The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University is honored to announce the establishment of the Tang Center for Early China.

Early China was the fountainhead of Chinese civilization and provided the foundation for a common cultural heritage that has characterized much of the East Asian world. The ideas and institutions created in Early China had profound impact on the later developments of China and East Asia. The Tang Center for Early China is dedicated to the advancement of the understanding of the richness and significance of early Chinese civilizations through both solid scholarship and broad public outreach.

The Tang Center will support the study of newly discovered artifacts as well as paleographic and textual materials. The Tang Center is especially interested in advancing the role of archaeology and will offer a critical window for introducing new archaeological discoveries in China to Western audiences. The Tang Center is also dedicated to the promotion of public awareness of the cultural and historical legacy of China and will sponsor public events and activities that will widen knowledge and interest in Early China.

The creation of the Tang Center is made possible through a generous endowment gift of $5 million dollars from Oscar Tang, a private investor and philanthropist, and his archaeologist wife Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, a cultural heritage policy advisor and documentarian of films on Chinese art and archaeology. “Understanding China’s past is the key to knowing contemporary China,” Oscar Tang observed, “Every year, significant archaeological discoveries are revealing new information about Early China, and we believe that Columbia, through this new center, is poised to shape the research and scholarly conversation around this rapidly growing area of study.” Responded Haruo Shirane, the chair of the department: “We are proud to accept this mission to develop the Tang Center into the best institution in the study of Early China and its civilizations.”

Among its programs, the Tang Center will sponsor a regular Early China Seminar lecture series and a special annual lecture in archaeology that will bring to New York the most important archaeological discoveries in recent years. The Tang Center will offer grants for workshops and conferences, as well as fellowships for visiting scholars from around the world. It will also provide research grants to Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduates. In addition, the Tang Center plans to publish a monograph series that will break new theoretical or methodological ground in the field of Early China studies.

“Over the past 30 years, huge quantities of materials have been pulled out of the ground in China, including texts central to Chinese civilization. The Tang Center will make a systematic effort to bring light to these new materials and ensure that their value is appreciated by society,” said Li Feng, the new Director of the Tang Center.

The official inauguration of the Tang Center will be held in September 2015, and the Center will be located in Kent Hall, on the Morningside campus of Columbia University.