History of the Department

The historical roots of Sinology in Olomouc can be traced back to the Moravian Jesuit and Czech missionary at the Chinese Court Karel Slavíčka (1678 – 1735), and it is he who is considered to be the first Czech Sinologist.  He was primarily interested in the fields of Mathematics, Astronomy and Music, and his expertise was also demonstrated by his activity at the University of Olomouc, where he taught Mathematics, Hebrew and later in 1713 when he became professor of Mathematics.

Soon after the end of the Second World War and the subsequent re-opening of tertiary institutions, Sinology was for the first time established as an independent field of study at the University.  In 1946 both Sinology and Indology first began to be taught at the Philosophical Faculty (Faculty of Arts), Palacký University in Olomouc.  The impetus for the establishment of these new fields stemmed partly from the interests of Josef Ludvík Fischer in Oriental studies and partly from the desire to establish connections with Asian countries, which in the context of the contemporary international political climate was deemed to be considerably advantageous.  However, the Oriental fields of study really started to blossom thanks to two external lecturers from Prague.  These were professor of Indology Vincenc Lesný (who became the Dean of the PhF UP) and Professor of Sinology Jaroslav Prušek (who lead the field).  Jaroslav Prušek also brought with him his student Augustin Palát, with whom he conducted Sinology lectures and seminars in Olomouc.  However, at the beginning of the 50’s both lecturers were subsequently forced to relocate back to Prague after careless reorganization by the then leadership of the University.

In 1991, through the initiatives of Professor Josef Jařab, the former Rector of UP, preparations for the re-establishment of the field of Chinese Philology began.  This was actualized by the head of the Department of Romance Languages, Professor PhDr. Jiři Černý, CSc., who in the September of 1993 established the field as part of the newly created Office of the Far East, at the Department of Romance Languages.  In October 1994 Mgr. David Uher started working at the field of Chinese Philology, and later in 2002 successfully completed his doctorate at the Nanking University thus earning his PhD.   In the spring of 1998 PhDr. Oldřich Švarný, CSc. was named associate professor at the PhF UP, and two years later became a full professor. Also, in 1993 the field of Japanese Philology was established.  From June 2001 the head of the Japanese division has been Mgr. Ivona Barešová, Ph.D.

In 2002 the Office of the Far East became known as the Department of Asian Studies (DAS) headed by Dr. David Uher.

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