Masters of Tang and Song China Studies Awarded Tang Prize in Sinology
2018.06.20
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Professor Stephen Owen (US) and Professor Yoshinobu Shiba (Japan) are awarded 2018 Tang Prize in Sinology. Professor Owen has been the single most important scholar of Chinese Classical poetry and a leading scholar on Tang poetry studies and translation. Professor Shiba has been the leading authority on Chinese social-economic history. Dr. David Wang, Academician of Academia Sinica, said “they have transcended disciplines, the time orders and the borders of the sinological studies.”

Dr. Chin Shing Huang, Selection Committee Chair and Vice President of Academia Sinica, said the committee recognize the scholarship and contributions of these two distinguished sinologists. Professor Owen was named the James Bryant Conant University Professor which was formerly held by John Rawls, a moral and political philosopher. Professor Shiba has been received by the Emperor of Japan many times. In 2017, Professor Shiba was awarded Order of Culture in Japan. They have dedicated their life, wisdom, and energy to the world’s awareness of the variety and vigor of Chinese studies.

Dr. David Wang, who had been a colleague of Professor Owen, praised Owen’s work meticulously studies the intricate relationship among Tang poetry, civilization, culture, literature, and art, unearthing facets that were not covered by previous studies of literary history. Owen blazes new paths, offering innovative perspectives, giving voice to the traditional and facilitating its dialogue with the modern.

Professor Shiba’s studies in the history of Song China, integration of regional history and economic history, urban history of China, and overseas Chinese offer new and cogent expositions based on a greater scope. Dr. Huang said Shiba’s scholarship innovatively synthesizes the strengths of the Japanese Sinological tradition with that of the Western social sciences, while skillfully making use of a variety of Chinese primary sources, adeptly merging the distinctive fortes of these three academic traditions. Dr. Huang also remarked on Professor Shiba being particularly generous to young scholars.

Dr. Huang said each of Professor Shiba’s monographs has taken years of research to complete. His research made use of a wide range of materials to uncover and reveal new insights—what those before him did not see. In 1968, Shiba’s publication of his Sōdai shōgyōshi kenkyū 宋代商業史研究 (Commerce and Society in Sung China) brought sweeping change across this field of research and set the standard to emulate. His contribution achieved through the unprecedented usage of primary sources, theoretical foundations, and his vision set the stage for his future research and set defining trademark characteristics.

Tomorrow (21st), laureate of 2018 Tang Prize in Rule of Law will be announced. The announcement will stream live on the Tang Prize website. Tang Prize Week takes place between September 19 and 27, including reception, award ceremony, banquet, and concert. Laureates also give talks in universities and attend forums during the Tang Prize Week. Glory of the Tang Prize: Laureate and Diploma Exhibition is held at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. More information please visit Tang Prize website.