1. To Develop researches in Modern and Contemporary Taiwanese history so as to integrate them into the international and local research debates.
If we look at it from the point of views emitted by Professor Tseng Yong-He that “(Taiwan’s)exchanges are defined and confined by the chinese seas”and “Taiwan’s is an Island history”, the evolution of the history of Taiwan has always been bound to the evolution of world trends and the state of affairs in the Asia-pacific island chain. After the nineteenth century, mostly because of the expansion of the colonial powers in Asia, Taiwan experienced the double transformation of colonialism and accelerated modernization in the scope of one hundred years. This causes Taiwan history to be rich in different experiences, a kind of historical kaleidoscope. Furthermore, under the pressing influence of those international powers, Taiwanese had opportunities to slowly spread all over the world. Based on the above, we understand that to investigate Taiwanese history we need a local grounding, but what we need even more is a broad international view. The exchanges, influences and interactions between those lands and the rest of the world are at the core of this center teaching and research. This way, can we not only deepen our own understanding of Taiwan’s history , but we can also, through the Taiwanese specific experience of colonialism and modernization, join the local and international research debate and develop an international approach to researches in Taiwanese history. According to those here defined objectives and considering the original specialties of professors working at National Chengchi university, the availability of material and resources, etc…, when it had just been founded, this center emphasized the development of researches in modern and contemporaneous history of Taiwan, History of the relations between Taiwan and the outside world (which we could name“foreign affairs history”), Legal history of Taiwan, etc…. Today, following the existing staff specific competencies, the center puts the emphasis of its research on the Taiwanese civil right movement and the maritime history of Taiwan.
2. To stress the importance of Interdisciplinary integration and Methodology training
Researches in Taiwanese history of the last hundred years had an interdisciplinary specificity from the origin. More than half the Japanese researchers that wrote about Taiwan during the Japanese colonization were trained in other domains than History: Anthropology, Linguistics, Folklore studies, Geography, Economics and more. After the second world war, this tradition was not only not ended, but it developed further with even more different domains joined to this grand endeavor : Architecture, Urbanism, Medicine, Biology, Ecology, Sociology, Litterature, Law , etc…all have produced research results worthy of being used as sources. Research in Taiwan history has this tradition of multi-disciplinarity, in addition, Chengchi university disposes of rich resources in social/human sciences, so this center should by itself also work to strengthen multidisciplinary interaction and integration. Also, methodology wise, in continuity with the specific experience of the recent colonization of Taiwan, , students should be trained in the three fields of concepts, methods and historiography so as to develop a critical and cautious (research) attitude, especially in regards to the theoretical debates on post colonialism. In order to achieve this goal, the center offers research training programs. Several fulltime professors are in charge of giving the compulsory classes and specific topics guidance program. On one hand, this aims at strengthening the student research capacities and methods, on the other hand, it also aims at cultivating and improving the researchers knowledge of his/her field of specialization. Beside, to further strengthen our research capacities in relation to our project of future internationalization, this center considers than more than in English, our researchers should be trained in, at least, a second foreign language. In the pursuit of this objective, all researchers of this center already strive to improve their capacities in Japanese. The center also offers ad hoc topic related material in foreign languages from the second grade on. This will improve the researches in the specialized field of Taiwan history one step further, establish a firm base for the students’ academic researches and allow them to enter academic doctorate programs so as to further develop high quality academic research.
3. General training and research in Taiwanese history , Primary and High School education, Local customs promotion movements , Archive libraries, museums, etc… and the professional talents needed in Taiwanese history.
Education and research are two sides of the same coin, and research provides education with its most needed basic material. The two afore mentioned objectives are in truth a plan to put research at the heart of education. Students possessing independent research capacities, can not only reach the exigencies in term of education material of the planned improvement in the teaching of Taiwan history, but also rise as teachers specialized in this history. They will also be more apt to become the kind of literature and history specialists and teachers that can, after the reform of education, promote an otherwise weak Taiwan history subject.
The local customs promotions movements and the workshops on local history and literature which are nowadays promoted also require professional talents in Taiwan history. The Graduate institute of Taiwan history of National Chengchi university is really an ideal environment to nurture this kind of talents.
At the same time, to accommodate with the current national organization regarding archives and to address the needs in human resources of various communities’ memorials and museums, this center also promotes training in museum and archival work, so as to nurture talents having both the knowledge of archival and museum work and a strong understanding of Taiwanese history. This part is not merely about stressing on the development of professional archival studies, consequently we do not only encourage our students to follow classes on archival work, but we also actively try to appoint part time teachers who offer classes related to the archives of the governorate general of the Japanese government, the official archives of the period following the second world war and the Kuomintang (Nationalist party of China) archives. At present, we already have a promise from the director of the national history museum that next year, he will appoint researchers specialized in the museum’s collections and archives related to Taiwan history to our department, so as to teach a series of classes to improve the capacities of our students and researchers in archive related work.