Throughout all of the wonderful guest lectures we were able to have this semester, my absolute favorites were Joe Erb’s discussion of his work with the Cheslatta and Sherry Mariea’s talk about global women’s issues. Both were not only informative, but inspiring and really changed my view of different cultures around the world and how their people interact with one another.
Joe Erb’s was probably the most informative for me and challenged my perspective of the removal of native peoples across North America – and even the world. What made them so interesting is not the way the interact with people who are not Cheslatta – but the way they interact with the physical space they call their own. How they view the lake as sacred and an entity as real as themselves is so different from how modern western nations treat land and the space they live. For the Cheslatta, it is part of their identity as a people, almost like a member of a family. If it is well, then they are well, if it is harmed, then they are harmed. It really changes the way I think about the space around me and my “places” in relation to myself and others around me. Displacement of native peoples around the world can be so much more damaging to their identity and the culture they have created than we would think with our western view of place.
Sherry Mariea was a really interesting lecture to me and very inspiring to me as a woman. What she said about how other cultures treat their women just because it was a cultural norm challenged the way I view women’s rights around the world. There’s not just a big western switch you can flip in some of the eastern nations that are known for high misogyny. The way they treat women is part of their culture, and many women don’t see anything wrong with how they are treated in this area too because of that. In a video we watched, women and men were proud of the beatings they received and gave within their marriages. Here that would be shunned on unimaginable levels. It really shifts the way I think worldwide women’s rights should be approached and the ways we discuss these issues with each other and the nations it is effecting.
Throughout the semester I learned a lot about Taiwan and the way they interact with the world. Through guest lectures, in-class discussions and my own research it amazed me how much I learned about Taiwan’s relationship with not only its Eastern neighbors but the Western world as well. China has had an extremely interesting hold over Taiwan and its assets since the mid twentieth century, which really affects how it interacts with other nations. While it attempts to participate in world events economically, politically, and socially, China has stood as a political barricade for years now. Taiwan cannot participate in any UN projects under its own government because it was removed from the worldwide organization based on China’s position on its sovereignty. That means even humanitarian issues that Taiwan wishes to aid with are left to everyone else while Taiwan’s contributions are turned away.
Politically, the Taiwanese president cannot even call the president of the United States without China bringing down its hammer on the both of them. Economically, Taiwan cannot get out from under China even if it wanted to, as China is Taiwan’s largest export market in the world. If they pulled their support, it would spell economic doom for Taiwan. And eve if Taiwan wanted to branch out and make political and economic connections elsewhere, China will not allow it by using its own trade with those countries as a threat as well. Despite these shortcomings, Taiwan still strives to make itself heard throughout the world and be a globalized country through its humanitarian work, its economic success, and its growing political and social advances.