The University of Texas at Austin "Taiwan Studies Program Enhancement Project (the third term of “Taiwan Studies Program” project, 2015-2018)"2009/9/1~2018/8/31
  • Project Description

    The main goal of the MOE Taiwan Studies Program at UT Austin, established in 2009 under the Department of Asian Studies, is twofold: to strengthen faculty research and graduate student training capacities in the academic area of Taiwan studies, and to provide opportunities for the university’s undergraduate students to learn about Taiwan in a systematic way. UT’s long-term commitment to research in Taiwan literature can be traced back to the 1970s that culminated in the first large-scale international symposium on the subject outside of Taiwan organised by the late Prof. Jeannette Faurot in 1979. Subsequently, Prof. Yvonne Chang, who joined the UT faculty in 1984, published two single-volume studies on Taiwan’s Modernist School and contemporary literary culture in 1993 and 2004 respectively. The establishment of the Program further brought this development to a new height. In the years that followed, another Taiwan literature specialist, Prof. Chien-hsin Tsai, and a number of high-calibre Ph.D. students—some of them had previously received their Master degrees from Harvard, Columbia, and National Cheng Chih University, and other are recipients of prestigious scholarships (Fulbright, Harrington, and Chiang Ching-kuo)—have joined the Program.
    In addition to fulfilling the mission of training future scholars for the filed, the Program has actively recruited UT professors in the humanities and social sciences disciplines to conduct research and develop new courses on topics related to Taiwan. In Fall, 2010, a Taiwan Studies Track was officially added to the Asian Studies Major--likely the first undergraduate degree program on Taiwan that has ever appeared in any place outside of Asia. Since then, as many as twelve professors and visiting scholars have joined its teaching team. The subjects of the courses they have taught so far are extremely rich and diverse. They include such topics as “Literature and Film from Taiwan,” “Taiwan: Colonization, Migration, and Identity,” “Art in Colonial Taiwan,” “Modernization in East Asia: China and Taiwan Compared,” “Popular Culture: Taiwan and South Korea,” “Taiwan: Coloniality/Postcoloniality,” “Translating Taiwan Cinema,” and the list goes on. The typically comparative approach situates Taiwan in broader contexts and analyses it from different disciplinary angles; it thus succeeds in broadening the horizon of the students’ knowledge and instilling in them a sense of global perspective.
    The Program has also hosted programs of post-doctoral fellows, visiting lecturers, and exchange scholars, each for a period of three years (the last program is still on-going).

  • Outcome Feature Description

    The Taiwan Studies Program at UT Austin has witnessed a visible growth in the last seven years. Its total number of graduate students has increased from 3 to 9, making it the largest East Asian graduate student cohort in the host department. Two of these students have received Ph.D. degrees in 2010 and 2015, respectively, and they immediately landed teaching positions as assistant professors in the US. Another doctoral student has recently defended her dissertation and expect to graduate in December 2016. Since the fall semester of 2009, the Program has offered 22 upper-division undergraduate courses on Taiwan that deal with as many as fifteen different topics and are cross-listed among six departments (Asian Studies, History, Government, Radio-Television-Film, Art History, and Asian American Studies). These courses have been enthusiastically received, with an average enrolment of 22 students. Furthermore, five more courses are in the pipeline between now and Spring 2018, among them two will feature new topics. That is to say, around 600 undergraduate students at UT Austin will have had the opportunity to study some aspects of Taiwan in an extensive, systematic, and in-depth manner.
    In these years, a cross-disciplinary faculty team coalesced around the locus of Taiwan Studies Program has emerged on the UT Austin campus. Its members have produced impressive research results on Taiwan-related subjects, published in such prestigious academic presses as Columbia UP, Stanford UP, and Cambridge UP, and Harvard University Asia entre. Particularly noteworthy, individual scholars of the team, empowered, have launched a growing number of high-quality Taiwan-focused projects in their own disciplinary field. In retrospect, the major international conference “Taiwan Literature in East Asia: Methodology and Comparative Framework” that the Program organized in June 2011 was a landmark event, which has ushered in a period of steady increase in Taiwan-related activities on UT campus supported by multiple sponsoring agents (CCK Foundation, National Central Library in Taiwan, Spotlight Taiwan, the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as UT’s own China Endowment and the Institution of Historical Studies). The Program, to be sure, has provided a stable, long-term institutional framework that both facilitated and provided a solid anchor for these efforts. In addition to helping individual scholars to reach their career goals, these initiatives have significantly expanded the scope of influence of the Program, raised its visibility on the UT campus to an unprecedented level, and thus served as testimonies to its achievement and contribution.


    • School:University of Texas at Austin
    • Continent:North America
    • Country\Area:United States of America
  • Photographs

    • Taken after the seminars given by writers Chu T’ien-wen and Liu Ke-hsiang on November 9,
2009, with UT faculty and graduate students.
    • Writer Huang Chunming talked to UT faculty and graduate students at Professor Yvonne
Chang’s house on October 20, 2011.
    • Film producer and critic Peggy Hsiung-ping Chiao received the UT College of Communication's
2011-12 William Randolph Hearst Fellow Award from Professor Thomas Schatz from
UT’sRadio-TV-Film Department on November 11, 2011.
    • UT undergraduate students taking photos with Professor Pai Hsien-yung after his public lecture
on “Literature and History: From Taipei People to My Father and Republican China” on
February 22, 2013.
    • The Columbia Sourcebook of Literary Taiwan, which Prof. Yvonne Chang at UT, together with
Prof. Michelle Yeh at UC Davis and Prof. Ming-ju Fan at National Chengchi University, had
spent many years to compile and edit.