/26 April 2023, 18–20:00 c.t., IG 1.314/
WHAT IS LEGITIMATE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE? OBSERVATIONS ON THE CANONIZATION OF MODERN CHINESE ARCHAEOLOGY
Amidst the major transition in views of historical evidence in the 1920s, a new model of archaeological research emerged along with the founding of Division of Archaeology at the Institute of History and Philology. Advocates of this new archaeology, represented by Li Chi and Fu Ssu-nien, contended that a modern and scientific approach to research should be centred upon excavation as a process of comprehensive knowledge, rather than mere collection of ancient texts and artefacts. The new archaeologists were deeply discontent with traditional practices of palaeography and epigraphy, which, according to them, narrowly focused on texts connected to the Confucian classics, paid little attention to material condition of artefacts, and thus failed to achieve a holistic understanding of the past. They also distinguished their project from earlier attempts to reform research on ancient China with Western knowledge, such as Luo Zhenyu and Wang Guowei who employed a method of “twofold evidence" by comparing inscriptions on oracle bones and bronze artefacts with traditional written texts. The new vision of archaeological research was put into practice in the subsequent years after 1928, when the Institute of History and Philology launched the project to excavate the ancient Shang Dynasty capital (Yin Xu) in Anyang, Henan. For modern Chinese researchers, the Yin Xu excavation project defined what could be considered legitimate archaeological evidence, and therefore constituted the canon of modern Chinese archaeology.
About the Speaker
/PROF. WANG FAN-SEN/ is a historian specializing in the cultural-intellectual history of early modern and modern China (circa 1500 to 1930). He has written broadly on Chinese intellectual history in the last few centuries. His most important works include /Chang T'ai-yen and His World/ (1985), /Fu Ssu-nien: A Life in Chinese History and Politics/ (2000), /The Genealogy of Modern Chinese Thought/ (2003), and /The Historian and the Historiography in Modern China/ (2008), among others. He received his PhD from Princeton University in 1992. He has taught at universities throughout Taiwan, including National Taiwan University and National Tsing Hua University. Prof. Wang has been Academician of Academia Sinica since 2004 and served as its Vice President and Acting President. He is currently serving as the Chancellor of Taiwan Comprehensive University System. Prof. Wang Fan-sen has been the recipient of many distinguished domestic and international awards. In 2005, he was elected as Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of the United Kingdom.