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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Educational Policy and Language Matters: Taiwan, Ireland, and Catalonia in comparative perspective

With Mr Stuart Thompson (School of Oriental and African Studies)

Series: Regional Comparison: Taiwan and Ireland in Comparative Perspective

Date: Thursday 26 February 2009, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Seligman Library (Room A607), Old Building, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Dr Paul-François Tremlett (Taiwan Research Programme)


The ambition of the talk is to provide a productive commentary on the 'socio-logic' and contouring of language(s) in/and/of education in the three sites of Ireland, Catalonia, and Taiwan. I will aim to compare and contrast the alternative configurations of policy, precept and practice in these three educational jurisdictions, and - ill-advisedly - attempt to invoke an Irish and Spanish inquisition upon the interplay of language and schooling in Taiwan. I will have recourse to some 'travelling theories' on issues such as bilingualism, 'hidden curricula', and 'new literacy' studies as a catalyst to speculation on the current configuration in Taiwan, and directions that might be taken. The 'is' and 'ought' of Taiwan education needs to be examined, not least in terms of the apparent mismatch between multiculturalist rhetoric and stymied multilingual provision. In brief, what can we learn about the politics of language in Taiwan's education system through a comparative perspective focussed on the policies, practices and paradoxes evident in Ireland and Barcelona?

About the Speaker

Mr Stuart Thompson is Research Associate and was formerly Lecturer in Asian Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He is also a committee member of the LSE Taiwan Culture Research Programme, where he has been the Chair of the London Taiwan Seminar since 2003. He taught a variety of courses, but focused on Chinese culture and society, and devised courses on the anthropology of education. He was also Convener of, and a teacher on, the interdisciplinary MA Contemporary Taiwan course. He has been researching Taiwan since his initial fieldwork in 1980. He specializes in the study of education, cultural literacy, social aspects of food, and death-related rites and representations. He is co-editor of Consuming China (Routledge, 2006), and of Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan (Routledge, 2009).