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The Institute of History and Philology was established in 1928.  Early that year, Fu Ssu-nien, a member of the Academia Sinica preparatory committee of the Daxue Yuan (i.e. Ministry of Education) recommended that the body’s director Tsai Yuan-pei establish the IHP.  In March, Academia Sinica undertook more concerted preparations for the institute at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, with Fu Ssu-nien, Ku Chieh-kang, and Yang Chen-sheng in charge.  The IHP was officially established in July, and Fu was placed in charge of everyday operations.  On October 22, the IHP relocated to Boyuan, Guangzhou, and for the first time had its own independent premises.  It was later agreed that this date would serve as the institute’s anniversary.

The IHP was initially divided into eight sections in Guangzhou: historical documents, the Mandarin Chinese language, textual studies, folk arts, Chinese characters, archaeology, anthropology and ethnographic materials, and Dunhuang materials.  In 1929, the institute moved to Beijing, and reorganized the eight original sections into three: History, which carried out historical research and edited of historical texts; Linguistics, which focused on linguistic research and folk arts; and Archaeology, which engaged in archaeological, anthropological, and ethnographic research.  The chairpersons of these sections were Chen Yin-k’o, Chao Yuen-ren, and Li Chi respectively.  The IHP was relocated to Shanghai after the Mukden Incident (1931), and then again in 1934 to Nanjing after the construction of its new premises in that city was complete.  A fourth section was added for Anthropology in May of that year.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the IHP relocated first to Changsha, Hunan, then to Kunming, Yunnan, and finally to Li Zhuang Banli’ao in Nanxi County, Sichuan.  In 1946, the IHP returned to Nanjing, and continued its work.  It also acquired the holdings of the Beiping Oriental Research Institute and Modern Science Library, and established the Beiping Books and Historical Materials Processing Office.  Amidst social and political tumult in the winter of 1948, the IHP abruptly evacuated its scholars and staff, books, and artifacts to Taiwan under the leadership of Fu Ssu-nien.  The IHP temporarily settled in Yangmei, Taoyuan County before relocating to Academia Sinica’s permanent premises in Nangang in the spring of 1954.  With more stable political conditions and economic development, the IHP was able to grow and expand continuously. 

In 1954, the IHP’s physical premises consisted of a research building and storage building.  In 1957, an archaeology building was constructed.  Another building was added behind it in 1968.  The Fu Ssu-nien Library was built in 1960.  Two expansions of the library were added in 1978 and 1989 respectively.  In 1986, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology was completed and opened.  In 1994 the new Research Building was completed, bringing the IHP’s facilities to their current scale.  The rear section of the Taiwan Archaeological Studies Building was tore down and rebuilt.  It was completed in July 2012.

The institutional structure of the IHP also underwent numerous changes after Academia Sinica settled in Nangang.  In 1958, the Oracle Bones Research Center was established.  It was renamed the Philology Section in 1990.  There are three separate buildings which house the IHP’s important books and artifacts: the Fu Ssu-nien Library, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology, and the Taiwan Archaeological Studies Building. Starting in 1995, research centers were established to bring together resources and facilitate collaboration between the IHP and outside researchers.  At present there are nine research centers: Cultural and Intellectual History, Legal History, Archaeology of Taiwan and Southeast Asia, Images and Artifacts, Custom, Religion and Daily Life, History of Health and Healing, World History, Ancient Civilizations, and Digital Humainities. This is in addition to five other groups, the Grand Secretariat Archives Project, and group for Scripta Sinica, GIS, Bronze Inscriptions, and Anyang.  Finally, there are three laboratories, one for Bones and Physical Anthropology laboratory, one for Cultural Relic Preservation, and the Archaeometry Laboratory.  In 1997, the Linguistics Section established the planning office for the Institute of Linguistics.  Even so, the IHP retained its original name, and was divided into the four sections of History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Philology.  In 2003, in accordance with an Academia Sinica policy, sections were redesignated “departments.”  Each department has a chairperson responsible for directing its personnel, administrative and scholarly matters.  Furthermore, in order to systematically manage all the documentations collected throughout the years, utilize digital resources and enhance inter-library cooperation, the IHP Archives was ordered to be established in 2014.  (See the organizational structure chart.)

Humanities research must place equal weight on scholarly collaboration and the of efforts individuals working independently, that is, at the same time respect the individual’s specialization, and encourage collaborative research when opportune.  The IHP continues to uphold this principle, valuing individual research and encouraging fellows to become leaders in their individual fields, while at the same time using research programs to indentify and support several areas of particular focus for interdisciplinary or institute-wide research.  It is hoped that research fellows will expand their scholarly purviews and perspectives and think of the many types of research we engage in from an Asian, and indeed, a global perspective, striving to work with an eye to comparison across time and space.  At the same time, we are working to organize and publish the scholarly data and materials housed at the IHP and expand our digital presence in order to establish an even more comprehensive and accessible forum for Sinological research and exchange of a global caliber.

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