Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
JRAS is a society journal, its society and its ethos going back to the high days of the British Raj. Unlike Britain itself, the journal retains those boundaries; it covers all of Asia east of Suez, with perhaps four articles and many book reviews in each of three issues per year.
Soon after its own founding, the Royal Asiatic Society became the nucleus of a network of scholarly societies in Asia, which were officially recognized as Branches and issued their own journals. Some examples:
- The Asiatic Society, which had been founded in Calcutta on 15 January 1784 by Sir William Jones, became in 1854 the first "branch" association of the Royal Asiatic Society, under the parallel title Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. Under its original name, it still continues in existence in Calcutta.
- A Medico-Chirurgical Society had been organized at Hong Kong in 1845; it was recognized as the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1847. It went out of existence in 1859, but was revived informally in 1950, probably due to the influx of members of the extinct North China Branch, and was officially recognized as the Hong Kong Branch on 28 December 1959.
- The Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society, organized in 1857, was admitted as the North China Branch (not all that north, but to distinguish it from the Hong Kong branch) in 1858. During its tenure it was the most active of all the branch organizations, and published the valuable JNCBRAS. Its very success may have contributed to the eclipse of the Hong Kong branch. It passed out of existence as an incident of the Communist victory in 1949, some of its refugee members contributing to the reappearance of the Hong Kong Branch.
If we were awarding prizes for handsome journal cover design, JRAS would win one of them. As for the contents, they are handsome too, but the percentage of classical Sinology is small.
- JRAS (at Cambridge University Press)
- Royal Asiatic Society
- Asiatic Society (of Calcutta, founded 1784)
14 Feb 2005 / Contact The Project / Exit to Sinology Page