As a result of Taiwan's peculiar political situation, national identity has become a crucial and controversial issue in the history curriculum. This chapter analyzes the changing role of nationalism in the history curriculum from 1980 onwards, focusing on the ways in which politics has affected the history curriculum. In particular, it examines how, why and to what extent the focus of the curriculum has shifted from China to Taiwan. Relying on analysis of the content of official syllabuses and textbooks for elementary and junior high schools, it concludes that Chinese identity was emphasized before the 1990s, while Taiwanese identity has been given greater emphasis more recently. The emergence of the identity issue has been part cause, part consequence of the democratization process and the shift of political power away from the KMT old-guard and towards more 'nativist' Taiwanese elements.
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