave a talk about “Food consumption and its environmental impact in Taiwan”. She first discussed some statistics related to food production and consumption in Taiwan and the decline in the food self-sufficiency ratio by the 2010s. Then she pointed out the increasing preference of Taiwanese people in regard to eating out more and the related problem of food wastes, as well as the food safety scandals caused by chemistry additives and soil pollutions since the late 1970s.
Prof. Hurng-jyuhn Wang 王鴻濬 of the Department of Public Administration, National Donghwa University, gave the second report, “A munition industry of Taiwan Government General: Nanpang Forestry Co.,Ltd.,” which is a chapter of his forthcoming book. He traced the establishment and development of the Nanpang company in the context of wartime period in colonial Taiwan, and explained why Taroko in east Taiwan became their forest farm. Finally he discussed the large-scale, mechanized logging project of the company, and its impact on natural resource and landscape in East Taiwan.
The Association for East Asian Environmental History (AEAEH) had its biennial conference, The Forth Conference of East Asian Environmental History, held from October 26 to 30 at Nankai University, Tianjin.
The first day, October 26, was the day for check-in.
The second day, October 27, started with the Opening Ceremony chaired by Professor Lihua Wang 王利华, the president of the AEAEH, followed by welcome address by Ke Gong 龚克, the President of Nankai University, and a speech by Xinyuan Lu 陆新元, Vice-president of Chinese society of Environmental Sciences. After taking the group photo, there were two keynote speeches. First, Yuqing Wang 王玉庆 delivered a speech on “Ecological Civilization: Our Thinking and Action”, and second, Donald Worster presented a speech on “Rim and Chasm: Down the Trial to a Larger Sense of History”. In the afternoon, there were two parallel sessions each consisted of six parts. Together, 47 papers were presented. In the evening, there was a multidisciplinary communication on the theme of food and environment in history Organized by Wang Lihua and chaired by Siming Wang and Micah Muscolino.
The third day, October 28, in the morning there were three keynote speeches. First , TaoHu胡涛, delivered a speech on “Environmental Impacts of Industrialization: Historic Perspective”; following the speech was a detailed comment by Robert Mark. Second, Ts’ui-jung Liu 劉翠溶 gave a speech on “Practices of Energy Saving and Emission Reduction in Coastal Southeast Mainland China and Taiwan”; following the speech Yixin Zhang 張一心 gave a brief comment. Third, Daniel Guttman delivered a speech on “Comparative Environmental History in the Making: the Rapid Development of Environmental Law and Policy in China and the U.S.”; following the speech, Jian Ke 柯坚 gave a detailed comment. It should be noted that originally Professor J. Donald Hughes was to deliver a keynote speech on “The Anthropocene in Environmental History, East and West: Human Evidence Versus Nature’s Power”, but he got sick in the first day and thus was not able to give his speech as scheduled. In the afternoon, there were two parallel sessions each consisted of six parts. Together, 46 papers were presented. In the evening, there was a multidisciplinary communication on the theme of localizing the Anthropocene organized by Cameron Muir and chaired by Lisa M. Brady.
The fourth day, October 29, there was a mid-conference study tour. Participants were guided to visit a modern scientific green-house at Shuigao Zhuang 水高庄, an excursion on the Haihe River 海河, and Tianjin central city.The fifth day, October 30, there were two parallel sessions in the morning; the first one included six parallel parts and the second one included five parts. Together, 38 papers were presented. In the afternoon, in addition to round table of council members, there was the general meeting for the participants of AEAEH members. The task of the general meeting was to elect the new President and the new Council Members. The new President of AEAEH elected is Shiyung Liu 劉士永 and the new Council Members elected are Robert Mark, Tatsushi Fujihara 藤原辰史, Xinzhong Yu 余新忠, Manyong Moon 文晚龍, Shen Hou 侯深, Yongjian Hou 侯甬坚, Hurng-Jyuhn Wang 王鴻濬, Akihisa Setoguchi 瀨戶口明久. In the evening, a banquet was hold at the dining hall of Expert Apartment of Nankai University.
The third workshop of environmental history in 2017 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on Sep. 15. There were four presentations at this workshop: two research reports and two reading reports.
Dr. Szu-Wei Tsai蔡思薇, the post-doctoral fellow of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented the first paper. She discussed the scientific practice of botany during the Meiji-period in colonial Taiwan, and explored the relationship between science and empire.
Dr. Er-jian Yeh葉爾建, Assistant Professor of National Dong Hwa University, gave the second report. He examined the historical process and geographic change of the activities of Chinese merchants during the American Colonial Period in the Philippines, especially focusing on the relationship between their economic activities and environment.
Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu 劉翠溶 of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented the first reading report on Ulrich Beck’sThe Metamorphosis of the World (UK: Polity Press, 2016), discussing how climate change is transforming our concept of the world.
Dr. Shu-Min Huang黃樹民, Hou Chin-tui Chair Professor & Director of the Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, gave another reading report on Emily T. Yeh’s Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Cornell University Press, 2013), which revealed how the Chinese government consolidated state space and power in Tibet through several development projects.
The second workshop of environmental history in 2017 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia SInica on June 16. There were four presentations at this workshop: three research reports and one reading report.
Dr. Su-Bing Chang (張素玢), professor of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, National Taiwan Normal University, gave a report on her study of Chukou River (濁口溪) meandering among the treacherous mountains in the south Taiwan. She pointed out that, between 1903 and the 1930s, the specific environmental characteristics of the Chukou valley, such as those of topography, geology, and hydrography, helped the local indigenous to fight against Japanese invasion. The Japanese were enhanced with modern weaponry but less efficient in that area. It was why the local indigenous people, the Wan-Dou-Longs (萬斗籠社), became the last one in Taiwan to succumb to the Japanese rule.
Dr. Pin-Tsang Tseng (曾品滄) of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented his study on “A social history of a lake: water use and social conflicts surrounding Ho-Pao-Yu Lake(荷苞嶼大潭) during Qing Dynasty.” He discussed the evolution of the political economy of the Lake when it was shrinking during the Qing period. The partial propriety right of the Tax-farming households of the Lake (港戶的不完全業主權) had caused series of conflicts among them and the nearby farmers who legally irrigated their fields with water from the Lake. These enduring conflicts had formed identities of various local communities.
Dr. Hurng-Jyuhn Wang (王鴻濬), Dean to the School of Humanities and Social Science, National Donghwa University, gave the third research report on “the Comparing perspectives on the Ecological Civilization.” Focusing on the ideas regarding human and nature under different cultures of the East and the West, and the difference of such ideas between philosophers and scientists, Wang proposes a new synthesis of environmental ethics in order to consolidate the ecological civilization.
Dr. Chung-Hao Pio Kuo (郭忠豪), Project Assistant Research Fellow of the College of Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, gave a book review on Gregory M. Pflugfelder & Brett L. Walker’s JAPANimals: History and Culture in Japan's Animal Life (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005). This is an essay collection introducing the edge-cutting animal studies in Japan. Interactions between Japanese and animals, such as deer, snakes, birds, boars, dogs, insects, and whales, as well as zoology, were examined respectively in each chapter.
The first workshop of environmental history in 2017 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on March 17. Three research reports and one reading report were presented.
Prof. Shao-li Lu (呂紹理), Professor of the Department of History, National Taiwan University, gave a research report on “The Agricultural Experiment Stations in Taiwan during the Japanese Colonial Period (日治時期臺灣農試試驗場: 資源交換與控制的平台)”. Basing on the re-examination of the concept of “biologie (biology)” in the 19th century, his paper argued that the agricultural experiment stations established in colonial Taiwan were served as platforms of resource exchange and control.
Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu (劉翠溶), Adjunct Research Fellow of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented preliminary research work entitled “From a Fertilizer Factory to a Business Park: A Site of Industrial Archaeology Located at Nangang District, Taipei City”. She investigated how the Nangang District in Taipei City has been transformed from a “black country” with many factories producing various industrial goods such as flour, tire and fertilizer to a business and software park in the recent decades. She also examined the effect of development on population, economy and environment.
In the afternoon, Ms. Liang-yu Yep (葉梁羽), a graduate student of master degree at the School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, gave the third research report on “The Paradigm of the Wetland Conservation Act (混地保育法的典範分析)”. She discussed the history of the conservation area policies, and argued that the Wetland Conservation Act expresses a new paradigm.Finally, Dr. Tsui-jung Liu (劉翠溶) gave a reading report of the book written by Anna Storm, Post-Industrial Landscape Scars (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). This book included seven chapters: 1 Introduction, 2 Unstable Mountain, 3 Distance of Fear, 4 Lost Utopia, 5 Industrial Nature, 6 Enduring Spirit, and 7 Prospective Scars Unfolding. Liu’s report was mainly focused on Chapters 1 and 7. The geographical setting of this book is the Baltic Sea Region of Northern Europe. The places focused are Malmberget, a mining town in Sweden; Barsebäck, a commercial nuclear power plant in Denmark; Ignalina, another nuclear power plant; the Ruhr industrial area in Germany; and Avesta, a company town in Sweden.
The fourth workshop of environmental history in 2016 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on Nov. 18 and three reports were presented.
Dr. Shu-Min Huang黃樹民, Hou Chin-tui Chair Professor & Director of the Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, gave a book review on Judith Shapiro’s China’s Environmental Challenges (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012). Based on long-term observation of China, Shapiro showed the rapid economic development and serious environmental deterioration after the reform and open policy in the late 1970s. Shapiro argued that many western researchers have simplified the causes of China’s environmental problems, which are in fact more complicated than expected. This book provided five key analytical concepts, including globalization, governance, national identity, civil society, and environmental justice.
Dr. Ya-Wen Ku 顧雅文, Assistant Research Fellow of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented the second report titled ‘Medical History from a Perspective of Environmental History’, a paper included in a handbook of the history of medicine which will be published next year. By analyzing existing literatures, she illustrated how the medical and disease issues have been integrated into the study of the environmental history, and argued how the environmental issues have provided different perspectives on the study of medical history.
Dr. Tsuo-Ming Hsu 徐佐銘, Associate Professor of the Center for General Education and Core Curriculum, Tamkang University, gave a research report on “Rachel Carson’s three books about the Ocean”, by analyzing Carson’s Under the Sea Wind、The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea from a philosophical Perspective.Finally, the chair of this workshop, Dr. Tsui-jung Liu 劉翠溶, announced that The Fourth Conference of East Asian Environmental History (EAEH 2017) will be held from October 27-30, 2017 in Tianjin, China, and encouraged all members to join in.
The third workshop of environmental history in 2016 was held at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica on August 19. There were one research report and three reading reports.
Dr. Chia-San Shen沈佳姍, Assistant Professor of the Department of Liberal Arts, National Open University, presented her working paper on the livestock management under Japanese Colonial Period. She reviewed the Taiwanese traditional way of taking care of livestock health, and traced the establishment of animal quarantine system and related training system for technicians in the colonial period. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the modernization of livestock management as well as the subsequent influences.
Dr. Marlon Zhu 朱瑪瓏, Assistant Research Fellow of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, gave his reading report on Empires of Coal: Fueling China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920 by Shellen Xiao Wu 吳曉 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015). The book contains six chapters. He focused on discussing chapters two to four, which illustrate how the Western scientists, missionaries and engineers investigated coal resource in China, and introduced modern geology in the late Qing. In the process, coal was reconceptualized, from just a commodity to be taxed, to a most important fuel which was the key factor for China’s wealth and power.
Dr. Pin-tsang Tseng 曾品滄, Associate Research Fellow of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, introduced a Japanese monograph titled稲の大東亜共栄圏：帝国日本の緑の革命 by Fujihara Tatsushi 藤原辰史 (東京: 吉川弘文館, 2012). The book discusses the history of the breeding for high-yield rice in Japanese Empire, including inland Japan, colonial Korea and Taiwan. Dr. Tseng suggested that the development of breeding technology in Taiwan deserves more attention than historians usually gave it, for it had played an important role in East Asia or even in the world. He also introduced the history of agriculture has been “reborn” in recent years by new research approaches, such as combining the viewpoint from the study of food history or environmental history. This book could be seen as one of the best example.
Dr. Paul Jobin 彭保羅, Associate Research Fellow of the Institute Sociology, Academia Sinica, gave the last reading report on L'évènement anthropocène by Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (Paris: Seuil, 2013). Written by a historian of science and a historian of environment, this book received great noticed especially in the field of STS research. The authors argue that the concept of "Anthropocene" proposed by some scientists was Western-centered and too simplified. This book thus suggests a more thorough investigation into the history of the human impact on the earth.
Dr. Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin (林冠慧), Post-doctoral Fellow of the Center for Sustainability Science at Academia Sinica, gave her research report on the “Spatial-temporal analysis on climate variation in early Qing dynasty (17th-18th century): Using China’s chronological records.” The report is based on a three-year multidisciplinary research project conducted by Academia Sinica. Dr. Lin introduced the work of the project and the database. She made an initial analysis of the flood damages in Qing dynasty on the basis of what have accomplished at the first year.
Prof. Hurng-jyuhn Wang (王鴻濬) of the Department of Public Administration, National Donghwa University, gave the second report, “Endless discovery: A century history of forestry in Haron.” Prof. Wang traced the exploitation of Taiwan’s forest since the late nineteenth century and focused his discussion on the forestry in Haron, which could represent Taiwan’s forestry. By examining the case of Haron, Prof. Wang pointed out forest management in Taiwan achieved modernization under the rules of Japanese imperial government and National government. Along with the social development in Taiwan, the forestry policy changed in the past hundred years. After World War II, Haron forestry had been run under Hualian County for 12 years, which brought enormous influence over local development. Through thorough examination of government documents, newspapers, magazines, journals and interviews with officers, workers, businessman and scholars, Prof. Wang brought insight into a history of Taiwan’s forestry.
Dr. Shi-yung Liu (劉士永) of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, presented the third report. He gave a book review onEffects of Ecosystems on Disease and of Disease on Ecosystems (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2010), edited by Richard S. Ostfeld, Felicia Keesing, and Valerie T. Eviner. Dr. Liu pointed out the main argument of the book was that we all as humans stay at the parasites’ place which in turn reside in us. Vector-parasite interactions need reconsiderations in two ways: (1) Parasites may adapt on multiple vector species en route for transmission and vectors may support multiple pathogens. (2) Parasites are not killers, not at the center of Earth ecosystems organization, but constitute an important component of biological diversity and organization. New ideas and theories was brought as well, including development of adequate models to deal with complex systems, extension of the Red Queen hypothesis at a community-scale level, and resilience theory to socioecological systems.
Dr. Chunghao Pio Kuo (郭忠豪), Visiting Assistant Professor of University of Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign, introduced E. N. Anderson’s Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Dr. Kuo introduced the book with food system theory which could be applied to history interpretation, for instance, the Mongol Empire expansion or the Discovery of the New World. Anderson brought a new issue: what were the key factors of the successful food policy in Chinese history? Dr. Kuo pointed out that biological technology, agricultural policies, religion, and the worldview which value farming instead of commerce were the crucial elements Anderson suggested. However, Dr. Kuo added, certain materials were translated mistakenly thus cause some wrong historical interpretation.
Dr. Der-Ching Horng (洪德欽), Research Fellow of the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, gave a research report on “Constructing Food Safety Institutions in Taiwan: Model from EU.” Dr. Horng started with food safety incidences in Taiwan in recent years and introduced methods and regulations taken by EU in food safety, suggesting that these institutions might be useful to remedy food problems in Taiwan. These institutions include (1) establishing an independent European Food Safety Authority (ESFA, 歐盟食品安全局), which is responsible for risk assessment and the alleged policy making; (2) the European Union Reference Laboratories(EU-RLs, 歐盟食品安全實驗室); and (3) the food safety police (食安警察). Horng compared these with corresponding institutions in Taiwan, and offered proposals for reforming food laws for the authorities.
Mr. Ming-Kuang Chung (鍾明光), a PhD candidate of the Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, gave a research report on “Water Governance on Cho-shui River (濁水溪): with the approach of STS analysis.” Mr. Chung explored the history of this longest river in Taiwan from the 18th century, interpreting it with the Actor Network Theory (ANT) proposed by STS researchers. Interests of human and non-human actors, such as governments under different regimes, local residents, sugar cane refinery, agriculture, hydrology and engineering knowledge, embankment technique, methods and ideology of water resource management, all acted heterogeneously to shape the landscape along the River in different periods till the late 20th century.
Dr. Hsin-huang Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica and his research team including Prof. Wen-ling Tu (杜文苓), Prof. Chun-chieh Chi (紀駿傑), Prof. Shih-Jung Hsu (徐世榮), Prof. Keng-ming Hsu (許耿銘) and Prof. Hsin-hsun Huang (黃信勳) gave an introduction of their book titled The Lessons of Taiwan’s Local Environment (Kaohsiung: Chu-Liu Book Company, 2015). The book showed how the central and local governments, in collusion with interest groups, have promoted the environmental degradation in Taiwan since the 1950s. They also indicated that the non-government social force has played a vital role in protecting our environment.
Dr. Ts’ui-jung Liu (劉翠溶) of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, gave a book review on Susannah Hagan’s Ecological Urbanism: the nature of the city (London and New York: Routledge, 2015), focusing on the content of Chap.1 and 6. In Chap. 1, the author traced the origins of the term “ecological urbanism” and tried to give it a definition. In Chap. 6, the author discussed the similarities and differences between the ideal city and the eco city.
|Lecturer:||Professor Philip Brown (Department of History, The Ohio State University) CV|
|Topic:||Technology Transfer in Early Twentieth-Century East Asia: Thoughts for a Comparative Research Project|