About GITL


Brief History


The Origins of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature

In recent years, Taiwan literature has become an important academic discipline. Attaching great importance to the trend, the College of Liberal Arts of National Taiwan University spared no effort to promote this burgeoning research field, and firstly established the Master Program of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature in 2004. The Institute was later expanded in 2010, and thus set up the Ph.D. Program.

The Institute’s vision could be summarized in 5 main points:

1. Taiwan Literature is the essence of 100s of years of Taiwanese Experience

  In addition to the cultivation by Taiwanese aborigines, Taiwan has undergone the ruling by the Dutch, the Spanish, and the Zheng Family Dynasty. It was later taken by the Qing government but soon being ceded to Imperial Japan after the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). After World War II, with the defeat of Imperial Japan, Taiwan was placed under the control of the Kuomintang (KMT) led Republic of China. However, the KMT government, military and business community fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the civil war with the Mao Zedong-led Communist Party of China, and so made Taiwan the successor of traditional Chinese culture. Taiwan literature embodies and accumulates more than 400 years of this entangled as well as unique Taiwan experience- makes it a precious legacy that worth further investigation. 

2. Taiwan Literature has already become a specialist field of research

  Taiwan literature is considered comprehensive for it is rich in exclusive historical and cultural heritage. Taiwan literature includes a variety of subgenre such as aboriginal oral literature, Chinese classical literature, Japanese colonial period literature (which covers works of both old and new literature in Japanese and Chinese), modernist literature after 1949, and Nativist literature. Though being nourished by Chinese, Japanese, and Western literature, Taiwan literature was not limited by them. With continuing creation of literary works, it sets a new system in terms of literary canon, aesthetics, motif, and literary device. Consequently, it is necessary to regard Taiwan literature as an individual field of research in order to explore and open up new paths in the study of the humanities.

3. International Academic Circles’ Increasing Interest in Taiwan Literature

  Owing to the distinct feature of Taiwan literature, scholars around the world gradually give prominence to this discipline and are devoted to its research. Eminent universities like Tokyo University, Ochanomizu University, the University of California, the University of Texas, the University of Washington, SOAS of University of Lodon, and Ruhr University at Bochum all have dedicating departments or programs on Taiwan literature/ study. These academic institutes also take part in translating and introducing important Taiwan literary works to the public in Europe, the United States or North/East Asia. Taiwan hence has no excuses to loose contact with the growing trend, and the demand for a leading local institute of Taiwan literature becomes more eager than ever.

4. Academic Circles in Mainland China Are Actively Pursuing Teaching and Research of Taiwan Literature

  Since Taiwan literature was introduced into China in 1979, there has been a continuing trend of the publication, translation, teaching and research of Taiwan literature. In the following 10 years, 4 national or regional academic teams and 13 specialist research units for literatures from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Overseas Chinese were founded in Guangdong, Fujian, Shanghai and Beijing. 27 universities in China set up courses related to literature from Taiwan and Hong Kong. The richness and achievement of Taiwan literature also pricked the attention of several Chinese scholars for there were at least 178 theses published in China dealing with Taiwan literature in 1999. We may interpret this fact as Taiwan literature being recognized by the Chinese government and its scholars. But overall, the Chinese society still lacks a full understanding of Taiwan literature and its subjectivity. Therefore, it is urgent that local researchers of Taiwan literature make their voices heard, and put forth the results of their research.

5. Current Educational and Social Needs 

  In the past half century, language and literary education in Taiwan has being taken Chinese literary tradition as its core; only few excerpts from Taiwan literature were selected as reading materials. In recent years, Taiwan literature has eventually claimed its place in the education of humanities for honestly reflecting cultural and social diversity on the island. For the future development of Taiwan literature, the cultivation of cultural workers and young researchers is beyond necessary; thus led to the founding of the Institute to offer the higher education of Taiwan literature.

cron web_use_log