Sarah Allan

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For those of a similar name, see Sarah Allen (disambiguation).

Sarah Allan (simplified Chinese: 艾兰; traditional Chinese: 艾蘭; pinyin: Ài Lán; born 1945) is an American scholar of ancient China. She is currently Burlington Northern Foundation Professor of Asian Studies in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures at Dartmouth College, Chair for the Society for the Study of Early China and Editor of Early China. Previously, she was Senior Lecturer in Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is best known for her interdisciplinary approach to the mythological and philosophical systems of early Chinese civilization.

Allan has published widely in English and Chinese (as Ai Lan 艾兰). In her work, Allan has presented an attempt to reconstruct the basic concepts of the mythology of China's Shang dynasty based on evidence from a number of sources, including Shang inscriptions (primarily from oracle bones, as well as bronzes), myths and stories recorded during the Zhou and Han dynasties that followed the Shang, which appear to be derived from Shang sources, as well as archaeological data.[1] Her works have been translated into both Chinese and Korean.[2] Her most recent book is Buried Ideas: Legends of Abdication and Ideal Government in Recently Discovered Early Chinese Bamboo-slip Manuscripts (SUNY Press, 2015), which discusses four Warring States period (475-221 BCE) bamboo-slip texts about Yao's abdication to Shun, centering on issues of meritocracy and hereditary succession.[3]

Allan has also collaborated extensively with Chinese scholars, Li Xueqin 李学勤 and Qi Wenxin 齐文心 in particular, in publishing Chinese materials in Western collections in order to make them available to scholars in China. Another area of collaboration is her organization of international conferences and workshops on Chinese excavated texts.[1]

Sarah Allan received a B.A. degree in 1966 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1969 and 1974 respectively from the University of California, Berkeley.[4]

Sarah Allan is married to the artist Nicol Allan.

Selected works[edit]


Collaborative works[edit]


Works translated into Chinese[edit]

Edited volumes[edit]


  1. ^ Review of The Shape of the Turtle
  2. ^ "The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue". Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Buried Ideas". Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Sarah Allan". Dartmouth College. Retrieved 8 January 2015.