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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Remarks by Dr. Teri Silvio (司黛蕊) for Peter Leykam
I was very pleased to host Peter Leykam, a doctoral candidate from the Anthropology Department of the University of California Santa Cruz, for his SIT research period.  He was able to do very productive fieldwork in Taipei, and I learned a great deal from my discussions with him.
Peter is one of a small group of young anthropologists and cultural studies scholars who are doing ethnographic research on branding, looking at how discourses on brand are shaped by and shape transnational economic structures.  I have done some analysis of a limited range of branding discourses in my own research on the character design industry in Taiwan and Hong Kong, so I was particularly curious to hear the results of Peter’s research in Taiwan and how it compared with his previous work in the PRC.
I met with Peter twice while he was here for long discussions, once at the beginning of his research period to discuss his research plans and suggest archives and organizations he might consult, and once at the end of his fieldwork to hear the results of his research so far and discuss his analysis of his findings and how they might fit into the structure of his dissertation.  
While Peter was unable to make contacts within branding agencies in such a short time, which would have allowed a more direct comparison with his earlier work in China, he was able to do an impressive amount of interviews and participant-observation among small business owners and others who are also involved in the branding processes. I was impressed with the variety of people he was able to interview, and with his analysis of how the discourse of branding in Taiwan differs from that in the PRC. I am looking forward to reading the finished dissertation, which I think will make significant contributions to our understanding of the relationships among national branding discourses, local and industry-specific branding labor practices, and transnational economic structures.
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