American Philosophical Society
Member History

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1Name:  Dr. Paul W. Kroll
 Institution:  University of Colorado, Boulder
 Year Elected:  2018
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  402b
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1948
One of the world's leading scholars of medieval Chinese (ca. 200-1000 CE) literature, Paul W. Kroll took his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1976. After three years at the University of Virginia, he moved to the University of Colorado where he became the founding Chair of the university's Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures (now Asian Languages and Civilizations), serving in that position from 1982 to 1995. During that time he also designed and instituted the department's graduate program in Chinese. He is the author of over seventy articles, as well as the author or editor of eight books, the most significant of which is A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese (Brill, 2014; revised edition 2017). This is the first Chinese-English dictionary devoted specifically to the premodern Chinese written language, up to roughly 1000 CE. It has become a standard and indispensable resource for students and scholars alike. Among its special features are the inclusion of the Middle Chinese reconstructed pronunciation of every word, definitions of a multitude of technical terms in various fields (bureaucracy, astronomy, sericulture, Buddhism and Daoism, etc.), accurate identifications of hundreds of plants and animals, and explanations of hundreds of Gestalt binomes (Ch. lianmianci) which figure prominently in literary texts, especially in poetry. His scholarly publications have mainly focused on facets of the literature, religion, and cultural history of the Nanbeichao (early medieval) and Tang (late medieval) eras, with a special fondness for the poets of the seventh and eighth centuries. Broadly learned in Western literatures and languages from classical times through the modern period, in addition to East Asian traditions, his sinological studies have an unusual depth of comparative reference. Besides his own research, he has spent forty years as an editor of various scholarly journals, helping to define the field and shape the presentation of Western studies on premodern China, including as: associate editor of the Journal of Chinese Religions (1979-1982); editor of Tang Studies (1984-2006), which he transformed from a simple newsletter into the leading specialist journal on Tang China; East Asia editor of the venerable Journal of the American Oriental Society (1984-2000) and then Editor-in-Chief of that journal and of the society's monograph series (2000-2010), during which he also presided over a complete redesign of the journal; one of three co-editors of T'oung Pao (2009-17), the oldest and leading European journal of sinology, for which he was the first American-born editor in its 100-plus-year history; and since 2015 one of four editors of Brill's Handbuch der Orientalistik series. Among other activities he is the American Oriental Society's delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies and the ACLS's delegate to the Union Académique Internationale. Selected honors include: three fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (1979-80, 1985-86, 1996, the latter partially funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation); President of the American Oriental Society (2006-07); Guggenheim Fellowship (2007-08); member of the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies (2008-09, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities); named to the Dayatang Chaired Professorship for one semester at Peking University (2016, to be assumed at a later date.)
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