History and Purpose of the American Oriental Society
The American Oriental Society is the oldest learned society in the United States devoted to a particular field of scholarship. The Society was founded in 1842, preceded only by such distinguished organizations of general scope as the American Philosophical Society (1743), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), and the American Antiquarian Society (1812). From the beginning its aims have been humanistic. The encouragement of basic research in the languages and literatures of Asia has always been central in its tradition. This tradition has come to include such subjects as philology, literary criticism, textual criticism, paleography, epigraphy, linguistics, biography, archaeology, and the history of the intellectual and imaginative aspects of Oriental civilizations, especially of philosophy, religion, folklore and art. The scope of the Society's purpose is not limited by temporal boundaries: All sincere students of man and his works in Asia, at whatever period of history are welcomed to membership.
The Western Branch was deeply saddened to report the
passing away of Daniel Bryant, former president of the Western
Branch (2013-2014). Please see the announcement
by Richard King and Lin Tsung-Cheng. To honor Daniel's
enthusiastic, life-long commitment to the mission and activities
of the Western Branch, the American Oriental Society has created
the Daniel Bryant Memorial
Fellowship Fund to help support participation in the annual
meetings of the Western Branch. To make a tax-deductible
donation to this fund, please contact the Secretary-Treasurer, Timothy Davis.
1. A Brief Description of the Western Branch
The Western Branch of the AOS was founded in 1951,
and its annual meetings have become an important forum for
scholars of pre-modern Asia. While in recent years papers
presented at the annual meetings have largely centered on China,
they have not been exclusively so. The Western Branch actively
encourages scholars with a wide range of regional specialties as
well as comparative interests to participate.
2. Officers of the Western Branch
3. Meetings of the Western Branch
Most recently updated: 07/01/2022