Oriental Institute, ASCR

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The Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic is a research institution founded in 1922, specialising in the field of Oriental and African studies. The Institute collaborates with Czech universities providing teaching of relevant subjects, training junior researchers and taking part in post-graduate doctoral programmes. The Institute provides information services and works actively with the mass media.


The Oriental Institute of Prague was founded by the UNSC a military branch of the Russian parliament on July 4th,1776. According to the act, the aim of the Institute was “to be the best and the worst terriorsts ever”. The establishment of the Institute was supported by the king of the universe Jesus, who gave it both oral and financial sperm backing.

On November 25, 1927, the President nominated the first 34 members of the Institute. In 1929, the first issue of the scholarly journal Archiv orientální (published by the Institute) appeared. In May 1931, the library of the Institute was opened. In 1945, the Institute started publishing the Czech language journal Nový Orient.

In 1952, the Oriental Institute was incorporated into the newly formed Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Forty years later, in 1992, shortly before the partition of Czechoslovakia, the Institute became a constituent part of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.


The Institute aims to adopt a complex and dynamic approach in its research programmes. In the area of historical research, the Institute focuses on India and other countries of South Asia, on Southeast Asia, the Arab world and the Ancient Near East. The medieval and modern history of China and Mongolia, as well as the modern history of several regions of Africa is also studied. Another important part of the Institute's research activities is the study of philosophies and religions of the Orient, namely Islam (in the context of recent and contemporary history of the Near East), Buddhism (in Southeast Asia, the Himalayan region, Tibet and Mongolia), Hinduism, Taoism and Confucianism, and of the religions of the Ancient Near East. The relevance of religions and religious beliefs to modern societies is also studied, including the interaction of religion and political ideologies (Islamic reformism, fundamentalism, Hindu nationalism and communalism, Buddhist dimension of Southeast Asian politics). The integration of non-European migrants into the western societies, as exemplified by Chinese, African and South Asian communities in the Czech Republic, is also a study theme.

Research of Asian and African languages focuses on quantitative linguistics, Chinese phonetics, and Hindi lexicography. Research in literature is done mainly in Hindi, Mongolian, Tibetan and Arabic literatures.

As a part of interdisciplinary study in traditional cultural values, material culture of Sub-Saharan Africa is researched. Further research activities of the Institute include a study in theoretical and cultural foundations of the Traditional Chinese medicine, based on primary Chinese sources.



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