Historian Yu Ying-shih dies at 91

08/05/2021 02:08 PM
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Yu Ying-shih. CNA file photo
Yu Ying-shih. CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) Chinese-born American historian and Sinologist Yu Ying-shih (余英時) passed away in his sleep in the United States, at the age of 91, on Aug. 1, according to Academia Sinica on Thursday.

Yu was born in Tianjin, China in 1930. After studying under sinology master Qian Mu (錢穆) in the mainland, he earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University.

Renowned for his ability to interpret Chinese thought using the modern methodology, Yu has been described by his peers as the greatest Chinese intellectual historian of his generation.

Yu was hailed as the 21st-century dean of Chinese history for his mastery of Chinese intellectual and cultural history.

He was made a lifetime member of Academia Sinica, Taiwan's most distinguished academic institution, in 1974, and was also the recipient of the first-ever Tang Prize in Sinology in 2014.

Academia Sinica said that as the world's most influential Chinese historian, Yu's knowledge encompasses nearly the entire span of Chinese history and his studies cover Chinese political and cultural history as well as Chinese philosophy.

In addition to his academic research, Yu also contributed by donating his NT$10 million (US$360,075) cash award from the Tang Prize in 2014 for the establishment of a fellowship to encourage much-needed research in the humanities, according to the academic institution.

At the time of his death, Yu was a professor emeritus of Chinese studies at Princeton University. He had taught at various universities in the United States, including the University of Michigan and Harvard University.

He received numerous academic awards and honors from Taiwan and abroad, including the Executive Yuan Cultural Award in 1991, the election to the American Philosophical Society in 2004, and the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity, Academia Sinica noted.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao)

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