History of EALA
A Brief Introduction to the English and American Literature Association of the Republic of China in Taiwan
The year 2015marks the 24th anniversary of the English and American Literature Association of the Republic of China in Taiwan (hereafter simply as EALA Taiwan). The current President is Chair Professor Pin-chia Feng of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Chiao Tung University (since January 2014). This year’s Board Directors include professors I-chun Wang, Yu-cheng Lee, Wen-ching Ho, Han-ping Chiu, , and Shu-ching Chen. Professors Yin-i Chen(also the Chief Supervisor), Te-hsing Shan and Francis K. H. So are the Board Supervisors. The secretariat is currently located at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of National Chiao Tung University, and the Secretary General is Post Doctoral Che-yen Wu of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Academia Sinica. Ms. Meihsu Lin is the current secretary.
The EALA Taiwan was founded in January 1991 by the late Professor Limin Chu. Before its establishment, there was no official academic organization of Taiwan’s English and American Literature. However, in the early 1980s, Professor Chu organized the National Fellowship Association for Chair persons of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (Department of English Literature and Department of Western Languages and Literature included) of all universities in Taiwan. The chair persons met every year on an irregular basis to exchange opinions about course reforms and to share teaching experiences. Such meetings facilitated the annual (sometimes biannual) National Conference on English & American Literature beginning in 1986. In 1989, in order to promote the research in English and American literature, and to prevent laying too much emphasis on American literature at the cost of English literature and research talent in this field, Professor Chu started to advocate the establishment of the English and American Literature Association as the platform for academic exchange. Professor Chu’s proposal was strongly supported by more than forty professors, including Yen Chu, Wei-hsin Tien, Bangyuan Qi, Kuang-chung Yu, Yuan-shu Yen, Chien Ho, Yao-heng Hu, Mei-shu Hwang, Yuh-chao Yu, I-lu Teng, Yao-fu Lin, Ching-Hsi Perng, Han-liang Chang, Yu-cheng Lee, Te-hsing Shan, Mei-hwa Sung and Francis K. H. So. The English and American Literature Association of Taiwan was finally officially established on January 20th, 1991, under the authorization of the Ministry of the Interior. The first President was Professor Limin Chu, and the Director General (changed to Secretary General starting in the second year) was Professor Wei-hsin Tien.
After the EALA Taiwan came into existence, its major tasks were to organize the Conference on English and American Literature (the Department of English/Foreign Languages and Literature of different universities taking turns), and to plan the publication of the Review of English and American Literature (hereafter simply as REAL). To facilitate the publication of REAL, the editorial committee was founded at the second Board meeting (members including Professors Yen Chu, I-lu Teng and so forth). Despite great difficulties, the first issue was launched in 1993 after Professor Yen Chu took over the presidency. Starting from the second issue, the EALA invited renowned scholars to serve as the chief editors to set the subtitles for each publication, so as to raise its academic standards. The REAL, which publishes two issues annually, has to date published nineteen issues. The Editor-in-Chief of the REAL serves a two-year term during which four issues will be published. The current Editor-in-chief of REAL is Associate Professor TEE Kim Tong of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University. The theme of the 26th issue, due to be published in June of 2015, is “Literature and Emotions”.
In addition to the Review of English and American Literature, Professor Limin Chu also actively promoted the “English and American Literature Lectures”, and invited international scholars to give lectures in Taiwan to further scholarly exchange. The first National Conference on English and American Literature was held in October 1986 by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature of National Chung Hsing University, way before the establishment of the EALA in 1991. Later, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University and National Sun Yat-sen University, as well as other universities, took turns organizing the conferences. In the beginning, there was no featured topic for discussion. The paper presenters could exercise their expertise in the fields of interests. Later, each conference set a specific theme as the focus of discussion. The past themes included “The Reading and Theories of Renaissance Works”, “English and American Literature in Taiwan”, “Shakespeare in the East”. In addition, in collaboration with other academic institutes, the EALA has invited Ronald Harwood, Houston Baker, Limin Chu, Ching-Hsi Perng, and Shirley Geok-lin Lim, and many other renowned foreign and Taiwanese speakers to give lectures. The lectures reflect the contemporary academic trends, and help connect Taiwan’s English and American literature research with the global trend. In early times, the conference papers were later published by the conference organizers. In recent years; however, the authors were encouraged to revise their papers and contribute their papers to the Review of English and American Literature. It was worth mentioning that Professor Limin Chu advocated the “Localization of English and American Literature Studies”, namely to encourage local scholars to write and publish their research in Chinese. However, as some international scholars in the Department of English/Foreign Languages and Literatures may have little or no competence in Chinese, English papers which meet the academic requirements are also accepted. A total of 22 Conferences on English and American Literature have been held by the EALA to date. The 23rd conference will take place in October 2015 at National Cheng Kung University. Scholars in the field of English and American Literature will be welcome.