An International Symposium, Taipei, 2017

Teaching about Taiwan in Museums—A Case Study of NTU’s “Taiwan through the Lens of Its Museums” Course

Chun-Yi Tsai (Ph.D.)
National Taiwan University

Taught in English, “Taiwan through the Lens of Its Museums” is a course offered to a lively mix of local and international students at NTU. At once a Taiwan studies and a museum studies course, this course introduces local and international students to aspects of Taiwan’s social, cultural, and political histories through a variety of national museums whose subjects range from archaeology, natural history, literature, contemporary art, to digitized materials. By analyzing how the featured institutions’ histories, location and architecture, as well as the compositions and presentations of their collections evolved over time, the course also aims to uncover the theories and practices of collecting, display, and interpretation at work behind the scenes, presenting museums as institutions which construct, legitimize, and maintain “cultural realities.”
           Museums are an integral part of the course because they are not just the subject of lectures, the destination for class trips, the workplace of many of the course’s guest lecturers, but also intimately tied to the students’ assignments. For their final projects, for instance, students can design a new museum to be established in Taiwan and are encouraged to use one of NTU’s many campus museums as their case studies. Students could also earn extra course credits as student docents for partner museums.
           In this talk, the instructor of the course will talk about the unique opportunities and challenges of teaching about Taiwan through its museums to a culturally diverse group of college students whose first language is not English. 

Keywords: museum studies, Taiwan studies, university museums, general education, English language content-based courses, international students





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