Kwang-chih Chang (15 April, 1931 – January 3, 2001), commonly known as K. C. Chang, was a Chinese / Taiwanese-American archaeologist and sinologist. He was the John E. Hudson Professor of archaeology at Harvard University, Vice-President of the Academia Sinica, and a curator at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He helped to bring modern, western methods of archaeology to the study of ancient Chinese history. He also introduced new discoveries in Chinese archaeology to western audiences by translating works from Chinese to English. He pioneered the study of Taiwanese archaeology, encouraged multi-disciplinal anthropological archaeological research, and urged archaeologists to conceive of East Asian prehistory (China, Korea, and Japan) as a pluralistic whole.
|Born||April 15, 1931|
|Died||January 3, 2001(aged 69–70)|
|Other names||K.C. Chang|
|Occupation||Archaeologist, sinologist, professor, translator|
|Known for||Pioneering Taiwanese archaeology, multi-disciplinary anthropological archaeology|
|Awards||AAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies (1996)|
|Education||National Taiwan University|
|Thesis||'Prehistoric Settlements in China: A Study in Archaeological Method and Theory' (1960)|
|Academic advisors||Li Ji (archeologist)|
|Discipline||Archaeology, anthropology, sinology, Asian studies|
|Sub-discipline||Prehistory of Taiwan, Chinese prehistory, East Asian prehistory, archaeological theory, settlement archaeology|
National Academy of Sciences
|Notable students||Robin D.S. Yates, Lothar von Falkenhausen, Wu Hung, Bruce Trigger, Richard J. Pearson, Choi Mong-lyong, Li Liu|
|Main interests||East Asia prehistory, multi-disciplinary archaeology, shamanism, archaeological theory, Bronze Age society|
Chang's paternal grandfather was a farmer in Taiwan. His father, Chang Wo-chün (張我軍), moved to Beijing in 1921 to pursue his education, where he met and married Chang's mother. His father later became a professor of Japanese literature and language at Peking University and also established some fame as a leading literary figure. Born in Beijing as the second son in a family of four children, he moved to Taiwan with his family in 1946; the family's eldest son remained in mainland China. Because of that association, the 17-year-old Chang spent a year in prison during Taiwan's White Terror period.
He enrolled in National Taiwan University in 1950, where he studied anthropology and archaeology. He chose archaeology because "it is fun". He graduated in 1954 and moved to the United States to pursue his graduate studies at Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D in 1960; his dissertation was entitled Prehistoric Settlements in China: A Study in Archaeological Method and Theory.
Chang began his teaching career in the Anthropology Department at Yale University and later became the chair of the department. In 1977, he returned to Harvard to chair its Department of Anthropology. He became a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1979 and the John E. Hudson Professor of Archaeology at Harvard in 1984. He was a Vice-President of Taiwan's Academia Sinica from 1994 to 1996. He trained many students over the years including distinguished archaeologists such as Bruce Trigger, Richard J. Pearson, and Choi Mong-lyong.
Chang's main research interests included Chinese prehistory, archaeological theory, settlement archaeology, shamanism, Bronze Age society, and the development of and interaction between regional archaeological cultures in China.
He died in 2001 from complications due to Parkinson's disease. Most of his books of personal research are preserved in the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History, Boston University.
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