China Research Seminar public talk

November 5, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Moore Hall 109

Announcing a Chinese Studies public talk:

“Division, Polarization, and Reconciliation: Towards the ‘Turquoisation’ of Taiwan Society”

William E. Sharp, Jr.

Monday, November 5, 2018, 12:00 p.m.

Moore Hall Rm 109, University of Hawaii at Manoa

1890 East-West Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822

Mention of Taiwan politics instantly creates an image of members of the legislature brawling on the floor of the legislative chamber. My talk will discuss Taiwan political and social fissures negatively impacting the smooth functioning of democratic government. I will show the difference between “division,” which has deep historic and ethnic roots, and “polarization,” which is a more contemporary phenomenon most seriously emanating from the time that Chen Shui-bian was elected President in 2000. Polarization is a lack of trust in government, breeding infighting and adding to a lack of electorate support. Explanation will be given as to how polarization manifests itself in all dimensions of Taiwan politics. “Turquoisation” is the bringing together of the blue and green elements of Taiwan politics. As such, it offers a path to social and political reconciliation. To achieve that end, Taiwan must overcome its zero-sum mind set and jettison its practice of “zaoshi” or showing force. Perhaps then scuffles in the legislative chamber will disappear.

William E. Sharp, Jr., began his association with Asia in 1968 while serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He has a B.A. in Political Science focused on Chinese and Japanese politics from the University of California, Berkeley. He received an M.A. in Asian Studies from UH Manoa, along with the James Shigeta Award for Excellence in Asian Studies and the Lee-shao Chang Award for Excellence in Chinese Studies. During the 1980s, he lived in Japan where he taught English and worked as a free-lance writer. Returning to the U.S. in 1989, he attended Harvard University where he earned an M.A. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy. In the early 1990s, he served as Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii. For twenty-three years, he taught at Hawaii Pacific University, where he taught classes about East Asian politics. He previously taught a course about Taiwan at UH Manoa. In addition, he hosts Asia in Review, a weekly TV show dedicated to substantive discussion of contemporary Asian affairs. Prior to that, from late 2005 to early 2009, he wrote “Look East,” a column for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on Asian affairs. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Taiwan Fellowship sponsored by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During that period, he researched the political polarization in Taiwan society at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, Taipei. During late 2017 and early 2018, he was a Fudan Fellow (visiting scholar) in the Center for Taiwan Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai. He has traveled throughout Asia and has visited Taiwan and China each thirty-five times.

Ticket Information
Free admission

Event Sponsor
Center for Chinese Studies, Mānoa Campus

More Information
956-8891,,, Bill Sharp talk.pdf (PDF)

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