Kwang-chih Chang (Chinese: 張光直; pinyin: Zhāng Guāngzhí; 1931–2001), also known as K.C. Chang, was a Chinese/Taiwanese archaeologist and sinologist. He was a professor of archaeology at Harvard University, a 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.
Chang's paternal grandfather was a farmer in Taiwan. His father Chang Wo-chün moved to Beijing in 1921 to pursue his education, where he met and married K.C. 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, his family returned to Taiwan in 1946; the family's eldest son remained in Beijing. Because of this association, the 17-year-old K.C. Chang spent a year in prison.
K.C. Chang enrolled in National Taiwan University in 1950, where he studied anthropology and archaeology under Li Ji. 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. He then returned to Harvard in 1977 to teach anthropology, and later archaeology. He was the Vice-President of the Academia Sinica from 1994 to 1996. K.C. Chang trained many students over the years, among whom is a group of distinguished archaeologists including Bruce Trigger, Richard J. Pearson, Choi Mong-lyong, and others.
K.C. 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.
- The Archaeology of Ancient China (1963)
- Rethinking Archaeology (1967)
- Settlement Archaeology (1968)
- Fengpitou, Tapenkeng, and the Prehistory of Taiwan (1969)
- Early Chinese Civilization: Anthropological Perspectives (1976)
- Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives (1977)
- Shang Civilization (1980)
- Fong, Wen (ed.) (1980). The great bronze age of China: an exhibition from the People's Republic of China. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0870992260. (Chang has essay in)
- Art, Myth and Ritual: the Path to Political Authority in Ancient China (1983)
- The Formation of Chinese Civilization : an archaeological perspective (2002)
- Kang-i Sun Chang, Journey Through the White Terror, p. 59-60.
- WorldCat Identities: Chang, Kwang-chih
- Association for Asian Studies (AAS), 1996 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies; retrieved 2011-06-06
- Ferrie, Helke, 1995, "A Conversation with K.C. Chang," Current Anthropology, 36(2): 307-325.
- Keightley, David N., 2001, "Kwang-Chih Chang (1931–2001)," The Journal of Asian Studies 60(2): 619-621.
- Short Biography with a link to K.C. Chang's complete bibliography
- National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir