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Research of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University has always been closely linked with the destiny of China and its ever changing society. In its over 100 years` history, such prominent scholars as Hu Xiaoshi, Tao Xingzhi, Tang Yongtong, Ma Yinchu, Li Shutong, Zhang Daqian, Xu Beihong, Fu Baoshi, Wu Mi, Pearl S. Buck, Lv Shuxiang, Chen Baichen, Kuang Yaming and Cheng Qianfan taught or studied at Nanjing University. In May 1978, “Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing the Truth” written by Hu Fuming, Professor of Philosophy, became the beckoning voice for reform in China and ignited a nationwide debate on the standards for seeking truth. This article, published with the pseudonym Specialist Commentator, was the “first spring thunder” that awakened the Chinese and heralded the emancipation of Chinese people’s mind.
Since the opening up and reform, studies of humanities and social sciences have entered a new historic phase that enabled Nanjing University’s fast development. It began to rank among the top universities in China, meeting the most vigorous standards for Higher Education and National Strength Appraisal.
Divisions of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University are hosting 1 level-1 national key disciplinary program and 11 level-2 national key disciplinary programs. Between 2007 and 2009, 9 of Nanjing University’s key disciplinary programs are ranked by China Ministry of Education among top 5 out of 81 programs nationwide. These programs boast scientifically managed infrastructure and overall strength. There are altogether 4 key research bases funded by Ministry of Education, 7 research centers co-sponsored by Jiangsu Provincial Government and Ministry of Education, 2 provincial research bases and 6 university-funded research centers. This multi-level, pyramid-shaped academic structure enables sound development of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University.
Faculty of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University are renowned teachers and scholars. There are a series of influential publications that are markedly successful in the academic circle both at home and abroad, including: Collection of Critical Biographies of Chinese Thinkers (200 volumes), Collection of Historical Materials of Nanjing Massacre (78 volumes), The Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau (Revised edition), Shunzhi and Kangxi Volume in Ci of the Qing Dynasty (20 volumes), History of Chinese Buddhism (15 volumes), etc.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) of Nanjing University was founded in 2005, being the first institute for advanced studies in humanities and social sciences in China. Its establishment marked a breakthrough in setting up innovative mechanism for cross-disciplinary research.
Development of studies of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University has always been in line with a globalized vision. Since its foundation, Nanjing University has been one of the most active players among Chinese universities in international exchanges and cooperation. It has established partnership with 300 universities and research institutes worldwide. An exemplary practice is the Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies that has been running for over 20 years, the earliest and longest joint higher education program in China after China’s opening up and reform. It has produced many talented young professionals that are playing vital roles in the world. Sino-German Institute of Law studies, EU Center, Center for Nordic Studies, Center for Jewish Studies, and other joint research centers have also become the bridging agencies between Nanjing University and overseas partners. Nanjing University has hosted a number of prestigious international conferences with significant success. Many world-renowned scholars, including Nobel Prize laureates, are honorary or visiting professors of Nanjing University.
Nanjing University welcomes scholars and visitors from all over the world, to experience the beautiful city of Nanjing and to study the ancient history and philosophy of China.