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Brief History

Brief History

In 1928, Professor Tsai Yuan-pei, a major exponent of ethnology in China who later became President of Academia Sinica, established the Ethnology Section in the Institute of Social Sciences. In 1934, the Ethnology Section was transferred to the Institute of History and Philology. In 1955, after Academia Sinica relocated to Taiwan, a preparatory office was established to conduct ethnographic research on the Han Chinese and the nearly 200,000 indigenous Austronesian people in Taiwan. This preparatory office ultimately led to the establishment of the Institute of Ethnology in 1965, with Professor Ling Shun-sheng as its first director. Since its establishment, the Institute of Ethnology has identified the following research areas as its key missions: the cultural history of the Chinese people, cultures and societies of Taiwanese indigenous people, folk culture and society of Taiwan’s Han Chinese, and the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Currently, the Institute is considered Taiwan’s leading anthropological research institution by both domestic and international scholars. For domestic anthropologists, the Institute plays the guiding role in identifying new research topics and directions, promoting popular anthropological education, and establishing new academic facilities. For international anthropologists, the Institute is the nexus for longitudinal research on Austronesian and Han Chinese in Taiwan. Owing to its professional expertise and scholarly reputation, as well as its superb research facility, the Institute has long played the key role in hosting visiting scholars, coordinating collaborative research projects, organizing international conferences, and fostering the exchange of knowledge.

Research Fellows and Research Groups

There are currently 28 full-time research fellows at the Institute, including 10 research fellows, 11 associate research fellows, 6 assistant research fellows and one research assistant. Aside from individual research projects, the Institute also develops integrated team projects in cooperation with other institutes at Academia Sinica as well as various colleges and universities. We hope to use teamwork to explore forward-looking research topics and conduct in-depth research. Cooperative research projects currently underway include:
1. Comparative Austronesian Studies Research Group
2. Shamans and Ritual Performances in Contemporary Contexts Research Group
3. Action Anthropology Research Group
4. Body Experience Research Group
5. Indigenous Psychology and Cultural Healing Research Group
6. Medical Anthropology Research Group
7. Starting from Voice Research Group
8. Regional Research and Regional Governance Research Group
9. Family, Generation and Life Course Research Group
10. Religion and Practice of Everyday Life Research Group