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* History Department

Chairperson: Ping-yi Chu

Eight sections were created at the time of the institute’s founding in 1928.  Later, these were consolidated into three, the first of which was the History Department.  At the time, the History Department comprised three sub-sections: historical documents, textual studies, and Dunhuang materials.  The Department’s purview subsequently expanded.

The History Department, as it is now known, conducts work on the traditional areas of Chinese history research and also carries out textual research and the organization of primary source materials.  The Department approaches research from two directions: traditionally independent research pursued by individual research fellows in accordance with their specializations and individual interests, and collaborative research projects.  The Department boasts a long history of outstanding achievements by individual fellows that is recognized throughout the international academic community.  Particularly noteworthy are Fu Ssu-nien and Hsu Chung-shu in the field of ancient history, Chen Yin-k’o and Chen Chung-mien in medieval history, Lao Kan in Han history, Yen Keng-wang in the history of the period from the Han to the Tang, Chen Pan in apocryphal classics, Chuan Han-sheng in economic history, Wang Shu-min in textual research, and Huang Chang-chien in Ming and Qing history.  There are too many other fields in which the Department has made extraordinary contributions to list exhaustively, but they include general history, history of religion, socio-economic history, ancient ethnicity and geography, calendrical systems, literary history, paleography, and historical semantics.  The current generation of researchers is a wellspring of talent whose areas of focuses include political-military affairs and systems, the transformation of modern society, cultural and intellectual history, the history of scholarship and historiography, the history of everyday life and social history, legal history, economic history, and art history.  The scope of research fields is also being expanded to include areas previously absent—maritime history, world history, and the history of Sino-Western relations to name a few.

The collective efforts to process artifacts, documents, and other historical source materials represent another area in which the IHP has made considerable achievements.  Take for instance, the Ming Shi Lu (明實錄, Ming veritable records) a set of 3,045 juan 卷, with an addendum of collation (校勘記) in 29 volumes.  The extant documents of the Ming and Qing Archives of the Grand Secretariat have successively been published as Ming Qing Shiliao (明清史料) (100 volumes), Ming Qing Dang’an Chunzhen Xuanji (明清檔案存真選輯) (3 volumes), and Ming Qing Dang’an (明清檔案) (370 volumes).  An 18-volume compendium of Tang Dynasty tomb inscriptions, the Tang Dai Muzhi Ming Huibian Fukao (唐代墓誌彙編附考) was also completed.  Building on Lao Kan’s initial efforts organizing, studying, and publishing work about the wooden slips from Edsen-gol, a team of researchers more recently used newer technologies, including scanning and infrared photography, to reprocess these materials, and publish Supplements to the Documents of the Han Dynasty on Wooden Slips from Edsen-Gol (居延漢簡補編).  In recent years, projects related to the compilation and annotation of historical source materials have focused on Song dynasty tombstone inscriptions, rubbings of stelai from the Liao, Jin, and Yuan dynasties, the revision of Yuan Dian Zhang (元典章), the editing and organizing of Ting Wen-chiang’s papers, and the organizing of Fu Ssu-nien’s correspondence.  Collaborative research at the institute takes place at Research Centers such as the Legal History, Cultural and Intellectual History, World History, and Images and Artifacts Centers.

Through both focused research and international exchange, working alone and together, the historians of this institute engage with recent trends in international scholarship, and continue to have a significant impact on domestic historical research.  In particular, the IHP has become an important center for research of the cultural and social history of the Ming and Qing dynasties as well as legal history.  In the future, IHP historians will continue to uphold the Department’s tradition of scholarly rigor, endeavoring to uncover and utilize sources, staying in step with contemporary trends, and further developing each area of historical research.

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