1. To provide a record of major political events in Taiwan. I follow Taiwanese politics pretty closely, partly because it's my job, partly because I find it really interesting, and partly because it provides regular insights into big questions in political science. But my memory is quite fallible. At various points I've found myself digging back through news archives trying to figure out when a major political event happened, why it happened, who was involved, and what the consequences were. And while there are a lot of news outlets that cover Taiwanese politics, they often don't record crucial details that I care about. So I will attempt here to provide a regular roundup of major political happenings in Taiwan: things like election outcomes, passage of important legislation, turnover in key positions within government and within the major political parties, significant demonstrations or rallies, major court decisions, and so forth.
2. To serve as a resource for Taiwan Studies. Announcements about conferences, funding competitions, diplomatic initiatives, and whatever else Taiwan-related that comes through my inbox will appear here.
3. To present a take on Taiwanese politics informed by political science. There are already a lot of online sources that provide well-informed, critical commentary on the Taiwanese political scene. No need to replicate what they do, even if I could. What I want to contribute is a different perspective, drawing on existing research and data, sometimes but not usually my own, to speak to contemporary politics in Taiwan. That will include discussion of events in other young democracies around the world--something that gets woefully little attention in Taiwan. It might also include the occasional foray into events in the People's Republic of China.
4. To think aloud. I'm extremely fortunate to be part of a vibrant intellectual community at Stanford, the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). I envision this blog as a place for short posts about whatever's on my mind: reactions to campus speakers and events, to conversations in the hallway, to what I'm reading, to thoughts that bubble up on the train ride in--anything, really. Some of this will certainly be half-baked, uninformed stuff. But I hope that by posting it I can figure out what's worth thinking about more.
Finally, this is an experiment of sorts. Although I've been a regular reader of lots of good blogging work out there, I've resisted joining the online commentariat until now. Things may evolve here, and I welcome comments and suggestions that help improve the process and the product.