Success of the International Symposium on ‘Theories and Methods for Studies of the Origin of States’

Success of the International Symposium on ‘Theories and Methods for Studies of the Origin of States’
Author: Weiyang, Xie
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 15, Number 1 / March 2016

On November 14–15, 2015, the international symposium on ‘Theories and Methods for Studies of the Origin of States’ was held in Gucun Park Hotel, Shanghai. The symposium was co-organized by Research Center on Ancient Civilizations and History Department of Shanghai University, assisted by Pre-Qin History Research Association of China and Editorial Office of Academic Monthly.

Present at the conference were more than 30 scholars and researchers from higher institutions at home and abroad including Russian Academy of Sciences, Far-Eastern Federal University of Russia, Harvard University, University of Wyoming (USA), Leiden University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Peking University, Capital Norma University, Fudan University, Jilin University and Tianjin Normal University. Altogether 29 papers were presented at the conference.

During the two-day conference, participants gave speeches and presentations on topics and issues such as nature, meaning, and conception of the states, modes of origin and evolution of the states, relationship between pre-state political institutions and origin of the states, case studies on the states' origin and evolution in different parts of the world, narrative framework of the origin and evolution of the states in China, early political systems and state management in China, which were followed by in-depth discussions among all scholars. Based on the theme of ‘theories and methods for studies of the origin of the states', the conference provided a platform for communication and dialogues among various disciplines including history, archaeology and anthropology. Scholars present at the conference all spoke highly of this event, pointing out that the symposium would certainly play a vital role in promoting studies on the origin of the states, and would further have a positive influence in related research fields in the world.

This symposium is an important part of the national key project entitled ‘Theories and Methods for Studies of the Origin of the States’. It is a big step in the progression of the project and will constitute a part for the successful completion of the project.


Li Boqian. Some Theoretical Problems on the Studies of the Origin of State and Studies of Chinese Civilization.

Lin Yun. Questions on the Theory and Method on the ‘Archaic State’ and ‘Kingdom’ of Chinese Archaeology.

Xu Hong. Rethinking on the Studies of the Origin of State in Chinese Archaeology.

Robert Kelly. What can Hunter-Gatherers Tell us about the Formation of Early States in China?

Lin Poyer. Pacific Inlands Chiefdoms: Insights for State Origins.

Xie Weiyang. How Close between Chiefdom and State? Discussions on the Roles of the Socio-Political Complexity in Pre-state societies.

Leonid Grinin. On the Models of the Early State Formation.

Zhang Tongxin. Discussion on the Concepts and Connotation of the State.

Andrey Korotayev. Circumcisions Theory of the Origins of the State: A Cross-cultural Re-analysis.

Liu Hengwu. Changes of the Burial Ceramic Vessels and Unification of Regional Societies in Neolithic Period.

Yan Shaoyang. From Mycenaean World to Homer.

Theo Krispijin. Early Political Systems in Mesopotamia: The State of Kis.

Nikolay Kradin. Origins and Evolution of the Early State in Russian Far East.

Dmitri Bondarenko. The Benin Kingdom (13th – 19th Centuries): A Non-state Supercomplex Society.

Duan Yu. Yelang State and Yelang Chiefdom Societies.

Gao Jiangtao. Characteristics of the Royal State in the Central Plains, China.

Cao Jun. Chinese Civilization and Social Development in the Taihu Lake Region.

Du Yong. ‘Hou Fu’ in Bamboo Scripts and People-Oriented Thoughts.

Ning Zhenjiang. Rethinking the questions of ‘Yu Yi Ren (Only me)’: studies of the people-oriented thoughts and Royal power.

Wang Jinfeng. ‘Xiao Chen’ (small administrator) in Shang and Zhou period: Administrative systems of states in Shang and Zhou period.

Zhan Gang. Rethinking on the historic literature on “Tai Bo move to Wu State”.

Yitzhak Jaffe. The Earliest States in China: A long-term trajectory approach.