A Short Note on Working in the Beijing Municipal Archive

by Elisabeth Forster (Research Assistant, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

The Beijing Municipal Archive (Beijing shi dang’an guan 北京市档案馆) stores, as the name suggests, materials pertaining to Beijing as a city. It has materials on both the period before 1949 and after. Arunabh Ghosh has already written a very informative review of this archive  on Dissertation Review, based on his experiences in 2011: http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/643. Therefore I will only give updated information on the aspects that I found changed, when I visited the archive in February and March 2018.

Continue reading

A Short Guide to Visiting the Capital Library of China

by Z. Lu (Researcher, CSMC, Universität Hamburg)

The Capital Library of China (Shoudu tushuguan 首都图书馆), whose origins trace back to over a century ago, is one of the premier public libraries in China. While serving the general public, it is also home to a very rich collection of premodern books and materials from the Republican era, ranging from fiction and drama of the Ming and Qing to local materials related to Beijing – including a comprehensive collection of gazetteers. Below are a few tips on using two of the main reading rooms: the Historical Texts Reading Room (Lishi wenxian yuelan shi 历史文献阅览室), and the Beijing Local Collection (Beijing difang wenxian yuelan 北京地方文献阅览).

Continue reading

Traditional Hui Mosques in Northern China

by Candice Del Medico (PhD student at the Université Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne, recipient of a fieldwork grant from the EFEO)

The presence of Muslims in China is a phenomenon which seems unknown to the general public. However, today there are more than twenty million Muslims in Chinese territory. The early implantation of Islam was accompanied by the construction of a new type of architecture that had never been seen in China before: the mosques, or qingzhensi (清真寺) in Chinese.

There are currently more than forty thousand mosques in China and some were erected as early as the 14th century. These oldest mosques are the traditional Hui-style mosques.

Continue reading

A Reader’s Guide to the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives

by Henrike Rudolph (Research Assistant, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

Shanghai has been an important center of political and cultural life throughout the 20th century and is, therefore, quite naturally a popular destination for researchers working on Republican China and PRC history. However, one can’t help but feel that Shanghai’s popularity among historians also has something to do with the convenience and friendly service culture of the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives. Not only do they have very impressive collections, the staff at both institutions are also exceptionally helpful (especially in comparison to other local archives or libraries in China) making it just a great place to do research.
This is a short visitor guide for those not yet familiar with these institutions so that you will not waste any time and can get your hands on documents and books as quickly as possible.

Continue reading