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Professor Hsueh-chi Hsu on the Development of the Study of Taiwan History

February 22, 2021

On March 1st, Professor Hsu presented a lecture on how the study of Taiwan history has developed and how the field can be understood. Over the past decade, the study of Taiwan history has steadily increased, with about 1,196 monographs, dissertations, and theses being produced in 2010, to about 1,551 in 2019. The most popular topic tends to be the study of culture in Taiwan history, rather than other topics such as politics or economy. Professor Hsu spoke on how the field of Taiwan history slowly separated from being thought of as a regional focus within China history studies, and how the simultaneous establishment of three Taiwan history research centers greatly helped this endeavor. With the establishment of Taiwan history as an independent field, other developments unfolded, such as delineating various historical timeframes. Professor Hsu suggests four primary time periods studied – early period (早期), Qing dynasty (清代), Japanese rule (日治), and post-war (戰後) – along with studies that don’t necessarily fit in any of these defined periods. Lastly, the study of Taiwan history has been incorporated into the K-12 educational curriculum, securing its place as foundational to Taiwanese education and academia.