Course Information
Course title
Contemporary Taiwanese Society 
Designated for
Curriculum Number
Curriculum Identity Number
Wednesday 6,7,8(13:20~16:20) 
Restriction: juniors and beyond
The upper limit of the number of students: 40.
The upper limit of the number of non-majors: 10. 
Course introduction video
Table of Core Capabilities and Curriculum Planning
Association has not been established
Course Syllabus
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Course Description

As a democratized, globalized and multi-ethnic society, contemporary Taiwan is rich in cultural diversity. Not only is Taiwan often influenced by international trends, but her domestic environment provides a fertile ground for social innovations; as a result, Taiwan’s social fabric and cultural landscapes are undergoing a process of permanent revolution.
This course is intended to introduce economic, political, cultural, religious, gender, and other dynamics of Taiwan’s society. The primary goal is to bring about an in-depth understanding of the contending forces that are constantly remaking Taiwan. While the focus is on the present, some historical topics are included for a grip on the preceding transformations in the postwar era. A survey on contemporary Taiwan’s society necessarily sensitizes us to the complicated nature of social groupings. Differences in ethnicity, class, gender, region, age, sexual orientation, religious belief, and lifestyle give rise to highly diversified cultural expressions, among which contention and cooperation co-exist. 

Course Objective
Enriching the understanding of Taiwan’s social dynamics is the primary course goal. For this aim, I select published academic works on Taiwan written in English as the required readings for the class. Not all these works are written by sociologists; some are written by anthropologists, political scientists and historians. Interdisciplinary dialogues are encouraged here. To facilitate classroom discussion, I avoid using the texts that are either theoretically sophisticated or technically challenging. Topics are selected because of the availability of published works, the significance of the issues, and finally the contemporary relevance.
More explicitly there are two goals for this course.
First, for Taiwan-based students, it is designed to be an opportunity to improve English fluency in academic discussion and writings. In addition, even though the required readings deal with familiar phenomena that can be found in the daily life, learning how to view them in a different perspective helps to sharpen one’s “sociological imagination.” As Zygmunt Bauman puts it, one of the essential sociological trainings consists in “exoticizing the familiar”, thereby bringing out the hidden and neglected meanings of our daily practices.
Secondly, for the international students, this course provides an advanced cultural orientation to Taiwanese society. Cross-cultural comparisons, especially with home countries, are encouraged. Hopefully, this introductory course is helpful for the later choice of research topic. 
Course Requirement
This course has three 50-minute sections, and the whole 150 minutes are structured in two parts. The first 90 minutes are devoted to lecture given by the instructor on various topics. During the lecture, questions and discussion from the students are encouraged. Multimedia materials will be used to facilitate student understanding. Usually the instructors’ weekly presentation files will be uploaded to the online repository prior to the class. Then we will have a 20-minute break.
The last part is international comparison, which requires more active participation from students. Each weak, three Taiwan-based topics and their online sources will be prepared in advance. They are usually events, incidents, persons, or trends in Taiwan. Students take turns to (1) summarize the Taiwanese topics, (2) to find a related or comparable case abroad or from her/his country, and (3) to analyze the similarities and differences. Each student need to finish the international comparison within 15 minutes, leaving 5 minutes for discussion. The use of presentation file is encouraged, but not compulsory.
There are 30 Taiwan-related topics in this course. If enrolled students are more than this number, students can team up for one topic.

Weekly classroom attendance is required. If there is a need to take a leave, students need to use the formal online procedure for prior application (

In addition, participant students need to write two review essays on the selected monographs of Taiwan studies. Please see the suggested reading list below (except for the titles under the category “handbooks, anthologies, and general references”). The NTU Library has reserved a designated area of books (
Each piece should be around 1,500 words in length and is due in the seventh (March 30) and the fourteenth week (May 18). Files should be uploaded to NTU-COOL on time. An ideal review should comprise of (1) a concise summary of main arguments and findings of the book, (2) a critical evaluation of its contribution to the existing literature, and (3) criticisms in the light of future research or suggestions for improvement and so on. Plagiarism in any form is not tolerated.
A printout for the required readings will be available at 帝宇影印店 (2736-8495,辛亥路2段155號1樓).

Classroom rules: eating and drinking is permitted, as long as it does not create a nuisance for other people. Use of notebooks is fine, but that of mobile phones and iPads is frown upon.  
Student Workload (expected study time outside of class per week)
Office Hours
Appointment required. Note: Wednesday, 10 am- noon (by appointment) 
Handbooks, anthologies, and general references:
Bush, Richard C. (2021) Difficult Choices: Taiwan’s Quest for Security and the Good Life. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Hsiao, Michael Hsin-huang et al. (eds.) (forthcoming) Encyclopedia of Taiwan Studies. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill Press.
Murray, A. Rubinstein (ed.) (2007) Taiwan: A New History. New York: M. E. Sharpe.
Rigger, Shelley (2011) Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Schubert, Gunter (ed.) (2016) Routeldge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan. London: Routeldge.

The Legacy of Wars
Clough, Ralph N. (1978) Island China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Lai, Tse-Han, Ramon H. Myers, and Wei Wou (1991) A Tragic Beginning: The Taiwan Uprising of February 28, 1947. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Rowen, Ian (eds.) (2021) Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror. New York: Cambria Press.
Szonyi Michael (2008) Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lin, Hsiao-Ting (2016) Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Economic Transformations
Gold, Thomas B. (1986) State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle. New York: M .E. Sharpe.
Greene, Megan (2008) The Origins of the Developmental State in Taiwan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Lee, Yoonkyung (2011) Militants or Partisans: Labor Unions and Democratic Politics in Korea and Taiwan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Lin, Syaru Shirley (2016) Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press,
Wade, Robert (1990) Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Winckler, Edwin A. and Susan Greenhalgh (eds.) (1988) Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan. London: Routeldge.
Wong, Joseph (2011) Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia’s Development States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Changing Identities
Brown, Melissa (2004) Is Taiwan Chinese? The Impact of Culture, Power, and Migration on Changing Identities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Brown, Melissa (ed.) (1996) Negotiating Ethnicities in China and Taiwan. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Ching, Leo (2001) Becoming Japanese Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Dawley, Evan (2019). Becoming Taiwanese: Ethnogenesis in a Colonial City. Cambridge, MA: Harvard East Asian Monographs.
Dupré, Jean-François (2018) Cultural Politics and Linguistic Recognition in Taiwan: Ethnicity, National Identity, and the Party System. London: Routledge.
Morris, Andrew (2010) Colonial Project, National Game: A History of Baseball in Taiwan. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Hsiau, A-Chin (2000) Contemporary Taiwanese Cultural Nationalism. London: Routledge.

Fan, Yun (2018) Social Movements in Taiwan’s Democratic Transition: Linking Activists to the Changing Political Environment. New York: Routledge.
Fell, Dafydd (2012) Government and Politics in Taiwan. London. New York: Routledge.
Jacobs, J. Bruce (2008) Local Politics in Rural Taiwan under Dictatorship and Democracy. Norwalk, CT: EastBridge.
Rigger, Shelley (1999). Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy. London: Routledge.
Wong, Joseph (2004) Healthy Democracies: Welfare Politics in Taiwan and South Korea. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Religions in the Public Sphere
Chen, Carolyn (2014) Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Huang, C. Julia (2009) Charisma and Compassion: Cheng-Yen and the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Movement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Rubinstein, Murray A. (1991) The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Place, Community, and Everyday Life
Ahern, Emily Martin and Hill Gates (eds.) (1981) The Anthropology of Taiwanese Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Allen, Joseph R (2011) Taipei: City of Displacements. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
DeGlopper, Donald R. (1995) Lukang: Commerce and Community in a Chinese City. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Lu, Hsin-Yi (2002) The Politics of Locality: Making a Nation of Communities in Taiwan. London: Routledge.
Read, Benjamin (2012) Roots of the State: Neighborhood Organization and Social Networks in Beijing and Taipei. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Chang, Chia-ju and Scott Slovic (eds.) (2016) Ecocriticism in Taiwan: Identity, Environment, and the Arts. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Fell, Dafydd (2021) Taiwan's Green Parties: Alternative Politics in Taiwan. London: Routledge.
Grano, Simona Alba (2015) Environmental Governance in Taiwan: A New Generation of Activists and Stakeholders. London: Routledge.
Ho, Wan‑Li (2016) Ecofamilism: Women, Religion, and Environmental Protection in Taiwan. Honolulu, HI: Three Pines Press.
Liu, Hwa-Jen (2015) Leverage of the Weak: Labor and Environmental Movements in Taiwan and South Korea. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Reardon-Anderson, James (1992) Pollution, Politics and Foreign Investment in Taiwan: The Lukang Rebellion. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.
Weller, Robert P. (1999) Alternative Civilities: Democracy and Culture in China and Taiwan. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Gender Politics and Culture
Lan, Pei-Chia (2006) Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan. Duke, NC: Duke University Press.
Lan, Pei-Chia (2018) Raising Global Families: Parenting, Immigration, and Class in Taiwan and the US. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Lee, Anru (2004) In the Name of Harmony and Prosperity: Labor and Gender Politics in Taiwan’s Economic Restructuring. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Moskowitz, Marc L. (eds.) (2011) Popular Culture in Taiwan: Charismatic Modernity. London: Routledge.

Youth Politics
Fell, Dafydd (ed.) (2017) Taiwan’s Social Movements under Ma Ying-jeou. London: Routledge.
Gold, Thomas and Sebastian Veg (eds.) (2020) Sunflowers and Umbrellas Social Movements, Expressive Practices, and Political Culture in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Berkeley, CA: University of California Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies.
Wright, Teresa (2001) The Perils of Protest: State Repression and Student Activism in China and Taiwan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press.
Designated reading
See below 
Explanations for the conditions
Classroom participation 
International comparison presentation 
Book review essay I 
Book review essay II 
Week 1
2/16  Week 1: Course Introduction 
Week 2
2/23  Week 2: The Legacy of Wars (I)
Guest speech: Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang (University of Missouri)
"The Great Exodus from China: The Postwar Mainlanders in Taiwan" 
Week 3
3/2  Week 3: The Legacy of Wars (II)
Philips, Steven E. (2003) Between Assimilation and Independence: The Taiwanese Encounter Nationalist China, 1945-1950. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp.64-88.
Ho, Ming-sho Ho (2014) Working Class Formation in Taiwan: Fractured Solidarity in State-Owned Enterprises, 1945-2012. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 33-64.
#1 February 28 Incident (an Wikipedia entry,
#2 White Terror Period (National Human Rights Museum,
#3 Chiang Kai-Shek statue removal and the disputes (a report by Brian Hioe, 
Week 4
3/9  Week 4: The Legacy of Wars (III)
Lin, Wei-Ping (2021) Island Fantasia: Imagining Subjects on the Military Frontline between China and Taiwan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-108.
Ho, Ming-sho (2008) “The Contentious Democratization of the Environment: Militarism, Conservation and Livelihood in a Taiwanese Village.” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 36(2): 269-291.
#1 Martial Law in Taiwan (a Wikipedia entry,
#2 Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, or August 23 Artillery Battle in 1958 (Wikipedia entry,
#3 Taiwan’s military instructors in school (two journalistic reports in Taipei Times,, 
Week 5
3/16  Week 5:The Legacy of Wars (IV)
Field trip to the National Human Rights Museum Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park. (No. 131, Fuxing Rd, Xindian District, New Taipei City, 231) 
Week 6
3/23  Week 6: Economic Transformations (I)
Rigger, Shelley (2011) Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp.41-58.
Ho, Ming-sho (2014) Working Class Formation in Taiwan, pp. 121-136.
#1 Export Process Zone in Taiwan (a report by AmCham Taiwan,
#2 Radio Corporation of America Incident (a report by Han-Hsi “Indy” Liu and Fangchun Chu,
#3 Hard-working Taiwanese? (a BBC report, 
Week 7
3/30  Week 7: Economic Transformations (II)
Hamilton, Gary G. and Cheng-shu Kao (2018) Making Money: How Taiwanese Industries Embraced the Global Economy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 153-211.
Kirby, William (2013) “Global Business across the Taiwan Strait: The Case of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited,” in Mobile Horizons: Dynamics across the Taiwan Strait, ed. by Wen-hsin Yeh. Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, pp. 178-208.
#1 The rise and decline of “China Opportunity” for Taiwan (a piece by Min-Hua Chiang,
#2 Worsened income inequalities (a piece by Thung-Hong Lin,
#3 Rising housing price and protests (a piece by Brian Hioe, 
Week 8
4/6  Week 8: Changing Identities
Hsiau, A-Chin (2021) Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan: Youth, Narrative, and Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 46-89.
Jacobs, J. Bruce (2005) “‘Taiwanization’ in Taiwan’s Politics,” in Cultural, Ethnic and Political Nationalism in Contemporary Taiwan: Bentuhua, eds. by John Makeham and A-Chin Hsiau. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 17-54.
#1 Sports and national identity in Taiwan (a piece by Gerald R. Gems,
#2 Democratic values as the source for a national identity (a Foreign Affairs article by Tsai Ing-wen,
#3 #MilkTeaAlliance and beyond: national identities in twitter campaigns (a piece by Brian Hioe, 
Week 9
4/13  Week 9: Democratization
Rigger, Shelley (2011) Why Taiwan Matters, pp.59-94.
Ho, Ming-sho (2019) Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 21-70.
#1 Kaohsiung Incident, or Formosa Magazine Incident of 1979 (a Wikipedia entry,
#2 Nylon Cheng’s life, (Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation’s description (
#3 Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s Mr. Democracy (an obituary in New York Times, 
Week 10
4/20  Week 10: Religions in the Public Sphere
Madsen, Richard (2007) Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. xiii-50.
Huang, C. Julia (2003) “Sacred or Profane? The Compassion Relief Movement’s Transnationalism in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and the United States.” European Journal of East Asian Studies 2(2): 217-241.
Ho, Ming-sho (2020) “The Religion-Based Conservative Countermovement in Taiwan: Origin, Tactics and Impacts,” in Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia between Entanglement and Contention in Post High Growth, eds. by David Chiavacci, Simona A. Grano, and Julia Obinger. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 141-166.
#1 Secularization in Taiwan? (a piece by Scott Pacey,
#2 The Mazu Pilgrimage (a report in the Commonwealth Magazine,
#3 Religions and the COVID-19 (a piece by En-Chieh Chao, 
Week 11
4/27  Week 11: Place, Community, and Everyday Life
Chuang, Ya-chung (2013) Democracy on Trail: Social Movements and Cultural Politics in Postauthoritarian Taiwan. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, pp. 143-198.
Chipman, Elana (2008) “The Local Production of Culture in Beigan.” Taiwan Journal of Anthropology 6(1): 1-30.
Ho, Ming-sho (2012) “Sponsoring Civil Society: State and Community Movement in Taiwan.” Sociological Inquiry 82(3): 404-423.
#1 A heritage restoration project in Taipei (a report in Taipei Times,
#2 Old street tourism, (a tourist blog piece to Jiufen Old Street,
#3 Meinung Township: how an anti-dam movement revitalized a Hakka community (an Environmental Justice Map, h 
Week 12
5/4  Week 12: Environmentalism
Weller, Robert P. (2006) Discovering Nature: Globalization and Environmental Culture in China and Taiwan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 105-128.
Ho, Ming-sho (2014) “The Fukushima Effect: Explaining the Recent Resurgence of the Anti-nuclear Movement in Taiwan.” Environmental Politics 23(6): 965-983.
Lai, Huei-Ling (2021) “Foregrounding the Community: Geo-historical Entanglements of Community Energy, Environmental Justice, and Place in Taihsi Village, Taiwan.” EPE: Nature and Space, DOI: 10.1177/25148486211000745.
#1 Air pollution as a newly-emerged concern (a piece by Ming-sho Ho,
#2 Net zero and climate action (a piece by Ming-sho Ho,
#3 Green energy and its environmental problems (a piece by Robin Winkler, 
Week 13
5/11  Week 13: Gender Politics and Culture (I)
Yueh, Hsin-I Sydney (2017) Identity Politics and Popular Culture in Taiwan
A Sajiao Generation. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 1-56.
Bonnie Adrian (2003) Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan’s Bridal Industry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 1-23, 147-203.
#1 Awakening Foundation, Taiwan’s first feminist advocacy group (the foundation’s self-introduction,
#2 Sexual harassment and #MeToo in Taiwan (a piece by Timothy Rich and Jessica Kiehnau,
#3 Maid coffee culture in Taiwan (a Vice report, 
Week 14
5/18  Week 14: Gender Politics and Culture (II)
Damm, Jens (2011) “Discrimination and Backlash against Homosexual Groups,” in Politics of Difference in Taiwan, eds. by Tak-wing Ngo and Hong-zen Wang. London: Routledge, pp. 152-180,
Ho, Ming-sho (2019) “Taiwan’s Road to Marriage Equality: Politics of Legalizing Same-sex Marriage.” China Quarterly 238: 482-503.
#1 Taiwan Pride Parade (a News Lens report,
#2 Chi Chia-wei’s story (a Reporter report,
#3 Boys’ Love creations in Taiwan and other Asian countries (a piece by Fujimoto Yukari, 
Week 15
5/25  Week 15: Youth Politics (I)
Wright, Teresa (2012) “Taiwan: Resisting Control of Campus and Polity,” in Student Activism in Asia: Between Protest and Powerlessness, eds. by Meredith L. Weiss and Edward Aspinall. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 101-24.
Rowen, Ian (2015) “Inside Taiwan's Sunflower Movement: Twenty-Four Days in a Student-Occupied Parliament, and the Future of the Region.” Journal of Asian Studies 74(1): 5-21.
#1 New economic realities for the youth generation (a piece by Thung-hong Lin,
#2 Data activism and democratic participation (a piece by Sam Robbins,
#3 Consequences of youth activism (a piece by Ming-sho Ho, 
Week 16
6/1  Week 16: Youth Politics (II)
Field trip to meet Taipei City Councilors (candidates include Pei-yi Wu and Po-ya Miao) and National Legislators (candidates include Freddy Lim and Sun-han Hung).