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2016 Research Highlights of the Humanities Research Center, NCCU
2015 Research and Development Annual Report, NCCU

Research Projects and Achievements

The Humanities Research Center (HRC) in 2016 was also authorized by the K-12 Education Administration, Ministry of Education to execute one research plan. The principal investigator is Whei-Ming Chou, the title of plan is “Searching for Coordinates in History”. As of December 2016, the HRC have already held 25 workshops in 21 senior high schools in Taiwan. These workshops covered issues such as Images and History, Taiwanese History and how to use historical documents to design exam questions, with both theoretical and practical aspects being under consideration. , It is worth mentioning that on August 23rd and September 21st, the HRC held two workshops introducing how to apply archives in teaching history in collaboration with National Archives Administration of National Development Council. In addition, the HRC plan to establish a database called “Searching for Coordinates in History by Keywords” with lots of keywords (entries) for improving historical teaching and learning in senior high schools. In this database, there will be four fields covering the history of Taiwan, the history of China, the history of East Asia, and world history. The HRC believes that this database will not only be an excellent self-learning tool for senior high students, but also a treasury for history teachers when designing and preparing courses, and eventually a communication platform for them to reach consensus and eventually create a win-win situation.

Besides, in order to stimulate historical research and publish historical documents, the HRC negotiated with the Academia Historica and was therefore authorized to republish an important collection of historical documents, “Chiang Kai-shek’s Chronological Event Transcripts”. Along with the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China’s victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 2015, the HRC decided to firstly focus on Chiang’s records written in 1937-1945, i.e., the wartime periods. These documents had been carefully re-edited, punctuated, and proofread by editors, and were also reviewed and approved by Taiwan’s distinguished historians in the field of modern history of China. With great effort, the Center eventually published a new book series in 13 volumes in July 2016. In this series, the HRC used the original book title, “Mr. Chiang Kai-shek in 19XX”, and organized these volumes in chronological order. To our surprise, some Chiang’s undisclosed transcripts covering periods from July to December of 1937 and the whole year of 1939 were found during the editing process. These precious historical documents were not included in the previous edition published by the Academia Historica. In other words, they were all revealed to the public and published for the first time. The HRC hopes that this new series could help the public access historical documents easier and understand more about the history of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and would give fresh impetus to NCCU for further research on the history of the Republic of China.

Academic Journals and Publications 

1. In 2016, the HRC published 14 scholarly monographs for “NCCU Humanities Series,” in which the research results of “The Formation of Modern China” Plan were also included, and the whole series of Mr. Chiang Kai-shek in 1937-1945 in 13 volumes. Along with the 79th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (also known as the July 7th Incident), on July 7th the HRC held a book launch party named “Mr. Chiang Kai-shek in the War of Resistance against Japan” for this Mr. Chiang Kai-shek in 1937-1945 series. With the publication of this series, NCCU has demonstrated its vital role in the study of the history of the Republic of China, and the public could thus understand more about the history of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In order to interact with readers directly, the HRC held a symposium called “Mainstream, Tributary, and Subterranean Stream in History” in the 2017 Taipei International Book Exhibition. On that occasion, the HRC introduced its latest publication The History and Histories of Diplomacy of Modern China to the audience as well. The HRC hopes that this symposium would be a platform for exchange of thoughts and comments between readers and it, promoting the diversities of historical understanding as well. 

2. In 2016, the HRC continued to digitize archives of the Republican period. Results are as follows: 28,761 paperback books published before 1949, 533 records focusing on the Imperial Japanese army in China, 1,000 documents of Chiang Kai-shek’s chronological event transcripts of 1937 and 1939. These are all precious research resources for the study of the history of the Republic of China.

Important Academic Activities

1. Holding Workshops on Key Years in History

In order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China’s victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War, since October 2015, the HRC has held a series of workshops to rethink and reappraise some key years or turning points in the history of modern China from various dimensions, such as politics, military, culture or society. On March 16th 2016, the HRC held the third workshop on “Moving the Collection of the National Beiping Palace Museum Southward during the 1930s-40s.” This workshop examined, from the cultural aspect, how this tough and high-risk task could be carried out successfully during wartime. In fact, the success of this task was also symbolizing China’s victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War on the spiritual and cultural levels. In the fourth workshop held on September 7th, Dr. Sing-yung Wu, known for his “Gold Trilogy”: Archives of Gold, Secret Files on Gold, and Memories of Gold, gave a lecture to reveal the hidden truth and secrets about the action of transporting gold to Taiwan in 1949. Through these workshops, the HRC hope that participants could have more understanding and knowledge of these ups and downs in the history of the Republic of China.

2. Holding the “International Conference on Strategizing the Rise of China”

On May 6th and 7th 2016, the HRC, the Center for China Studies, College of Law, and the Institute of International Relations of NCCU jointly held the “International Conference on Strategizing the Rise of China: Development, Dynamics and Driving Forces.” This interdisciplinary conference presented recent research results of the “Cross-Strait Relations and China Studies— Formation of Modern China and Regional Security Studies Plan,” which is subordinate to NCCU’s “Aim for the Top University Plan” and has been executed by the above four institutions in the past five years. Quite a few important domestic and foreign scholars in different specialties, such as history, sociology, jurisprudence, or area studies came together and explored the core issue: China’s existence as a “subject” and an “object.” There was some lively discussion among participants in this two-day conference. The HRC look forwards to further discussion or even collaboration in the near future. Dr. Whei-Ming Chou, the director of the HRC, said that NCCU, as a top and leading university in the fields of humanities and social sciences in Taiwan, should promote more interdisciplinary research and enrich academic achievements, stimulating therefore more diverse viewpoints. 

3. Presenting Latest Research Results of the “Formation of Modern China” Plan

From October 17th to 22nd 2016, the HRC and other nine affiliated research groups jointly held a big event, “Forming China: Final Presentation on the Formation of Modern China Plan,” to present latest research results. The subheading of this final presentation: “Ongoing Roads for Modern China— Defining Self, Toward Modernity, and Expecting the Future” was named by Academician Cho-yun Hsu, who is also the principal investigator of this plan and a University Professor at NCCU. The success of this interdisciplinary plan, which is unusual in the field of humanities, must be attributed to each research group’s effort and their collaboration. In fact, at the beginning, there was an adjustment period for all members. However, challenges were eventually overcome and turned into advantages for this interdisciplinary plan. The HRC are convinced that this plan with its fruitful experiences had set a paradigm that may encourage more scholars to try interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration.

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