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A brief history
As a discipline in Peking University, sociology has a long history and tradition. As early as 1910, sociology was listed in the curriculum of Jing Shi Da Xue Tang (the Metropolitan University), one of the predecessors of Peking University. In 1912, Yan Fu, the well-known translator who first introduced Western sociology into China, became the Chief Dean in charge of the faculty of Peking University and sociology courses were established there in 1916. The first instructor was Kang Baozhong, who was the first Chinese teacher of sociology in China. By 1952, teaching and research activities in sociology continued uninterrupted with the efforts of well-known sociologists and activists, such as Yan Fu, Kang Baozhong, Yu Tianxiu, and Tao Menghe, Xu Deheng, Li Dazhao,and Chen Hansheng.
As one of the predecessors of Peking University (Yanjin University) established a department of sociology and a department of social work in 1922; and by 1952, when those departments were closed, Peking University had trained a large number of outstanding sociologists, including Li Anzhai, Huang Di, Zhang Shiwen, Yan Jingyao, Zhao Chengxin, Guan Ruiwu, Fei Xiaotong, Lin Yaohua, Li Youyi, Chen Yongling, Zhang Xusheng , Shen Jiaju, Song Shu-hua and Wang Fu.
During the Anti-Japanese War, Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Nankai University merged to form the National Southwest United University, which possessed a distinguished sociology faculty that included Chen Da, Pan Guangdan, Li Jinghan, Chen Xujing, Wu Zelin, Li Shuqing, Li Tao, Lin Liangtong, Fei Xiaotong, Qu Tongzhu, Yuan Fang and Quan Tianwei.
Hence, by 1952, Peking University, in its earlier institutional forms and as a force within the National Southwest United University, had contributed greatly to the establishment and development of sociology in China; and its faculty had succeeded in gaining a lasting international reputation for Chinese sociology. It is with this solid academic foundation and spiritual heritage that sociology at Peking University was privileged to continue into the following decades.
After China launched the policies of reform and opening up in the end 1970s:
A chronology of principal events during the post-1980 period is as follows:
1980:Peking University was one of the first Universities to re-established sociology as a discipline.
1981:The University began to recruit graduate students in sociology.
1982:The Department of Sociology was established.
1983:The Department began to recruit undergraduate students in sociology.
1985:The Department began to recruit student at doctoral level.
          The Institute of Sociology of Peking University was established.
1987:PekingUniversityestablished a section on social work.
1988:The Department joined with the Institute of Sociology in establishing the first post-doctoral work teams in the fields of sociology, anthropology and demography. These teams have been an important innovation, enabling post-doctoral students to work together on significant projects.
1996:The Institute of Sociology was re-named as the Institute of Sociology and Anthropology at Peking University.
2000:The Department and the Institute of Sociology and Anthropology, while retaining the two original names, merged together as a single institute under a unified administration.
          The Center for Sociological Research and Development of China was established. This Center is supported by the Department of Sociology and the Institute of Sociology and Anthropology.
2007:The China Social Work Research Center was established. This Center is jointly associated with the Department of Sociology of Peking University, the Department of Applied Social Sciences of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It has become an important base for research and teaching in the field of social work in China.
          (Other associated centers include:  The Center of Social Science Survey at Peking University,  Research Center for Social Theory at PekingUniversity, Research Center for Chinese Workers,Anthropology and Folklore Research Center of Peking University, Center for Oral History Research of Peking University, and the Religion and Social Research Center of Peking University. )
After 20 years of construction, the Department of Sociology has developed into an institution containing a number of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, demography, social work and social policy, and more than 20 sub-fields and research directions. In August 2007, the Sociology Program at Peking University was identified as a national first class key program by the Ministry of Education; and the Department of Sociology has been placed among 18 key nationally ranked departments in Peking University.
During the last two decades, the Department of Sociology of Peking University has expanded its faculty steadily and it has constantly improved its structures in teaching, research and social services. The Department now has 37 full-time teachers and researchers, of whom 20 have the title of professor, 16 have the title of associate professor, and there is one lecturer. Thirty three of these faculty members hold doctorate degrees and 4 have master degrees. Apart from this, the Department of Sociology has several honored faculty members, including one professor of "Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) Outstanding Scholars Program" and 2 visiting professors. In addition, the Department has hosted dozens of teachers and researchers as visiting scholars from other institutions in China and abroad. 
The Department has become a leading institution on the basis of its strong research, teaching and social service.  The Department of Sociology has acted as the host for the administrative offices of a number of academic societies, such as the Association of China¡¯s Social Work and Education, the Folklore Society of China, the Branch of Ethnic Sociology under the Association of Sociology of China.
The sociologists of PekingUniversity have had broad and far-reaching impacts in China and abroad. Fei Xiaotong, Lei Jieqiong and Yuan Fang, who represent the older generation of Chinese sociologists, have played particularly important roles, not only in the early formation and development of sociology in China, but also subsequent to the 1970s when they were important to the reconstruction of sociology in China, to policy making and to China¡¯s general social development. Fei Xiaotong, Lei Jieqiong, and Yuan Fang, successively, were the presidents of Chinese Sociological Association; and Fei Xiaotong and Lei Jieqiong also had long service as vice chairmen of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.