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Academic Missions & Research Facilities

Academic Mission

Based on current research interests and team formations, we can identify the following four major research themes:

  • Cultural History & Ethnicity: It includes two research orientations. The first one is to construct or reconstruct the historical and developmental process of a group in order to understand its cultural components and meanings. The opposite direction is to compare and categorize cultural phenomena in order to construct or reconstruct people’s movements and cultural dispersion.
  • The Interface between Culture & Psychology: The development of cultural psychology, under the rubric of Chinese Indigenous Psychology, has achieved major theoretical breakthroughs and has received international recognition lately. This approach starts from the unconscious levels of cultural phenomena, such as bodily senses and emotion, and moves towards social cognition and consciously constructed behavior patterns such as filial piety, conjugal relations, and the family.
  • Contemporary Context of Socio-cultural Development: Under the impacts of globalization and modern nation-state formation, how societies (including both the Han Chinese and the indigenous peoples) have experienced new and controversial social issues, such as meanings of ethnicity, mental illness, culture revivalism and so on.
  • Cultural Performance & Narration: Expressive cultural performances include popular rituals (such as seasonal festivals, religious ceremonies, rites of passages, and so on) and performing arts (such as story-telling, theatrical performance, group games, and so on). Researchers can take the texts in performing art as the vintage point to understand the culture, or conversely, to look at the performers as the cultural transmitters in such performances.

Research Facilities

The Institute’s library holds comprehensive collections on subjects such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, religious studies, Taiwanese indigenous peoples&cultures, and peoples&cultures of Southeast Asia. The library’s holdings number over 160,000 volumes in Chinese, Korea, Japanese, and English, 24,000 volumes of bound periodicals, over 500 current periodicals, over 600 E-books/journals, and a considerable number of electronic databases resources subscriptions, microfiche and microfilm materials. The library catalogues all of the articles in major journals, bibliographies of postwar Chinese and Japanese works on Taiwan anthropology, and works on overseas Chinese. Other distinguished library collections include Human Relations Area Files, Survey Research Data on Religion, and archaic land-contract data. These and other data have been digitalized and transferred to hard-disk or CD-ROM, and are available to individuals with internet connection.

Since its establishment, the Institute has published more than ninety monographs. The Bulletin was renamed the Taiwan Journal of Anthropology(TJA ) in 2002. The journal’s bilingual (Chinese and English) editorial committee is composed of anthropologists from Academia Sinica and overseas scholars. The TJA is published twice yearly. The latest issue is Volume 12/Number 2.

The Institute’s Museum of Anthropology showcases major collection of materials related to the indigenous people of Taiwan, and includes over 3,200 artifacts from the island’s various indigenous groups, archaeological excavations, as well as folk and religious artifacts of the Han Chinese. The collection not only includes prehistoric and early specimens, but also modern artifacts that reflect changes in the various tribal groups. The Museum collection also has more than 2,000 artifacts from the minority peoples of mainland China, as well as nearly 2,000 artifacts from Southeast Asia, the Pacific, indigenous North America, and Africa. It archives audiovisual field recordings from researchers at the Institute, and the audiovisual room currently holds videotapes on folk religion and folk art. Most audiovisual data have been transferred to digital formats for long-term preservation.