Halfway through the 1990s, the surging interest in research on Taiwanese subjectivity following the lifting of martial law gave rise to the desire among faculties and students in National Taiwan University (NTU) of bringing together disciplines that focus on Taiwan’s literary, cultural and social phenomena and turning them into a specialized institution. With the initiative of Professor Heng Chang (張亨)and the support of Professor Ching-ming  Ko(柯慶明), this became a reality. In the August of 2004, the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature (GITL) was officially established and started recruiting Master’s degree students.

Historically rooted in the Faculty of Literature and Politics of Taihoku Imperial University which was founded in 1928, the in—an independent research institute belonging to the College of Liberal Arts—advances the writing of literary histories, promotes an academic outlook informed by a multi-ethnic cultural landscape and commits itself to the collection of cultural resources. The GITL also oversees the Taiwan Studies Program which is open to all students from NTU and started its own PhD program in 2010, making it the only academic institution in NTU that considers Taiwan to be its focal point.

The GITL integrates resources from various disciplines such as foreign languages and literatures, Chinese literature, history, sociology, and anthropology. Building upon the vast array of documental, material and digital archives of the NTU museums, the institute understand the Taiwanese humanities to be profoundly shaped by its past administrations and emerged as a study field with a distinct global vision. With transformations both in the intellectual frameworks of the humanities and the realities of the Taiwanese society, we further broadened our scope to include shifting paradigms of literary histories as well as phenomena of cultural negotiations in present East Asia.

From Chinese philology and phonology through comparative literature, region-specific cultural studies, sociolinguistics, and literary sociology to literary theory and cultural criticism regarding the whole spectrum of literature studies—our academic undertakings are characterized by a constant attentiveness to language and symbolic systems. This enables us to analyze how cross-sea settlers and travelers historically constructed cultural imageries of the archipelago Taiwan, senses of survival and contents of life. Through emerging trends within the discipline of Taiwanese humanities and cooperation with national and international academic communities, we are devoted to creating Taiwanese perspectives and approaches with global purview. Aiming to deepen literary and historical knowledge, to translate academic resources and to build a theoretical stratum that incorporates a Taiwanese consciousness based on local experiences, the institute insists in teaching Taiwan Literature worthy of the name.