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Taiwan MA Seminar


Taiwan, Asia, and the World, 1624-1945

Admission requirements



This course offers a critical examination of Taiwan's intricate history spanning from the early colonial era to the end of World War II, with specific emphasis on its interactions with the Netherlands, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and its global relevance. We commence with an introductory module that establishes Taiwan's foundational aspects, including its geography and culture, and explore its early indigenous communities. The course then delves into significant historical junctures, beginning with Dutch and Spanish colonial influences and the noteworthy presence of the Zheng family. Subsequently, we examine Taiwan's integration into the Qing Empire, tracing the evolution of its administrative structures and scrutinizing the late Qing era, characterized by European influences and societal reforms. As the course progresses, we transition to the Japanese colonial period, exploring Japanese policies, resilient Taiwanese resistance, and cultural transformations between 1895 and 1945. Additionally, we adopt a cultural historical perspective, exploring topics such as gender, identity, sport, and fashion in Taiwan's history.

Course objectives

This course will provide a critical overview of the history of Taiwan between 1624 and 1945, in which students will deepen their understanding of the historical processes in shaping Taiwan in a regional and global context.

Students will cultivate abilities to critically evaluate historical and historiographical arguments in the fields of Taiwanese, Asian, and global history.

They will develop familiarity with a range of disciplines and approaches, including gender, societal, intellectual, food, and sport, central to the past, present, and future of Taiwan.

They will also develop critical thinking, the ability to gather and process information working with secondary sources, as well as analytical, writing, and presentation skills.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

In-class presentation 30%
Class participation 20%
Final essay 50%

Assessment and weighing

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:

Partial Assessment Weighing
In-class presentation 30%
Class participation 20%
Final essay 50%

In order to pass the course, students need a passing mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole AND [for a particular part].


There will be no resit for the course work, but individual submissions can compensate each other.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

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

  • Andrade, Tonio, Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013).

  • Barclay, Paul D., Outcasts of Empire: Japan's Rule on Taiwan's "Savage Border," 1874-1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018).

  • Berry, Michael (ed.), The Musha Incident A Reader on the Indigenous Uprising in Colonial Taiwan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022).

  • Binghui Liao, Dewei Wang (eds.), Taiwan Under Japanese Colonial Rule, 1895-1945: History, Culture, Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006).

  • Dawley, Evan N., Becoming Taiwanese: Ethnogenesis in a Colonial City, 1880s-1950s (Leide: Brill, 2020).

  • Eskildsen, Robert, Transforming Empire in Japan and East Asia The Taiwan Expedition and the Birth of Japanese Imperialism (Singapore: Springer, 2019).

  • Hang, Xing, Conflict and Commerce in Maritime East Asia: The Zheng Family and the Shaping of the Modern World, C.1620-1720 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

  • Manthorpe, Jonathan, Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

  • Po, Ronald C., The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

  • Rubinstein, Murray A. (ed.), Taiwan: A New History (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2007).

  • Shepherd, John Robert, Statecraft and political economy on the Taiwan frontier, 1600-1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).

  • Teng, Emma Jinhua, Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writings and Pictures, 1683-1895 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

  • Tsai, Shih-Shan Henry, Maritime Taiwan Historical Encounters with the East and the West (Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, 2014).


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of Contract teaching (including taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Exchange students having questions regarding registration, may contact the Humanities International Office.