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Departments

History

Chief Coordinator: Ping-yi Chu

Founded in 1928, the Institute of History and Philology (IHP) combined three departments. The first was the History Division, which focused primarily on the study of historical documents and collation of Dunhuang materials. In 2003, the division was reorganized as the History Department.

Using periodic history as framework, the History Department has been dedicated to the study of Chinese political history and collation of primary source materials. Under the leadership of founding Director Fu Ssu-nien, the Department has nurtured and is home to many heavy-weight historians, including Chen Yin-k’o, Lao Kan, Yen Keng-wang, Chuan Han-sheng, Chen Pan, Chen Chung-mien, Hsu Chung-shu, Wang Shu-min, and Huang Chang-chien. Upholding the principle of “moving heaven and earth and going on all fours for materials,” the Department’s purview comprises imperial courts to ordinary people, courtly etiquettes and imperial institutions, intellectual thinking and culture, as well as civilian lives. Extraordinary contributions include Hsing I-tien’s history of social life, wooden slips and images in Qin and Han Dynasties; Huang Kuan Chung's military history, local societies, and household history in Southern Song Dynasty; Huang Chin-shing's comparative historical studies of religious culture under Confucianism and religious worship system of Confucian temples; Wang Fansen's historical studies of Chinese intellectual thinking, academic research, and historiography from Ming and Qing Dynasties to the modern period; and Shih Shou-chien's studies of the exchanges between art history and visual culture in East Asia.

Stepping into the 21st century, the IHP has recruited faculty members specializing in world history. Regarding China as the node of global exchanges, the IHP is reexamining China’s roles and how it interacts with the world. It is our hope to establish partnerships with international counterparts from a broader perspective while also working together to explore the connection between the changes in Chinese and global history.

Currently, the areas of research at the IHP include the following. 1. The cultural history of knowledge: political ideologies and symbolic actions since the Song Dynasty; the formation and interaction of regional scholarly groups in the Yuan Dynasty, Scottish enlightenment, workers’ education in Britain, global history of higher education and philology, and the connection between knowledge, politics, and society in the late Edo period. 2. The flow and exchange between information and material: visual objects, navigation knowledge, trading in border regions, bureaucratic paperwork, and how local documents are circulated in different scenarios and its consequences. 3. Institutional and legal history: bamboo and wooden slips, administrative paperwork, and military defense of border fortresses. 4. Social history and religious lives: environmental changes, long-distance travels, worshiping ceremonies of imperial courts, and folk religions.

In addition to individual and collective research work, the History Department is also dedicated to optimizing the academic infrastructure such as sorting out existing historical documents, substantiating databases (e.g. Scripta Sinica and Geographical Information System), as well as the publication of Supplements to the Documents of the Han Dynasty on Wooden Slips from Edsen-Gol. We welcome and look forward to working together with scholars from around the world.

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