Spring 2018 - HIST 268 D100

STT-History of Taiwan: Island and the World (3)

Class Number: 3301

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 10031, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby



A broad survey of Taiwanese history from the prehistoric period to the present. Key topics include European expansion, cross-strait interaction, (sub-) ethnic relations, and (post-) colonial development. Using films, novels, and primary texts, this course aims to help students to acquire basic knowledge about Taiwan in broader context.


This course offers a broad survey of Taiwanese history from the prehistoric period to the present. The goal of the course is to help students develop substantial understanding of the foundations of Taiwanese society and improve their skills in critical historical analysis. This course discusses a wide array of factors and dynamics that shaped and changed the geocultural space that we call “Taiwan” today. It examines both domestic and global forces behind the formation of Taiwanese society and explores the complex interactions between socio-political actors within and without Taiwan Island.

A number of significant topics will be discussed in our lectures and tutorials, including the Dutch and Spanish rule of Taiwan, the life and culture of the aboriginal peoples, the expansion of Han Chinese settlers and their encounters with the aborigines, the rise of piracy and the network of the Zheng regime, the ruling strategies of the Qing empire and the complex sub-ethnic relations on the borderland, the advent of Japanese colonial rule, the Kuomintang’s martial law system, the campaign of “Chinese Cultural Renaissance” and the life of ordinary people during the Cold War. The course also covers the most recent developments in cross-strait relations, including the interactions between people from both sides.

We will examine movies, novels, and some inspiring documentaries regarding the life of Taiwanese people, both inside and outside the island. Several movies will be examined as supplementary sources to this class, including A City of Sadness (1989), A Brighter Summer Day (1991), A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985), Banana Paradise (1989), Seediq Bale (2011), and Kano (2014). While we’re enjoying bubble tea and delicious Taiwanese foods, we’ll also be making sense of the dynamics behind the spread of Taiwanese culture. Moreover, we will seek a way to build a dialogue between Taiwan and the world, something we can and should do when cultural encounters and exchanges take place around the globe.


  • Attendance 10%
  • Class participation 15%
  • Mid-term examination 35%
  • Final examination 40%



Murray A. Rubinstein ed., Taiwan: A New History (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2006).


Tonio Andrade, How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish, and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

John Shepherd, Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600–1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).

Andrew D. Morris ed., Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and its Contested Legacy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).

Leo Ching, Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Registrar Notes:

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