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About the IEL



The Institute of Ethnic Literature (IEL) was established in 1980 in Beijing. It is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Its research spectrum ranges over the following areas: 1) The literature of ancient and contemporary ethnic groups, oral and written; 2) Theoretical concerns relating to issues of literary evolution; 3) Literary relations among various ethnic groups, with an emphasis on comparative approaches; 4) Expressive cultures in combination with oral tradition and verbal art; 5) Literary theory and contemporary criticism; and 6) Collecting, recording, transcribing, translating, digitizing, and publishing oral texts and written works.

Director: B. Chogjin (Chao Gejin)

The Secretary-in-General: MENG, Qinghai

Deputy Director: TANG, Xiaoqing

IEL Faculty, 2009

The IEL is engaged in providing scientific reflections on, and analysis of ethnic literatures in China. For this reason, IEL has brought together 44 scholars and 6 administrative coordinators from different ethnic backgrounds who command broad native language proficiencies throughout China.

IEL publishes a core journal Studies of Ethnic Literature (quarterly) covering all areas of the humanities in China, and has launched several large projects that deal with textualizing and translating epic and other folk narrative texts. The following research projects are currently in progress: 

• IEL Key Research Projects (state and CASS levels):

– "Studies of Ethnic Epics in China” (under way)
– "Collection, Collation and Translations of Epic King Gesar” (completed)
– "The Selected Collection of Epic King Gesar” (underway)
– "The Transcribed Collection of Oral Texts of Epic King Gesar” (underway)
– "Compilation of ‘Literary History of Chinese Ethnic Groups’ Series” (completed)
– "Ethnic literary relations” (completed)
– "Research on Basic Theories of Epic Types in China” (completed)
– "Disciplining Epic Studies in China” (2003-2012)
– "Frontier Research on China Folkloristics” (2009-2012)
– "Database of China Ethnic Literature Studies” (2003-    )
– "Field Study Bases for China Ethnic Minority Oral Traditions” (2004-    )
– "Solution for Media Asset Management of China"s Ethnic Literature” (2007-    )

A series of China"s Epic Studies

The transcribed collections of
Tibetan epic master singer Bsam-grub’s oral Performances

Since many disciplines are involved in ethnic literature studies, including many subdisciplines within East and Central Asian studies, among them Tibetan Studies, Mongolian Studies, Turkic Studies, Manchu Studies, Naxi Studies, Yi Studies, Miao (Hmong) Studies, and others--- these subdisciplines therefore have now become internationalized disciplines. Thus far the institute has constructed linkages to institutions and scholars in many countries throughout the world. In this cross-disciplinary context, the Institute"s expertise in ethnic literature research becomes an indispensable asset for any international scholar or institution whose work addresses cultural diversities, local knowledge, or regional and international cooperation in social sciences and humanities. 

IEL is also a higher educational institution operating under the Department of Ethnic Literature of the Graduate School of CASS (GSCASS). The department offers master"s and doctoral degrees both in "China Ethnic Minority Languages" and "Literature and Folklore". Domestic and overseas students, as well as visiting scholars, come to us to undertake their educational and professional training with IEL Faculty.



IEL Journal
Journal of Studies of Ethnic Literature (SEL)
The Journal was founded in November 1983. The current Editor-in-chief is Prof. GUAN, Jixin...
Book Review: Oral Poetics: Formulaic Diction of Arimpil
Chao Geji朝戈金. Kochuan shishi xue: Ranpile "Jiangge"er"chengshi jufa yanjiu 口传史诗诗学...
Thangka Paintings: An Illustrated Manual of the Tibetan Epic Gesar
The intention of our compilation of this illustrated album of the epic lies in the follwing considerations...
Chao Gejin
Chao Gejin (Chogjin) is a Mongolian from Hohhot, received his Ph.D. in Folklore from Beijing Normal University. He serves as Senior Researcher as well as Deputy Director of Institute of Ethnic Literature, CASS...
Lang Ying is Han. She was educated at Central Institute for Nationalities with distinction of Uygur language and literature from 1960 to 1965.
The 36th session (2012)
Committee sessions