Linking and crossing: Establishment, operation and transformation of the Women's Studies Society, National Taiwan University
Herng-Dar Bih (Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University), Wen-Lung Hung (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University), and Chih-Hsiuan Chen (Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University)
The Women’s Studies Society (WSS) of National Taiwan University was the first feminist student club in a university in Taiwan, and it played an important and enlightening role in shaping the female/gender consciousness on campus at Taiwan’s foremost university. This study mainly interviewed 16 active members, and further collected the official publications and media news to analyze the developmental process of the Women’s Studies Society from a feminist perspective. Although the WSS was aware of “gender as an oppressive category,” the starting point of the WSS at its founding in 1988 stood at the intersection of gender and class. However, after the failure of the strike movement, the WSS decided to return to the campus out of concern for the personal issues of college female students, including personal safety, bodily autonomy, dormitory, and romantic or parental relationships. After gender issues became mainstream in the 1990s and women activists moved on to more advanced issues, the WSS renewed a position that focused on academic exchange. From the historical perspective of social movement development in Taiwan, the emergence of the WSS not only confronted the patriarchal structures embedded on the campus, but also brought in a vision of campus democracy from a gender perspective, along with the process of dialogue among dissident student societies. From the perspective of the gender movement, the WSS not only guided the promotion of many gender issues to present, but also cultivated new blood for the next generation of the future women’s movement.
women’s studies society, feminism, women’s movement, student movement, gender consciousness