HANOVER, NH, September 25, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Sarah Allan, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Prof. Allan celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
A widely renowned scholar of Chinese studies, Prof. Allan currently serves Dartmouth College as an emeritus professor of Asian studies. She is also Chair of the Society for the Study of Early China and Editor of the journal, Early China. She is a specialist in ancient China, particularly early myth, religion, and the development of philosophy in China during the first two millennia BCE. Her research expertise extends to the earliest known forms of Chinese writing, such as divinations on bone and shell, inscriptions cast on bronze vessels and bamboo-slip manuscripts, as well as to traditional Classical Chinese texts and archaeologically excavated material culture. Her writings are especially known for their theoretical innovations and interdisciplinary approach. Throughout the course of her career, Prof. Allan has collaborated with Chinese scholars and almost all of her research has been published in Chinese translation. In addition, she is a prominent voice in the organization of international conferences and workshops on Chinese excavated texts, often in collaboration with Chinese scholars.
Prof. Allan received a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA in 1966. She went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she completed a Master of Arts in 1969 and a PhD in 1974. Shortly before finishing her doctorate at Berkeley, Prof. Allan accepted a position as a lecturer of Chinese with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London where she taught for more than 20 years before joining the faculty of Dartmouth College as the Burlington Northern Foundation Professor of Asian Studies in honor of Richard M. Bressler in 1995.
After China opened to the West, in 1977, Prof. Allan was able to travel to there for the first time. In 1981 Prof. Allan met the Chinese historian, Li Xueqin, who was in Britain as a visiting scholar at Clare Hall, Cambridge University. This fortuitous meeting resulted in a series of collaborations throughout their respective careers. Their first project was the publication of the inscriptions on Chinese oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (c1600-1050 BCE) in British collections. Published in 1985, with a second part in 1992, "Oracle Bone Collections in Great Britain," co-authored by Allan, Li, and Qi Wenxin, his colleague at the Institute of History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, represents the first major sinological collaboration between Chinese and Western scholars after China's opening. It was published in China by Zhonghua shuju in Beijing, thus making these materials available to Chinese researchers, and received a Chinese national "first class" prize in the ancient literature category for the years 1992-93. In 1986, Prof. Allan and Prof. Li visited museums in Western Europe with significant collections of ancient Chinese bronze vessels. This resulted in their co-authored book, "Chinese Bronzes: A Selection from European Collections," published in 1995 by the Cultural Relics Press, Beijing. While gathering materials on ancient bronzes, they also discovered that there was an unpublished collection of oracle bone inscriptions in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, which they, together with Qi Wenxin, published in 1999.
In order to facilitate their own and other scholars' collaborative projects, Prof. Allan and Prof. Li established an exchange between the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Institute of History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Among the first Chinese visitors to London on that exchange were two specialists in Dunhuang manuscripts, Zhang Gong and Song Jiayu. The Dunhuang manuscripts had been discovered in the Mogao caves in the early twentieth century. At that time, some forty thousand scrolls were acquired by Sir Aurel Stein and deposited in the British Museum. Prof. Allan, together with scholars from the British Library, the British Museum, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Chinese scholars from the Institute of History and other Chinese institutions established a "Dunhuang Project," the purpose of which was to publish photographs of the Dunhuang manuscripts in Britain in a manner that would be available to researchers in China. This resulted in fourteen printed volumes, published by the People's Publishing House of Sichuan, and was the predecessor to the current "International Dunhuang Project."
Prof. Allan has organized numerous workshops and conferences. While teaching at SOAS, she founded the Early China Seminar of the British Association for Chinese Studies, which became an international forum for scholars to present new research in Early China Studies. After moving to Dartmouth in 1995, she began to organize conferences and workshops concerned with recently discovered bamboo-slip manuscripts from the Warring States period (476-221 BCE). In 1993, Chinese archaeologists discovered a cache of these manuscripts in a tomb at Guodian, Hubei Province, China with early versions of material now in the Daoist classic, the Laozi Daodejing, and other philosophical texts. In 1998, immediately after their publication, with the cooperation of the Chinese archaeologists, she co-convened a conference of thirty international specialists to read and discuss the implications of this find. The proceedings of this conference were published in 2000 as "The Guodian Laozi," co-edited by Sarah Allan and Crispin Williams. This volume has served as a seminal text in the new academic field of bamboo and silk manuscript studies. This conference was followed by a conference at Peking University that Prof. Allan organized in collaboration with scholars from Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2000, at which previously unpublished materials from various sites in China were presented. Since 2008, with the acquisition of Warring States Period bamboo-slip manuscripts by Tsinghua University, Prof. Allan has co-convened workshops and international conferences on these texts together with Tsinghua's Research and Conservation Center for Excavated Texts.
Prof. Allan is the sole author of four books, as well as numerous research articles. Her first book, The Heir and the Sage: Dynastic Legend in Early China, discusses the manner in which early Chinese philosophers used historical "legend" to discuss their ideas of government. It argues that a contradiction between ideas of hereditary right and the moral principle of obligation to one's family as opposed to rule by sage kings and obligation to the greater society was the primary subject of historical legend. On a theoretical level, it was both an adaptation of, and challenge to, Claude Levi-Strauss's structuralist theory of myth. Her second book, The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art, and Cosmology in Early China, is concerned with the mythological foundations of the historical legends discussed in The Heir and the Sage. It reconstructs myth, art, and cosmology in the Shang Dynasty (c1600-1050 BCE) by working on the assumption that the different types of evidence are expressions of the same system of thought, and argues that this system of thought was transformed in different ways in later periods. A Chinese translation by Wang Tao, first published in 1991, was one of the earliest translations of contemporary Western sinology published in China. Her third book, The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue, uses metaphor theory to argue that many of the most fundamental concepts of Chinese philosophy are grounded in models of the natural world, most importantly water and plant life. Her most recent book, Buried Ideas: Legends of Abdication and Ideal Government in Ancient Chinese Bamboo-Slip Manuscripts (2015) revisits the issue of the conflict between ideas of rule by virtue and rule by hereditary right in light of new evidence from the recently discovered manuscripts. She argues that legends of ancient sage-rulers abdicating to other sage-rulers reflected a contemporaneous theory of abdication as the ideal means of political succession. This theory was not viable after China was unified under a single hereditary dynasty, but, once recognized, its traces are clearly evident in the early Chinese classical tradition. Chinese translations of most of Prof. Allan's books and articles have all been published in five volumes of a continuing series of "Allan's Collected Works" (Ai Lan wenji) by Commercial Press, Beijing, beginning in 2010.
Although Prof. Allan has been recognized as an emeritus professor since she retired in 2016, she remains highly active as a research scholar, writer, lecturer, teacher, editor, and organizer of conferences and workshops.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to her profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Sarah Allan, PhD, has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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