HF 4

Professor YE Lang is the Boya (Liberal Arts) Chair Professor at Peking University. After graduating from the Department of Philosophy at Peking University in 1960, he began teaching at his alma mater, and was promoted to professor in 1986. In 1990, Professor Ye was nominated as one of China’s young and middle-aged experts who have made outstanding contributions. He became a Doctoral supervisor in 1993, and Senior Professor of Philosophy and Social Science at Peking University in 2005. He was a standing committee member of the 9th and 10th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the coordinator of the 5th State Council evaluation team for philosophy subjects, the chair committee member of Ministry of Education’s second higher education institutions committee for the direction of teaching philosophy subjects, and the chair committee member of the MOE’s fifth and sixth committees on arts education.

Perhaps we can describe Professor Ye’s 60 years at Peking University through three concentric circles.

The first concentric circle is Professor Ye’s research on aesthetics, art studies, and humanity, as well as his teaching in these fields. Since the 1980s, Professor Ye has offered many courses on aesthetics to students at Peking University. All of his courses were very popular. Consequently, he won first prize for “National Teaching Achievements” in 2001. Additionally, Professor Ye has published many books, including The Aesthetics of Chinese Novel, The Outline of the History of Chinese Aesthetics, and Aesthetics in Images, which are very influential in the field of aesthetic research. The Series of Aesthetics in Dynasties of China, edited by Professor Ye, is a large thinking bank and database of the theories of aesthetic and art in traditional China. In sum, Professor Ye has made outstanding contributions to the theoretical construction of aesthetic and art studies, and has provided a solid theoretical standpoint for later generations.

The second concentric circle is Professor Ye’s promotion of the construction and development of philosophy, humanity, arts and other related subjects at Peking University. Professor Ye had been, both synchronically and diachronically, the chair of the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Religions, and the Department of Arts at the same time, for 18 years, devoting himself wholeheartedly to the establishment of related disciplines and faculty teams at Peking University. In 2006, Professor Ye founded the School of Arts at Peking University, and acted as Dean of the School of Arts. It has a far-reaching influence for the arts education and the discipline development of art studies at Peking University. At the same time, Professor Ye also took charge of the establishment of the Research Center for Aesthetics and Aesthetical Education at Peking University and the Institute of Culture Industry at Peking University, as well as contributing heavily to the discipline development and faculty team of aesthetics, and the research on the theories and policies of the culture industry.

The third concentric circle is that Professor Ye has promoted society to pay attention to the education of aesthetics and arts, as well as the education of humanity and the development of humanity disciplines. The education of humanity and the development of humanity disciplines depend on society’s attention, not merely one university’s effort. Not only has Professor Ye, with colleagues in education circles, successfully helped the education of aesthetics officially become one of the national education policies, but also with cultural people, prompted the government to issue a series of plans to bolster Kun Opera. In 2005, Professor Ye and Mr Pai Hsien-yung worked together to perform a version of Kun Opera’s “Peony Pavilion” in the Peking University Centennial Hall, which was the beginning of the road show of “Peony Pavilion” at universities in China. Furthermore, in the CPPCC, Professor Ye has repeatedly called for society’s attention to the education of humanity and arts and research on traditional Chinese arts. He designed and produced a series of online courses on “Arts and Aesthetic Appreciation” for college students in China, and also wrote and published The Reader of Chinese Culture, which targets young people in China and has been translated into eight languages globally. Professor Ye never stops promoting traditional Chinese culture and Chinese spirits.

The three concentric circles above share the same centre, which is to inherit and promote the great tradition of Peking University, emphasise the discipline development of aesthetics and art studies, and pay attention to the development of education of aesthetics, arts and humanity in both university and society. These three circles also constitute Professor Ye’s shining and prestigious academic life of 60 years. They encourage later generations to keep moving forward, to continuously improve their own spiritual world, and to pursue a life with more meaning, value and fascination.

Mr Chairman, for Professor Ye’s outstanding achievements in academia and the fields of culture and arts, and great contributions to society and the country, it is my privilege to present him to you for the award of an Honorary Fellowship.