Cultural and Intellectual History
This group meets to discuss issues related
to intellectual history and the history of mentalities from various
periods through the use of various methodologies.
This group examines the history of law as it
relates to family, society, state and culture.
Custom, Religion and Daily Life
This group examines the historical development
of customs and religion as they relate to everyday life. It is particuarly
open to research that employs contemporary fieldwork as a tool for
understanding the past.
History of Health and Healing
This group focuses on the history of medecine
and healing together with more general conceptions of health, sickness
and the body. In addition to regularly held lectures, the group
has organized a number of larger symposiums. It also compiles relevant
bibliographies and collections of primary research materials for
specialists in medical history.
Taiwan and Southeast Asian Archaeology
Topics discussed by this group include: the
spatial and temporal frameworks for prehistoric cultures in Taiwan
and surrounding areas in Southeast Asia, reconstruction of daily
life through archaeological remains, uses of oral history for understanding
archaeology, and the preservation of cultural heritage.
"World history"¨ is in essence
comparative history. In the Chinese-speaking world the emphasis
of comparative history is inevitable comparison between Chinese
history and the histories of other cultures. We hope in this group
to focus not so much on what other cultures have that China and/or
Taiwan does not (frequently the focus of comparative history in
the past), but to turn instead to themes or problems common to different
cultures, and to develop fresh methodologies for approaching the
analysis of these themes.
Images and Artifacts
This groups focuses on the history of objects
and images and the role of objects and images in history. In addition
to regular lectures on art and material culture, the group has also
organized projects to collect and edit materials in the Institute¡¦s
collection, including the Institute¡¦s holdings of Han documents
on wooden and bamboo slips, rubbings of Han steles and rubbings
of Buddhist steles from a wide range of periods. Different subgroups
meet regularly to discuss these materials.
This group was formed to promote the study of
ancient history by proposing new areas for research, encouraging
the efforts of young scholars and engaging in comparative research.
The Institute owns over three hundred thousand
documents from the archives of the Grand Secretariat of the Ch'ing
government. These documents, including edicts, memorials, inter-ministry
memorandums, legal case files, household registers and many other
types of documents from both the Ming and the Ch'ing administrations
are valuable for the study of the political, social, economic, military
and legal aspects of late imperial China.
The cataloging and editing of these documents
began in 1930 soon after they were acquired by the Institute. Work
on the documents has continued steadily to the present day as the
documents have gradually been edited and published in a series consisting
of 370 volumes. Current work involves preservation of the original
documents, digitalization and management of a database accessible
over the internet.
Geographical Information Systems
Since its appearance
in the 1970s, geographical information systems have been used by
the applied sciences, the government, and industrial and commercial
sectors for the investigation and anaylsis of national land resources,
survey and management of land registration, and locational anaylsis
for industrial and commercial purposes. More recently, the value
of GIS has been recognized by scholars in the humanities and social
The GIS lab at the Institute is equipped
with basic software like ARCVIEW, WINGIS, and hardware. The lab
focuses on two types of projects. The first is the making of digitized
maps of different scales based on map sheets, satellite images and
field surveys. The second function is the integration of digitized
maps with other technologies for research in the humanities and
Oracle Bone Laboratory
collection of oracle bones contains the oracle bones excavated from
the Shang capital at An-yang. Most of the finds from the first nine
excavations at this site have been published, but much work remains
to be done to reconstruct fragments and analyze their contents.
Members of this group are also digitalizing photographs of the oracle
bones and rubbings of their inscriptions, all of which will be linked
by a searchable database.
This group has three
basic objectives: 1. To establish and maintain a database for primary
and secondary materials related to the study of bronze inscriptions;
2. To promote the use of bronze inscriptions in the study of ancient
Chinese history and culture; and 3. To encourage exchange between
specialists in bronze inscriptions at the Institute with scholars
of other institions in other parts of the world.
Archaeology and Specimens Laboratory
The archaeology lab
provides equipment (x-ray diffractometer, various types of microscopes
etc.) for analysis of artifacts. The lab conducts various types
of analysis including substance and texture analysis, use and wear
analysis, and site soil analysis. Such tests provide important information
for determining the context in which various objects were manufactured
The specimens lab is also a zooarchaeology
lab. Zooarchaeology specifies and analyzes animal remains for clues
to the environment in which animals lived as well as their interaction
with humans. The lab is equipped with microscopic instruments, a
system of micrograph analysis and a collection for the specifying
of animal species.
This lab contains
a collection of four hundred skulls from human sacrifices buried
in sacrificial pits near the large tombs of the Shang capital excavated
in 1935 by members of the Institute. These skulls are an important
source for understanding the physical characteristics of ancient
Chinese people and are also an important comparative reference for
studying the spread of the Mongoloid type in East Asia during the
Li Chi was the first to point out the ¡§racial¡¨
complexity of these skulls. Subsequently, Yang Hsi-mei further suggested
five different ¡§racial types¡¨ among the skulls, including
North Asian Mongoloid, Austronesian and Caucasian, but this theory
has been contested ever since. The lab hopes to shed new light on
the problem and is engaged in a joint project with Japanese scholars
to study the spread of the Mongoloid type in East Asia.