A few people have asked me about what I am studying in my Master's in Taiwan Studies at NCCU (國立政治大學). In the first semester I have taken the three compulsory subjects: Taiwanese History, Spatial Development of Taiwan and Culture and Ethnic Structure of Taiwan. Within the courses there is a fair degree of free choice in choosing topics to research. Assessment is based on writing papers and giving presentations in class. Below is a brief summary of some of the topics I am studying.
Taiwanese History 台灣史
In Taiwanese History I am writing a paper on "Railways and Economic Development in the Japanese Era". There is only one paper required for this course so I can cover this topic in quite a lot of depth.
Spatial Development of Taiwan 台灣的空間發展
My first paper is on the future of the Taipei Songshan Airport. The DPP and KMT have opposing visions about this. The DPP wants to close down the airport, while the KMT wants to make it an international airport with direct flights to China. My personal opinion is that the airport should be closed, but the key thing to investigate is whether the HSR and MRT Airport link will have sufficient capacity to meet demand and also how domestic flights can be managed at the Taoyuan Airport.
While I haven't decided on the topics for the other papers yet they will be related to transport issues. One idea I have is to look at the impact of the North Link railway line on Hualian. This is the line connecting Su'ao and Hualian that opened in 1980. It is useful to study this to help understand the possible impacts of the Su-Hua Freeway.
Culture and Ethnic Structure of Taiwan 台灣的文化與族群結構
For the group project we will look at the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law (原住民族基本法). We want to study how the rights of indigenous people to hunt, gather and utilise resources on their lands are affected by the law and how the laws have developed in recent history. My main motivation for studying this topic is as a result of the Smangus case which will be the case study for the project.