Kwang-chih Chang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.

Early life[edit]

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 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.[1]

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. Most of his personal research books are preserved in the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History,[2] Boston University today.

Selected works[edit]

In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about K. C. Chang, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 100+ works in 200+ publications in 9 languages and 9,000+ library holdings.[3]

  • The Archaeology of Ancient China (1963), 2nd ed. (1968), 3rd ed. (1977), 4th ed. (1986)
  • 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)
  • The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC (1999)
  • "The Chinese Bronze Age: A Modern Synthesis", in 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. pp. 35–50. ISBN 0-87099-226-0. 
  • Art, Myth and Ritual: the Path to Political Authority in Ancient China (1983)
  • "The Rise of Kings and the Formation of City-states", in Allan, Sarah, ed. (2002). The Formation of Chinese Civilization: an archaeological perspective. Yale University Press. pp. 125–139. ISBN 978-0-300-09382-7. 


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kang-i Sun Chang (2006). Journey Through the White Terror. Taipei: National Taiwan University Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 9789860056990. 
  2. ^ "International Center for East Asian Archaeology & Cultural History | Boston University". Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  3. ^ Chang, Kwang-chih, OCLC WorldCat Identities.
  4. ^ Wilson, Jon. "AAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies". Association for Asian Studies (AAS). Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 


External links[edit]