Dr Fang-Long Shih

Dr Fang-Long Shih


Department of Anthropology

English, Mandarin
Key Expertise

About me

Dr Fang-Long Shih is a specialist in the anthropology of Chinese religious, civic and political culture in Taiwan. Her writings, based on extensive fieldwork conducted in Taiwan since the 1990s, have been about the development of civil society in relation to colonialism, modernisation, nationalism, democratisation, and globalisation, often using examples from religion or culture as a case study.

Dr Shih has since 2003 joined the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and works as Research Fellow of Taiwan Research Programme in Asia Research Centre (2003–16), in 'Research and Expertise' (2016–18), and in Anthropology Department (2018–22). She has since 2009 served as Co-Director (with Professor Stephan Feuchtwang) of the LSE Taiwan Research Programme. The Programme aims to promote grounded, critical, and contextualised research and analysis of economic, political, societal, and environmental change from cultural perspectives, while being attentive to Taiwan in its contemporary geopolitical and global contexts.

In 2006 Dr Shih launched a continuing seminar series, ‘Taiwan in Comparative Perspective’, serving as chair, and in 2007 she established the journal Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, serving as editor, the first scholarly journal on Taiwan based outside Taiwan. Both contextualise processes of modernisation and globalisation through interdisciplinary studies of social scientific issues using Taiwan as a lever of comparison. There is a twofold agenda: to act as a forum and catalyst for the development of evocative analytical perspectives through comparative dialogue with – sometimes against – Taiwan-engaged research; and to make enhanced sense of Taiwan-related events and experiences by invoking contemporary theoretical perspectives.

Dr Shih taught the MSc course ‘Taiwan in Comparative Perspective’ in Department of Anthropology, LSE (2009–12); the MA courses (1) Contemporary Chinese Religions: Methods and Issues; (2) Anthropology of Contemporary Chinese Societies in the Centre for Chinese Study, Masaryk University, Czech Republic (2010–); the MA courses (1) Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights in Modern Taiwan; (2) Modern History, 1919–2020, China and Taiwan in Comparative Perspective in Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, National Chengchi University, Taiwan(2019; 2020). She also serves on the Board of Advisors, Global Taiwan Institute, Washington DC (2016–); the Board of Directors of the American Association for Chinese Studies (2015–); Associate Editorial Board, International Journal of Taiwan Studies (2016–22); Advisory Committee, North American Taiwan Studies Association (2013–15) ; and Advisory Committee, European Association for Taiwan Studies (2006–07). She has also undertaken international media interviews (e.g. by The BBC World TV News; The BBC World News–Impact; The World Tonight–BBC Radio 4; New York Times), and theoretically informed opinion pieces relating to Taiwan (e.g. in Liberty Times; Thinking Taiwan; Up Media; Voicettank). 

Expertise Details

Anthropology of religion; Chinese culture; civil society and democracy; cultural nationalism; cultural policy; family and gender; identity; maiden death and afterlife rituals; political trauma and transitional justice; Taiwan

Selected publications

2022. ‘A Century of Struggle over Taiwan’s Cultural Self-consciousness: The Life and Afterlife of Chiang Wei-shui and the Taiwan Cultural Association.’ In Peter Chow (ed.) A Century of Development in Taiwan: From Colony to Modernity. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 

2021. ‘Taiwan’s Culture Wars from “Re-China-ization” to “Taiwan-ization” and Beyond: President Tsai Ing-wen’s Cultural Policy in Long-Term Perspective.’ In June Dreyer and Jacques deLisle (eds). Taiwan in the Era of Tsai Ing-wen: Changes and Challenges. London and New York: Routledge. 

2017. (co-author with Paul-François Tremlett) ‘Forget Dawkins: Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt.’ In Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic(eds) Being Godless: Ethnographies of Atheism and Non-Religion. New York: Berghahn, pp. 81–96. 

2015. ‘From Politics to Culture: Taiwanization Discourses and the Techno Nazha Performance.’ In Paul Crookes and Jan Knoerich (eds) Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Security, Economic and Cultural Dimensions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

2015. ‘The Geopolitics of Religious Performance in Twenty-first Century Taiwan’, E-International Relations. Online: http://www.e-ir.info/2015/11/03/the-geopolitics-of-religious-performance-in-twenty-first-century-taiwan/ 

2015. (co-author with Paul-François Tremlett) ‘Forget Dawkins: Notes Towards an Ethnography of Doubt’, Social Analysis 59 (2): 81–96. 

2014. ‘Reading Gender and Religion in East Asia: Family Formations and Cultural Transformations.’ In Bryan Turner (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 295–314. 

2014. (co-editor with Carol Jones) Special issue: Taiwan and Hong Kong in Comparative Perspective. Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 5. ISSN 1752-7732 

2014. ‘Introduction to Taiwan and Hong Kong in Comparative Perspective: Centres-Peripheries, Colonialism, and the Politics of Representation.’ In Fang-long Shih and Carol Jones (eds) Journal Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 5: 1–20. 

2013. (co-editor with John McNeil Scott) Special issue: Taiwan and Ireland in Comparative Perspective. Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 4. ISSN 1752-7732 

2013. ‘Taiwan’s Subjectivity and National Narrations: Towards a Comparative Perspective with Ireland.’ Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 4: 6–33. 

2012. ‘Generating Power in Taiwan: Nuclear, Political, and Religious Power.’ Culture and Religion 13 (3): 309–327. Also published in Japanese in Gendai Shukyo (2013). 

2011. 'Addressing Injustice through State, Local Culture and Global Civil Society: The White Terror Incidents in Taiwan.' In Martin Albrow and Hakan Seckinelgin (eds) Global Civil Society 2011. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 30–37. 

2011. 'Memory, Partial Truth and Reconciliation without Justice: The White Terror Luku Incident in Taiwan.' Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 3: 140–151. ISSN 1752-7732 

2010. ‘Women, Religions and Feminisms.’ In Bryan S. Turner (ed.) Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 221–243. 

2010. ‘Chinese “Bad Death” Practices in Taiwan: Maidens and Modernity.' Mortality 15 (2): 122–137. 

2009. (co-editor with Paul-François Tremlett and Stuart Thompson) Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan. London and New York: Routledge, 218 pp. ISBN 9780415602938 

2009. ‘Re-writing Religion: Questions of Translation, Context, and Location in the Study of Religion in Taiwan.’ In Fang-Long Shih, Stuart Thompson, and Paul-François Tremlett (eds) Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 15–33. 

2007. ‘The “Red Tide” Anti-Corruption Protest: What Does it Mean for Democracy in Taiwan?.’ Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 1: 87–98. 

2007. ‘Generation of a New Space: A Maiden Temple in the Chinese Religious Culture of Taiwan.’ Culture and Religion 8 (1): 89–104. 

2006. ‘From Regulation and Rationalisation, to Production: Government Policy on Religion in Taiwan.’ In D. Fell, H. Klöter, and B.-Y. Chang (eds) What Has Changed? Taiwan Before and After the Change in Ruling Parties. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 265–283. 

2006. (co-author with Paul-François Tremlett and Stephan Feuchtwang) ‘The Formation and Function of the Category “Religion” in Anthropological Studies of Taiwan.’ Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 18 (1): 37–66. 

2003. I-Lan Xian Minjian Xinyang [Local Religion in I-Lan County]. Monograph Series of I-Lan History, Sociology 4. I-Lan: I-Lan County Government, 559 pp.  ISBN 002584715