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Spout Project

Mission and Objectives
The International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), based at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), in Hsinchu, was established in 2013. ICCS is an inter-university academic institution and research center, bridging four major universities participating in the University System of Taiwan (UST), namely National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University, National Central University and National Yangming University. This network started in 2003, involving 80 scholars and featuring four research clusters: Critical Studies and Asian Modernity, Contemporary Thought Trends and Social Movement, Gender/Sexuality Studies, and Visual Cultural Studies.
Starting from 2018, ICCS is now launching a five year project funded by the Ministry of Education through the SPROUT Project: Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies.
OUR MISSION: The mission of ICCS is to promote and cultivate cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that addresses critical issues related to the current and future concerns of Asian societies in a regional and global context.
OUR GOAL: Situated in Taiwan, our goal will be to establish the ICCS as a leading research center for the development of critical studies of inter-Asian societies through geo-political, socio-historical and cultural-literary-artistic analysis. We aim to provide opportunities to scholars, post-graduate students, NGOs and creative artists around the world to visit and interact with researchers to work on common interests and agendas.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of ICCS’s theme, Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies, is to investigate urgent questions related to different forms of conflict, injustice and the possibilities of knowledge decolonization mutually affecting Asian societies. This main theme highlights five subprojects:
The Politics of Memory and the Art of Governance: State, Nation and History in Inter-Asian Societies
(2) The Ongoing Shadow of Post/Cold War Cultures on Inter-Asia Knowledge Decolonization
(3) The Advent of a Rising China, Neoliberalism and Neocolonialism in the 21st Century
(4) The Modernity of Aging, Crises of Democracy and Rigidification of Urban Social Spaces
(5) Imagined Communities in Inter-Asian Societies: Civic Participation, Legal Reform, Social and Artistic Intervention
PROJECT BACKGROUND: In the post-Cold War era, one has witnessed radical changes associated with the expansion of multinational corporations, global financial restructuring, and the advent of neoliberal regimes. The blurring of national borders is in fact a cover for deeper transformations in the nature of the local economy, regional relationships, new geopolitical practices and ecological environments.
On the one hand, the immediate effects on local societies include widening economic inequality, large-scale proletarianization, increased low-wage labor migration, forced eviction and land expropriation under the rubric of urban renewal and national development, the emergence of neo-racism and neo-nationalism in the populist sphere, ethnic segregation, revival of slavery, rampant environmental pollution, etc. On the other hand, machinations of power on a regional and global scale, especially along the Pacific Rim, in both East and Southeast Asia, have been precipitated by a rising China and its expansionist One Belt, One Road strategy to forge a new world network, the repositioning of U.S. interests in Asia and the balance of trade with China, tensions in the South China Sea and over North Korea, the realignment of power among ASEAN nations, the ongoing uncertainty with regard to PRC-Taiwan cross-strait relations, etc.
These various conflicts, both overt and potential, did not occur just in the 21st century. These politico-economic frictions, rivalries and animosities have formed over a long history, from Cold War ideological tensions, exacerbated by colonial rule and World Wars, over a pre-existing landscape of feudal societies and celestial empires. This framework of culture, society and polity forms a complex template for the critical study of Asian societies and their formative interactions to the present.