Dr. Ying-Jen Lin, Sociocultural Anthropology

Ying-Jen Lin smiling and holding child

Dr. Ying-Jen Lin came to MSU from Taiwan with a B.S. degree in Life Sciences and an M.A. in Museum Studies. During her time as a graduate student in the Department, she developed and pursued interests in working with Indigenous groups in Taiwan on issues of Traditional Knowledge (Intangible Cultural Heritage) and Economic Development through collaborative community forestry management and ecotourism. She regularly returned to Taiwan to work with Taiwanese Indigenous communities, including the Tao of Orchid Island and the Adiri and Labuwan of southwest Taiwan.

Dr. Lin’s dissertation, “Asserting Sovereignty Through Strategic Accommodation: The Rukai People and Collaborative Conservation in Pingtung, Taiwan”, contributes to the larger discourse of Indigenous Sovereignty as part of State-directed conservation initiatives, such as the Asian/Western Pacific Rim-focused Satoyama Initiative. Her research critically analyzes standard representations of neoliberal implementation of such initiatives and the often-observed outcomes of the subversion of Indigenous sovereignty and diminishment of rights and access to traditional lands and subsistence. In particular, Dr. Lin examines the relationship between the State-sponsored Community Forestry Laboratory of the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology and the Rukai people. Her findings challenge the standard neoliberal critique and demonstrate that Indigenous communities strategically assert sovereignty and agency in the development of ecotourism and natural resource management programs that allow for the continuance of cultural tradition while also benefitting economically.

Upon earning her PhD in 2020, Dr. Lin has pursued continued Academic Training through the MSU Office of International Students and Scholars with her former advisor, Dr, John Norder, and has recently joined a project as a Research Associate with the University of Michigan Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. 

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