• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, Asian Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, Asia-Pacific Studies, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Benjamin Penny
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Summer Session 2020
    See Future Offerings

For Australians, Taiwan typically figures only as an issue in the geo-politics of the East Asian region, as one half of “Cross-Strait Relations”. Yet, it is a fully functioning democracy and an independent state in all but name that can be studied in its own right. Taiwan has almost the same population as Australia but is about half the size of Tasmania. Like Australia, its indigenous population plays a significant part in politics and society, and Taiwan is also moving towards legalising same-sex marriage. This course provides an overview of contemporary Taiwan’s society and politics while also paying attention to the historical events that formed its present shape and which remain live issues today. It will analyse Taiwan’s political system and its established and new parties; its ethnic, linguistic and cultural mix; its economics and class relations; indigenous politics; questions of gender and sexuality; environmental activism; and the growing sense of what it means to be “Taiwanese”. The course will use Taiwanese films to supplement the lectures and seminars.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Analyse the pre-1949 history of Taiwan, and trace its later developments in the political and economic contexts of first the martial law period and then the democratic period.
  2. Describe and explain the history of and relations between different groups of Han Chinese on Taiwan.
  3. Evaluate current social tensions and developments, including the rise of grass-roots political and social movements.
  4. Analyse the crucial importance of debates over Taiwanese identity, with particular reference to gender relations, indigenous peoples, and environmental politics.
  5. Demonstrate skills of communication, both through oral discussion and written exposition.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Active class participation: 10% (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Two short essays of 500 words: 20% (20) [LO 1,2,5]
  3. One essay of 2,000-2,500 words: 40% (40) [LO 3,4,5]
  4. One final exam: 30% (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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This is an intensive course running in Summer session on ANU campus.

The total workload for the course is 130 hours including in-class time and independent study. 

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Course materials will be provided on Wattle.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1593 10 Feb 2020 21 Feb 2020 21 Feb 2020 13 Mar 2020 In Person N/A

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