Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee / Chattanooga

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Tug of War between Japanese School and Taiwanese Home: Han Taiwanese Girls’ Education during the Japanese Period, 1895-1945

My project examines the role of school and home in Han Taiwanese girls' education during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945). It seeks to understand how and why Japanese colonial authorities fastened on the schooling of children, and young girls in particular, as key to their colonial success. This project will also focus on how schoolgirls and their families responded to the new educational system, and how school experiences influenced students' life and career choices. It will explore the impact of a colonial gendered education of Han Taiwanese girls and women at home and in society by examining the following themes: citizenship and womanhood, regionalism and class, home and school instructions, and colonial nostalgia. This project examines official and school records, and people's experiences from published oral histories, (auto)biographies, and memoirs, and interviews that I have conducted in Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S. My dissertation argues that the gendered elementary education under Japanese colonial rule provided Taiwanese women with new opportunities, but continued to bind them to their feminine roles. More women worked outside the home and created new social networks on schools grounds and the workplace by the end of the colonial period. While the local popular conception of womanhood sought to keep educated women as purely wives and mothers inside the home, the new colonial conception of womanhood transformed Taiwanese women into imperial subjects fully mobilized by the war on the home front. Regional and class differences marked women's varying experiences. Upper-middle class women from older towns were more likely to be bound by the local conception of womanhood, while lower class women of newer towns were more likely to work outside the home and decide their own marriages. These women's educational experiences became the basis of their nostalgia for colonial rule, and of their critique of postwar politics and contemporary social problems.