School of Philosophy and Sociology of Beijing Normal University (BNU) is one of the key places in China for the study and education in Humanities and Social Sciences. Nowadays there have been a well organized education system which covers from undergraduate BA programs to MA, PhD & Post Doctoral programs, and an advanced creative research team who excels at a large range of subjects including Philosophy, Pedagogy, Sociology and Politics. We also provide some part time training courses in different levels such as teacher training program, undergraduate teaching by correspondence, non-degree graduate curriculums, and so on. It is one of the most important bases for cultivating scholars and experts in Philosophy and Social Sciences. All kinds of subjects in this school are strong in research and education. Some of them are at the top of the country.
The history of our school can go back further to 1953 when Department of Political Education was established. In June 1979, authorized by Ministry of Education of China, Department of Philosophy was founded based on the disciplines of Philosophy, History of Philosophy, Logic and Ideological & Political Education for Middle Schools in the original Department of Political Education. This is the first Philosophy department in Normal Universities within China Mainland since the People’s Republic of China was established. In 1988, Department of Political Education was combined into Philosophy Department. And in 1994, Center for the Study of Middle School Ideological & Political Education and the Magazine Group of “Ideological & Political Teaching” joined the Philosophy Department as well. In 2003, under the foundation of the former Philosophy Department, with the help of integration of various academic resources, a new school called as today’s name, “School of Philosophy and Sociology of BNU” came into existence.
There are three main departments in our school, including Department of Philosophy, Department of Ideological & Political Education and Department of Sociology. We have also 13 academic institutes. They are Institute for Philosophy of Marxism, Institute of Chinese Philosophy and Chinese Culture, Institute for Philosophy and Culture of Foreign Countries, Institute of Logic and Cognitive Sciences, Institute of Ethics and Moral Education, Institute of Aesthetics and Aesthetic Teaching, Institute of Religion and Culture, Institute for History of Science and Philosophy of Science, Institute for the Study of Marxism, Institute of Ideological & Political Education, Institute of Sociology, Institute of Anthropology, Furen Institute of Chinese Classics. There are two laboratories in the school, these are, Lab for Social Data Investigation and Lab for Science & Technology and Applied Aesthetics. And the following two magazine presses belong to our school as well: Frontiers of Philosophy in China (English Edition), and Ideological & Political Teaching authorized by Ministry of Education. Furthermore, the following research centers are also important parts of the school. They are mainly, one key research center in humanities and social sciences from Ministry of Education: Center for the Study of Value and Culture; seven interdisciplinary research centers: Center for the Study of Sciences and Humanities, Center for the Study of Public Opinion Investigation Affairs, Center for the Study of Process Philosophy, Center for the Study of Enterprise Management Culture, Center for the Study of Russian Culture, Center for the Study of Middle School Ideological & Political Education, Spreading & Exchange Center for Philosophy and Social Sciences.
From the perspective of disciplines, the following items and data may show some light on the deepness and scope of the school. Those are, one Mobile Postdoctoral Center; two Primary Discipline Doctoral Degree Authorizations; 13 Secondary Discipline Doctoral Degree Authorizations; two Self-determination Doctoral Degree Authorizations; 13 Secondary Discipline Master Degree Authorizations; three Undergraduate Majors as Philosophy, Social Work and Ideological & Political Education. After the incorporation of different disciplines, one subject, Philosophy of Marxism, has won a title as National Key Discipline. The disciplinary construction of philosophy then turns into the second period of 211 Project. A National Key Innovation Center of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Values and the Spirit of Nations, has been established and developed as one of the 985 Project based on our school as well.
In the history for more than five decades, there have appeared a large number of famous scholars in Philosophy and Social Science Community, such as Qi Zhenhai, Yuan Guiren, Han Zhen, Yang Geng, Zhang Shuguang, Zhou Guidian, Zhen Wangeng, Li Jinglin, Yang Shoukan, Yang Baishun, Wu Jiaguo, Dong Zhitie, Liao Shenbai, Liu Qingping, Shen Xiaofeng, Wang Desheng, He Yunqing. Now the school has totally 61 faculties and staffs, 28 of them are professors; there are 16 associate professors plus 12 lecturers as well. And 44 faculty members of the total number have PhDs (four people received their PhDs from European or American universities). We also have one member of the discipline appraisement group from the State Department, one member of the Committee of Social Sciences from Ministry of Education, two Hundred and Thousand Talented People Program scholars from Ministry of Personnel, one member of Four Sets Program from the Party Commision, one Young Teacher Award from Ministry of Education, two Trans-Century Talented People Program from Ministry of Education, two New Century talented People from Ministry of Education; and one people got an award of China’s One Hundred Excellent PhD Dissertations; five people have been selected as One Hundred Excellent Person Project from Beijing Municipal Administration.
With the help of undergraduate course reformation, a new kind of self learning atmosphere has been gradually shaped for (and by) undergraduate students. The school’s philosophy in teaching has become as the following cultivating pattern: doing ground work on undergraduates, and paying great attention to the cultivation of postgraduate students. The ratio of numbers of postgraduates and undergraduates is now 2:1. The quality of postgraduates in origin and study ability has been distinctly improved. There has also been formed a systematic, effective, rich and colorful method for the students administration work. It can help improve the influence of the moral education work, making a boost for the full development of students in comprehensive ability. Now we have 196 full time undergraduate students, 298 master students, 114 doctoral students, nine postdoctoral researchers in the center, seven visiting scholars, 48 part time master students in pedagogy, and 116 students taught by correspondence.
The school has gradually grown up in its academic specialities and tradition. We have obtained plentiful productions in the following fields: Epistemology, Philosophy of Value, Philosophy of Human Being, Philosophy of Existence, Philosophy of Confucianism, Chinese Traditional Philosophy of Politics, Philosophy of Zhouyi, Humanism, Western Philosophy of History, Logic, and Philosophy of Science and Technology. During the period of Tenth Five Years, the school has made a breakthrough for BNU in winning an important project of National Philosophy and Social Sciences; and we also achieved an important key project from Ministry of Education. The total project funding in research work gained by faculties of our school has accumulated to be more than seven million yuan; the number of papers published by philosophers in the school comes out top at BNU. There has been papers (written by our scholars) published every year in SCI or SSCI or A&HCI responded journals since 2003. Besides, we have made a rapid progress in academic publications in China’s top journals, such as Social Sciences in China, Philosophy Researches, Sociological Studies, Studies on Marxism, Xinhua Digest, and so on. Academic exchange activities have been strengthened in recent two decades: we have held international academic workshops, conferences many times; a number of faculties have been sponsored by the school to visit and study abroad in world famous universities; and lots of famous international experts, such as Richard Rorty, John Perry, Weiming Du, John Cobb, David Griffin, Edward Zalta, Johan van Benthem, and etc., have visited here and made some academic communications.
School of Philosophy and Sociology has a profound academic tradition and talented scholar resources. This provides us a solid foundation to participate in important social activities and to make contributions to society. Theoretical researches are main work of the school: Literatures, papers and research reports written by faculties or research teams here have produced great influences on society; some of them have been borrowed by administrations or parties for references in decision making processes. Benefited from diverse disciplines, we have conducted various excellent academic lectures or informal courses; they are good at popularizing the idea of social sciences and much of fine traditional cultural contents are spread. Furthermore, the school organizes students to take part in social activities such as social investigations, social practices; in particular, hundreds of students have participated in the activity of Support the Education organized by BNU; relatively poor western areas have benefited a lot from this kind of activities.
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