As an omnivorous reader, Prof. Chien-Ting Lin always cares about the marginalized groups and their histories. His paper “Buddha Bless America: Militarized Medical Humanitarianism and Cold War Humanism” has recently won the 2016 Yasuo Sakakibara Prize of the American Studies Association. Only one article would be honored with the award each year, and it has been eight years since last time the award was granted to an international scholar in Taiwan.
Cultural Studies Breaking Disciplinary Boundaries
Two years ago, Prof. Lin came back from UC San Diego, where he studied cultural studies and developed an interdisciplinary methodology. “Novels are always produced out of specific historical contexts,” said Lin. Through interdisciplinary cultural studies approach, we are able to reinterpret a text from a different point of view to shed a new light on the world we live in.
“Knowledge should not be limited to disciplinary demarcations, but today the connections among different knowledges are sectioned within academic disciplines.” said Lin, who is trying to find the possibility of crossing the boundaries between different disciplines, and paying attention to the intersections of culture, class, race, gender and sexuality, especially those important issues that have long been excluded or marginalized.
Buddha Bless America Reflection on the US
Aid to Taiwan Reading the movie Buddha Bless America directed by Nien-jen Wu as integrated Cold War narratives about US-Taiwan relations, Lin’s paper mainly discusses the relations between medical modernization and militarism, two seemingly contradictory ideas that actually intertwined with each other in the historical complexities of power. The article argues that Taiwan’s medical modernization under the US influence since the Cold War is implicated within the US military expansion over the Asia Pacific regions, the imperialist power relations that tend to be cloaked by the upheld images of American democracy and freedom.
Through critical thinking, Lin discusses the abuse of humanitarianism in disguising the expansion of militarism. Being a vocal critic of American imperialism, Lin thinks that intellectuals should maintain academic integrity and freedom as well as work toward social transformation and justice. This is what academia is for.
Stay Hungry The Philosophy of Taking a Detour
As an avid reader, Lin is always eager to acquire new knowledge. He thinks it gets clear for him that he does not learn enough as he continues reading. As he said, the more he reads, the better he understands his lacking in knowledge.
Any new knowledge that is acquired through reading might just challenge our original thoughts. He expects himself to dabble in wider knowledge, and encourages students to read broadly.
As Lin believes that there is no shortcut for studying in the humanities, he shares with us the philosophy of taking a detour. Since learning is never a smooth sailing, we might be faced with various kinds of difficulties on the way. He thinks that we should accept the fact that sometimes taking a long way is the only way. However, if we are doing what we love, then we should never give up and keep on going no matter how hard the journey would be. It is still worth pursuing it as it might bring some positive changes to ourselves and the society.