French sinology development (13‒21 centuries): historical aspect
French sinology takes a special place in the history of the sinological studies development. It was France that became the first country where the transformation of missionary sinology, which was common among a limited circle of researchers (mainly in a religious sphere), into the academic scientific discipline, which had already been taught and studied at a professional level in academic institutions, occurred. The Parisian type of sinology used to dominate the entire world for a long time, including such powerful centers of Chinese studies as Germany, Great Britain, the USA, and China itself. The conducted historiographical analysis of the topic allows pointing out the insufficient coverage by the local researchers of the evolution of French sinology historical development as a whole process that had lasted for almost 800 years. This fact prompted the authors to reveal the mentioned topic. The purpose of the article is to investigate the historical development of French sinology during the 13th–21st centuries. In the course of the work, both general scientific methods and special ones were used, among which the priority was given to historical, chronological and problem-thematic methods. The analytical method and methods of grouping and typology were also applied, that made it possible to present the material in a logically complete manner. In order to form a complete picture of sinology development in France, the authors singled out and analyzed three historical periods covering the entire history of Chinese studies development, starting from its birth and flourishment to the process of stagnation. Thus, within the time limits of the first period, the process a peculiar scientific base of knowledge about China accumulating, as well as the development of missionary sinology, was investigated, and it was proved that it became a kind of bridge between the protosinological stage and academic sinology, which secularized the achievements of its predecessors in the 19th century and turned into a scientific academic discipline. Within the time limits of the second period, the scientific achievements of a whole galaxy of French scholars were analyzed, namely, Edouard Chavannes, Marcel Granet, Henri Paul Gaston Maspero, and others, and it was concluded that the Sinological school in France was at the peak of its development, and the views of its representatives gained priority among sinologists all over the world. Regarding the third period, the authors express the opinion that modern French sinology has lost its leading position in the scientific world, and the search for the latest methodological approaches and methods (primarily multidisciplinary with the use of digital technologies) is primarily an attempt to achieve parity with the leading centers of Chinese studies. Factual research material can be used for further study of the history of sinology development, as well as for writing generalising papers on Chinese studies, reading lecture courses, special courses and special seminars.
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