Li-Chuan Tai is Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, which she joined in 2002. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Taiwan, she went to France, where she earned her master’s degree, DEA and Ph.D. in French history. Her doctoral thesis investigated the process of institutionalization of French anthropology as a university discipline and its complicated relationship with colonial circles. It was later greatly expanded and published in France in 2011 as a book entitled L’Anthropologie française entre sciences coloniales et décolonisation (1880-1960). With this background in French colonial and intellectual history, she moved on to world history. In the field, she has conducted various projects concerning scientific exchanges between Chinese and French scholars, especially regarding scientific enterprises led by French Jesuit scientists in the fields of natural history, prehistory, and paleoanthropology. Her research project at HYI explores a cosmopolitan scientific community based in early twentieth-century China, which involved scholars of seven nationalities and was devoted to the study of natural history and prehistoric archeology in China. Through this research, she will also examine the rewriting of history in today’s China, especially in the history of science. Besides this project, she continues to collect archives and documents for a project focused on Henri Cordier, a French sinologist who founded T’oung Pao in 1890, and for another project on the British community in Macao in the early nineteenth century and their natural history collections that are considered by some as the foundation of the first modern museum in China.
“A French adviser in the time of Choukoutien archaeological excavation: Study based on the recently published Teilhard de Chardin’s correspondence,” Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology 79.1 (March 2008): 95-161. (in Chinese)
“Build the ‘Center’ on the ‘Periphery’: French Jesuit Émile Licent and the Musée Hoang Ho Pai Ho in Tianjin,” Fu Jen Historical Journal 24 (December 2009): 229-256. (in Chinese)
“’Commerce de lumière’ : deux missionnaires naturalistes français et leurs œuvres muséales en Chine,” Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale de France 36 (2010): 56-64. (in French)
“L’histoire des colonies dans le monde de l’érudition: le cas d’Henri Cordier,” Outre-Mers: Revue d’histoire 376/377 (2012): 553-568. (in French)
“From Zikawei Museum to Heude Museum: The Natural History Research of French Jesuits in Modern China,” Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology 84.2 (June 2013): 329-385. (in Chinese)