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Introduction to the Institute of Sinophone Studies, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

In view of the advent of globalization and the rise of multiculturalism, the term “Chinese” or “Chinese-language” can no longer cover the linguistic, literary, and cultural phenomena of Han Chinese peoples in various regions in the 21st century. In response to the trends of global language studies, Chinese language studies have been elevated to the level of “Sinophone” (Sinitic language family) studies, with an emphasis on Chinese literature and international Sinology in various regions, while at the same time responding to the diversification of the geographical distribution of Sinitic language communities, focusing on and studying overseas Chinese language education in the hopes of forming a comparative literature within the same language family at the elevated research status of global circulation and dialogue.

The Institute of Sinophone Studies was established in August 2017 by the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of the former National Hsinchu University of Education after its merger with National Tsing Hua University, and has been integrated with related departments and specializations in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to deepen the study of global Sinophone literature, and becoming a major strategic center for promoting the study of Sinophone literature in Taiwan. The framework of “Sinophone Studies” proposed by the Institute is not based on Chinese literature as emphasized by the Department of Chinese or on Taiwan literature as emphasized by the Department of Taiwan Literature, but rather on the research of contemporary Sinophone literature in various regions, and on the cross-border interactions of East Asian Han literature and culture in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Additionally, the Institute of Sinophone Studies’ academic and pedagogical perspectives also include topics such as “Chinese language teaching,” “language education,” as well as language exposure and transitions in Sinitic societies. Indeed, the diversity and heterogeneity of the Chinese language not only corresponds to the geographical diversity of Sinitic language communities, but also manifests itself in the literary writing, cultural markers, and language education of Sinitic diaspora. In short, there are six major directions of development for this Institute:

  1. Sinophone Literature Studies
  2. Sinitic Language Studies
  3. East Asian Han Books and Evolution of Thought
  4. Sinitic Language Teaching and Sinitic Diaspora Language Education
  5. Sinitic Language Media and Communication Studies
  6. Sinitic Language Creative Writing, Cultural Creativity and Others

In addition, the Institute not only emphasizes the basic training of students in academic research, but also aspires to expand the participation of graduate students in regional culture, and to cultivate researchers and scholars with deep humanistic concern, embodying both a sense of local awareness as well as global perspective. Possible career paths include: (1) advanced postgraduate study and research domestically or abroad; (2) general public office positions; (3) language or history teaching positions in primary or secondary schools; (4) Chinese language teaching positions either domestically or abroad; (5) cultural administrative or cultural history positions in governmental cultural departments; (6) positions in publishing and editing, literary and artistic creation, advertising and copywriting, media, or cultural and creative industries; (7) work in areas of local cultural history, folk culture, or community development; (8) work as professionals specializing in literature or literary history in the information and digital industries. With rich cultural sophistication acquired from this institute, our graduates are expected to become exceptional scholars in related fields.