The Hoover Institution Library & Archives has acquired the papers of Thomas B. Gold, a retired professor from the University of California–Berkeley reputed for his research into Taiwan. Born in 1948, Gold began his study of China on a whim as a student at Oberlin College, where he graduated in 1970. He made his first trip to Asia in the summer of 1969 to study Chinese at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan. From 1970 to 1972 he taught English at Tunghai under the auspices of the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association. Gold received his PhD in sociology from Harvard in 1981. For his dissertation he tested theories of underdevelopment, dependency, and world systems on the Taiwan experience, as one of the first scholars to bring East Asia into the debates that had focused primarily on failures of development in Latin America and Africa. In 1979 he was in the first group of American government–sponsored exchange students to study in China, spending a year in the Modern Chinese Literature Department at Fudan University in Shanghai. He has published widely on topics related to Taiwan’s political economy and social change, as well as many aspects of Chinese society such as youth, private business, civil society, popular culture, and guanxi (social networks).

The Thomas B. Gold papers include rich correspondence between Gold and many of Taiwan’s anti-KMT (Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party) political dissidents in the 1970s and the 1980s, and photos related to Gold’s academic activities in Taiwan, his meetings with Taiwanese politicians, and his observation of Taiwan’s election campaign rallies. Included in this collection are also examples of the “grey literature” published by the anti-KMT political elements, Taiwanese government statements and reports, and numerous political ephemera (printed matter, limited-distribution reports, promotional material, speeches, appeals, and leaflets produced by the anti-KMT movements before Taiwan became democratized), and audiovisual products and other artifacts produced by political candidates from both the KMT and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party from the 1970s to the 2000s. These historical materials complement and enrich Hoover’s existing collections on contemporary Taiwan, providing an opportunity to comprehend Taiwan’s uneasy road toward democratization.

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Group of people sitting some holding flags
Thomas Gold (right) with a few American colleagues in a grassroots election rally in southern Taiwan, ca. 2000.
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Literature laid out in a 3x2 grid
Samples of “grey literature” in the Thomas B. Gold papers.
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Two men wearing suits shaking hands
Thomas Gold meets with Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui, ca. 1989.
Hsiao-ting Lin Hoover Headshot

Hsiao-ting Lin

Curator, Modern China & Taiwan Collection / Research Fellow

Hsiao-ting Lin is a research fellow and curator of the Modern China and Taiwan collection at the Hoover Institution, for which he collects material on China and Taiwan, as well as China-related…

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