Overshadowed by its massive cousin just to the west, the island and civilization of Taiwan is easily overlooked but has long been a bastion of great intellectual activity on all disciplinary fronts. Many of us in Chinese studies visit Taiwan regularly, use its resources, mingle with Taiwan-based academics, present our research there, and take time to enjoy what it offers in cuisine, art, music, and natural beauty. A much smaller number of us focus our research on Taiwan itself, and the way that research is carried out is fraught with the problems of a contested epistemological geography. Some center their research solely on Taiwan. Others take a comparative approach. In my opinion, both of these ways of organizing and presenting ones findings are acceptable, and the litmus test for judging research on Taiwan should be the intrinsic quality of that work and not based upon whether one is a “pure” Taiwan studies scholar or not. All this stems from Taiwan's continued ambiguous and indeterminate status in the world politically and ethnically. This problem will not go away soon, but that does not mean we should shrink from it. The motivation for writing this short piece came from my reading of Emily Baum's (2011) review of Yomi Braester's new book Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Conflict (2010).

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