Sinology was first studied at Charles University in the late 1800s by Rudolf Dvořák (1860–1920), a versatile Orientalist and for a period also Rector of Charles University. Chinese language and literature however only became an independent subject in 1945. Scholars from the Prague School of Sinology gained international recognition in the 1960s, especially Jaroslav Průšek (1906–1980), who opened new directions in the study of modern Chinese literature and of the transformations of Chinese culture upon encounter with the West.

After the Soviet occupation in 1968, Czechoslovak Sinology was all but replaced with ideological criticsm of Maoist China; only some Chinese language instruction remained at the University. The subject was revived after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 within a newly formed Institute of East Asian Studies, headed first by Prof. Oldřich Král and later by Prof. Olga Lomová, Assoc. Prof. Jan Sýkora (a Japanologist) and Assoc. Prof. Lukáš Zádrapa. All current members of the Department joined it after 1989, most did at least parts of their graduate research at world scholarly centres. Many of our graduates became academic leaders in Chinese studies at other universities and research institutions in Czechia and Slovakia.

The former IEAS was renamed Department of Sinology in October 2019 after other East Asian subjects were merged into the Institute of Asian Studies.

Further Reading:
Gálik, Marián (2010). „Preliminary Remarks on Prague School of Sinology I„, Asian and African Studies 19 (2): 197-219.
——- (2011). „Preliminary Remarks on Prague School of Sinology II„, Asian and African Studies 20 (1): 95-113.
Leo Ou-fan Lee (2017). “Unpacking Průšek’s Conception of the ‘Lyrical’: a Tribute and Some Intercultural Reflections.” AUC Philologica 2017(4):151-166.

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