Ian Rowen



Email : [email protected]


  • Associate Professor, National Taiwan Normal University, Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature.

Research fields

  • Social movements, literature, geopolitics, tourism, transitional justice, environment and ecology
  • Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Southeast Asia, indigeneity, festivals



  • PhD, 2016. University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Geography.
  • MA, 2012. University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Geography.
  • B.A., 2001. University of California Santa Cruz, Dual Majors in Department of Mathematics (Honors) & East Asian Studies Program (Honors).

Position Held:

  • 2017-2022 : Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. School of Social Sciences (Sociology, Geography and Urban Planning), with courtesy appointments in the School of Art, Design, and Media and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
  • 2016-2017 : Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology.


Book (single-authored, peer reviewed)

  • 2023. One China, Many Taiwans: The Geopolitics of Cross-Strait Tourism. Cornell University Press. – Forthcoming Chinese-language edition with Rive Gauche Press.

Edited and Translated Books

  • Forthcoming. A Taiwanese Eco-Literature Reader, edited by Ian Rowen, Ti-han Chang, and Darryl Sterk. (under contract with Columbia University Press).
  • 2021. Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror, edited and with an introduction by Ian Rowen. Cambria Press.
  • 2015. Liu, Jianqiang. Tibetan Environmentalists in China: The King of Dzi. Translated by Ian Rowen, Cyrus K. Hui, and Emily Yeh. Lexington Books.
  • 2004. Chiu, HT. Translated by Ian Rowen. 2004. Vast Tibet: Adventures of a Roving Taiwanese Artist. 99 Degree Art Center.

Journal Articles

  • 2023. The Capitalist Surrealism of Chinese Burning Man. The Journal of Festive Studies 5:68-90.
  • 2023. Simulating territory: The rise and demise of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan as an imaginary regional formation. Eurasian Geography and Economics.
  • 2022. Booking engines as battlefields: Contesting technology, travel, and territory in Taiwan and China. Geopolitics 28(4): 1489-1505. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14650045.2022.2027914)
  • 2020. Crafting “The Taiwan Model” for COVID-19: An exceptional state in pandemic territory. The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 18(14). (https://apjjf.org/2020/14/Rowen.html)
  • The transformational festival as a subversive toolbox for a transformed tourism: lessons from Burning Man for a COVID-19 world. Tourism Geographies 22(3), 695-702. SSCI (https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2020.1759132) – Reprinted in Alan A. Lew, Joseph M. Cheer, Patrick Brouder, and Mary Mostafanezhad (eds). 2022. Global Tourism and COVID-19: Implications for Theory and Practice. Routledge.
  • 2019. Tourism studies is a geopolitical instrument: The ‘Chinese Dream’ of international academia. Tourism Geographies. (https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2019.1666912.) – Reprinted in Harng Luh Sin, Mary Mostafanezhad, and Joseph M. Cheer (eds). 2022. Recentering Tourism Geographies in the ‘Asian Century’. Routledge.
  • 2019. The “Gaps” and Excesses of Transitional Justice in Taiwan — A Response to Caldwell. Washington International Law Journal 28(3), 645-652. (https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wilj/vol28/iss3/6/)
  • 2017. Taiwan’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: The geopolitics of transitional justice in a contested state. International Journal of Transitional Justice 11(1), 92-112. (with Jamie Rowen). (https://academic.oup.com/ijtj/article/11/1/92/3048657?)
  •  2017. Touring in heterotopia: Travel, sovereignty, and exceptional spaces in Taiwan and China. Asian Anthropology 16(1), 20-34. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1683478X.2016.1252108)
  • 2016. The geopolitics of tourism: Mobilities, territory and protest in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106(2), 385-393.  (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00045608.2015.1113115) – Reprinted in May-po Kwan and Tim Schwanen (eds). 2017. Geographies of Mobility: Recent Advances in Theory and Method, 1st Edition. Routledge.
  • 2015. 遇見他者的閾限空間 Raising umbrellas in the exceptional city: Encounters with the ‘other’ in liminal space. 考古人類學刊 Kaogu renleixue kan [Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology] 83, 25-56 (with Shu-mei Huang; Chinese language).
  • 2015. Inside Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement: Twenty-Four Days in a Student-Occupied Parliament, and the Future of the Region. The Journal of Asian Studies, 74(1), 5-21. SSCI (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911814002174)
  • 2014. Tourism as a territorial strategy: The case of China and Taiwan. Annals of Tourism Research 46, 62–74. SSCI (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738314000255)

Book Chapters

  • In press. Tourism. Encyclopedia of Taiwan Studies. Brill.
  • In press. Searching for Self, Searching for Nation: New Bloom and Belonging in Taiwan. Varieties of Civil Society across Asia. Routledge. (with Bonnie Jin).
  • 2023. Transitional Justice in Taiwan: Truth and Reconciliation in a Contested State. In Kingston, Jeff and Tina Burrett (eds.), Commemorating and Contesting Trauma in East Asia. Routledge. (with Jamie Rowen).
  • 2021. Conclusion: The romance of transnational civil society in Asia. In Ogawa, Akihiro and Simon Avenell (ed.), Transnational Civil Society in Asia. Routledge.
  • 2021. Tourism and the production of state territory: The case of Taiwan and China. In Mostafanezhad, Mary and Mathilde Cordoba Azcarate and Roger Norum (eds), Tourism Geopolitics: Assemblages of Infrastructure, Affect, and Imagination. University of Arizona Press.
  • 2020. Chinese tourism as trigger and target of the Sunflower and Umbrella Movements. In Veg, Sebastian and Thomas Gold (eds), Sunflowers and Umbrellas: Social Movements, Expressive Practices, and Political Culture in Taiwan and Hong Kong, University of California Berkeley. Institute of East Asian Studies.
  • 2018. Youth activism. In Ogawa, Akihiro (ed), Routledge Handbook on Civil Society in Asia. Routledge.
  • 2018. Tourism as a territorial strategy in the South China Sea. In Spangler, Jonathan., Lopes de Souza, Moises and Dean Karalekas (eds.), Enterprises, Localities, People, and Policy in the South China Sea: Beneath the Surface. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2017.  在台灣上演「一中」Performing ‘One China’ in Taiwan: An ethnography of Chinese tourism. In 吳介民 Wu, Jieh-min et al (eds.), 吊燈裡的巨蟒: 中國因素作用力與反作用力 The Anaconda in the Chandelier: Mechanisms of influence and resistance in the China factor, 左岸出版社 Rive Gauche Publishing House. [Chinese language]. – Translated into Japanese as 台湾で「一つの中国」を演じる:中国人団体観光ツアーの政治民族誌, for 国(チャイナ)ファクターの政治社会学:台湾への影響力の浸透, published in 2021 by 白水社 Hakusuisha Publishing.

Additional Publications

  • 2022. Before the Light: A discussion with Ian Rowen on the making of Transitions in Taiwan and translating narratives of the White Terror Period. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 8(1). (interviewed by Coraline Jortay).
  • 2019. China goes to Burning Man, and reinvents it at home. Los Angeles Review of Books / China Channel (April 26). (https://chinachannel.org/2019/04/26/chinese-burning-man/)

In the Media

  • Published in The Guardian, frequently quoted in international news outlets including The New York Tiems, Nikkei Asian Review, Japan Times, BBC