Andres Tennus

Mart Tšernjuk becomes the coordinator of Taiwanese affairs

In the beginning of January, Mart Tšernjuk started working at the Centre as the coordinator of Taiwanese affairs. What are his exact objectives and links to Taiwan can be read in his answers. 

  • What will you be doing at the Asia Centre? 

At the Asia Centre, I will be working on building partnerships with Taiwanese universities and researchers. My aim is to establish meaningful and lasting contacts between the University of Tartu and various research institutions in Taiwan.  

  • What is your background and how did you get involved with Taiwan? 

My first interest in Taiwan, Chinese language and culture, and oriental studies, in general, was already during my undergraduate studies when I had the opportunity to participate in a course on "Outlines of Eastern Civilisations" read by the distinguished Linnart Mäll, Märt Läänemets and Teet Toome. It was also a time when several reprints of Mälli's earlier translations were published, and in connection with them a number of exciting book presentations and events took place, all of which left an indelible mark on the young student. In 2009, when I entered my Master's degree, I was fortunate enough to take Märt Läänemetsa's Chinese language courses. This can be considered the starting point of my academic oriental studies journey. Läänemets gave me a research topic that I am still working on today. During my Master's studies, I spent a year studying in Hong Kong, and after graduation I continued my studies in Taiwan on a Chinese language scholarship. Since returning from Taiwan, I have tried to share my experience with students here, teaching a variety of courses on Chinese and Taiwanese language and culture. 

  • What do you do in your research? 

In my research I deal with classical ancient Chinese texts. These are the 'founding texts' on which the whole of later Chinese culture over the millennia is based. Specifically, one of the founding texts of (philosophical) Taoism, called "Zhuang-Zi" 莊子, has long been the object of my research. I am in the process of translating and interpreting this text, and hopefully in the near future it will be available to everyone in Estonian.  

  • Cultural recommendation on Taiwanese religions, and customs. 

Perhaps the most accessible part of Taiwan's rich culture to us is Taiwanese cinema. I highly recommend getting to know the work of filmmakers such as Hou Hsiao-hsien 侯孝賢, Edward Yang 楊德昌 and Tsai Ming-liang 蔡明亮. Through their films, it is possible to feel the beauty and pain of this wonderful island nation in all its colours. By the way, the award-winning Ang Lee (Lǐ Ān 李安 in Chinese), who has also made it big in Hollywood, is of Taiwanese origin.


Evelyn Pihla

Evelyn Pihla joins Centre as assistant to manager

NIAS konverents

Consuming Asia - Systems and Structures of Consumption in Modern and Contemporary Asia