The Saga of Anthropology in China: From Malinowski to Moscow to Mao

By Gregory Eliyu Guldin | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

China's Western
Anthropology Matures

The War Years

Liang's experience of frequent dislocation separated by periods of relative calm and academic research typified the wartime experience of many Chinese scholars. Until the outbreak of war, Chinese anthropological studies were clearly concentrated on and near the east coast, in Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Xiamen, but the summer of 1937 saw the beginning of the exodus of Chinese academia westward. New centers of anthropology thus became established at inland universities as the staffs, faculty, and students moved to areas not yet touched by the hostilities. Sometimes whole institutes picked up and moved west en masse, as did Li Ji's archaeology section at Academia Sinica (Liu and Feng 1986:309). 1

Wu Wenzao moved west in 1938 and soon established a sociology department at Yunnan University. When Fei Xiaotong returned to China from England later that year, Wu arranged for Yanjing and Yunnan universities to set up a joint Research Station for Sociological Research attached to Yunnan University so that scholars like Fei and Jiang Yingliang could collaborate with other like‐ minded researchers (Arkush 1981:80; Wu 1986:89). 2 Wu also helped establish a Yunnan Anthropology Society, but the changing frontlines of the war soon scattered the membership of the new society (Wu 1986:89).

Many of the Yanjing faculty also eventually made their way to Chengdu and participated in the amalgamated university established at Huaxi (West China

-57-

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