Taiwan is a small country with an out-sized influence on global political and economic affairs. In this talk, Shelley Rigger builds a case for why Taiwan is important – to the world, to the United States, to the People’s Republic of China, and to its own people. She describes the distinctive Taiwanese identity that grew out of the island’s history and shapes its culture and politics today.
Shelley Rigger is the Brown Professor of East Asian Politics, Chair of Political Science and Chair of Chinese Studies at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. She has a PhD in Government from Harvard University and a BA in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. She has been a visiting researcher at National Chengchi University in Taiwan (2005) and a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai (2006). Rigger is the author of two books on Taiwan’s domestic politics, Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (Routledge, 1999) and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001). In 2011 she published Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, a book for general readers. She has published articles on Taiwan’s domestic politics, the national identity issue in Taiwan-China relations and related topics. Her monograph, “Taiwan’s Rising Rationalism: Generations, Politics and ‘Taiwan Nationalism’” was published by the East West Center in Washington in November 2006. Currently she is working on a study of Taiwan’s contributions to the PRC’s economic take-off.