University of Toronto "Global Taiwan Studies Program (GTS)"2016/9/1~2018/8/30
  • Project Description

    The GTS Program at the Asian Institute ran from fall 2011 to spring 2014 and was designed to foster a deeper, multidisciplinary understanding of Taiwan in its development as a nation and its integration into the global community. The AI’s aim for the GTS program was to enhance our teaching, scholarship, and outreach efforts through supplementary programming in an important, but under-represented field, through the following components:

    JPA411H: Global Taiwan. A half year, multidisciplinary course for senior undergraduate students, offered jointly by the Contemporary Asian Studies program and the Department of Political Science. This intimate seminar, taught by Professor Joseph Wong, explored the place of Taiwan in the new global economy from historical, comparative, and international relations perspectives.

    Global Taiwan Lecture Series. This series featured a wide range of public events on Taiwan, drawing from the humanities, social sciences, engineering, and innovation studies. From2011to 2014, the AI presented 40major academic and community events on Taiwan. A focal point of the program was the annual public lecture by the visiting scholar (outlined below), as well as a number of film events including high profile collaborations with TIFF Bell Lightbox.

    Visiting Scholars Program. This program brought leading scholars on Taiwan from around the world to teach seminars in our Global Taiwan course and to present a public lecture at U of T. Our visitors included Shelley Rigger (Davidson College), Chang-Ling Huang (National Taiwan University), Shu-Mei Shih (UCLA), and Stéphane Corcuff (University of Lyons).

  • Outcome Feature Description

    The GTS program was extremely successful, leading to a growing interest in the study of Taiwan among students, faculty, and the wider U of T and Toronto community. The interdisciplinary program examined political, economic and security dimensions of global Taiwan and questions relating to culture, global culture, and identity (especially through film).

    After gaining a strong reputation in its first year, the Global Taiwan course consistently attracted a waiting list of students, leading to an increased enrollment cap. Course evaluations attest to the high quality of teaching. One student wrote that this was the “best course I have ever taken in my U of T career!!!” Student responses to the visiting scholars were also enthusiastic. Stéphane Corcuff’s seminars in the Global Taiwan course were highly anticipated, and his talk on writing history and politics in Taiwan was described by students as “intensely smart” and “deeply knowledgeable.”

    Attendance at our Global Taiwan events was impressive, with rooms consistently at or near capacity for all our major events. The film events were particularly well-attended, drawing hundreds of attendees per screening and regularly maxing out the room capacity. Feedback from faculty and students told us that the level of intellectual exchange at these events was first rate, and they inspired a renewed interest in Taiwan Studies among U of T scholars.

    The GTS program also generated several spillover activities, including a student research trip to observe the 2012 presidential elections in Taiwan; the establishment of the Social Innovation Research Group (Surge, formerly SIRG) based in Taipei; acclaimed and award-winning student documentary films; an international course module trip to Taiwan and Xiamen, China, funded by the Faculty of Arts and Science; and event partnerships with Toronto film institutions.


    • School:University of Toronto
    • Continent:North America
    • Country\Area:Canada
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