Aaron Su presents Post-Fieldwork Talk to Department of Anthropology

April 10, 2024

Aaron Su, fifth-year graduate student in Anthropology, presented his post-fieldwork talk to the Department of Anthropology community on April 10th.

Aaron’s dissertation is tentatively titled, “Indigenizing ‘Self-Sufficiency’: Participatory Design and Conflicting Ethical Futures in a Taiwan on Edge.” Through 21 months of ethnographic research, Aaron examines the rollout of “participatory design” programs in Taiwan, as the government has aimed to collaborate with rural Indigenous groups in the making of new inclusionary medical and agricultural technologies. While Taiwan hopes to increase Indigenous life expectancies and agricultural yields in pursuit of national “self-sufficiency,” these programs are coming into conflict with local understandings of self-determination and futurity. Contributing to medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, the anthropology of design, and critical Indigenous studies, Aaron’s research questions the relationship between seemingly virtuous categories like diversity, inclusion, and participation and the needs of marginalized communities. In so doing, he also reveals the conflicting ethical futures facing today’s precarious and geopolitically threatened Taiwan.