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History Department

Publish:2013-08-14 14:37:56

The history of the History Department, Peking University, traces back to 1899, when the Section of History was set up in the Imperial Capital University. Over the 109 years of historical upheavals, the Department has upheld democracy and science as the basic values, based on which has developed an academic tradition of rigorous pursuit of truth.

In 1903 two programs were initiated, Chinese history and history of foreign countries. Among the earliest faculty were prestigious scholars of the late Qing Dynasty and Japanese historians. With the downfall of Qing Dynasty and founding of the Republic of China, the Imperial Capital University was renamed National University of Peking in 1912 and the History Department entered a new era. The expanded curriculum included two groups, Chinese history plus the history of the Far Eastern countries and regions, and the history of the West. A new generation of scholars, represented by Chen Fuchen, joined the faculty and their teaching materials became the first history textbooks in modern China.

As one fruit of the May 4th Movement, the history section developed into the History Department, with Kang Baozhong serving as the first chair and succeeded by Zhu Xizhu the year next. Worth special mentioning is Li Dazhao, one of the first Marxists in China and a historian as well. He became a faculty member in 1920 and served as such until his murder by a warlord in 1927. The faculty of these years also boasts such luminaries as Ma Heng, Ma Xvlun, Chen Hengseng, Fu Sinian, and Gu Jigang.

The graduate program in history started in 1922, the year when the Section of Classical Studies was established under the university research institute, consisting of two programs: archaeology and Ming & Qing Dynasty archive studies and a journal Guoxue Jikan (Sinology Quarterly). The section was expanded in 1932 into the graduate school, with the Section of Classical Studies reshaped and divided into the Section of Chinese Language & Literature and that of Chinese History, each entitled to enroll graduate students. Further changes were to take place in June, 1934, when the graduate school split into three institutes, that of arts, science and law respectively.

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