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Jubilee of Prof Dr I.Popova Print E-mail

On September 28, 2011, the Director of the IOM RAS, Prof Dr Irina F. Popova celebrated her Jubilee.

In 1978, she was admitted to Leningrad State University, the Faculty of Oriental Studies, the section of the history of China. In November of 1983, she started her doctoral studies at the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. Her PhD dissertation, The Treatise “Models for the Emperor” (“Difan”) as a Source on the History of Political Thought of China from Early 7th Century [Сочинение „Правила императоров“ („Дифань“) как источник по истории политической мысли Китая начала VII века], supervised by Dr A.S. Martynov, the great expert in Confucianism in our country, was defended on July 1, 1988. A year later she joined the staff of the Institute as a junior researcher first. In her PhD dissertation she analyzed the political testament of the Emperor Taizong of Tang treated as the ideal ruler by the Chinese historical tradition. Various aspects of Tazong’s reforms are scrutinized at her later monograph, Political Practice and Ideology of Early T'ang China [Политическая практика и идеология раннетанского Китая] (Moscow 1999), and her Habilitation dissertation, The Theory of the State Rulership in the Early T'ang China [Теория государственного управления раннетанского Китая], defended at the St Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, on October 30, 2000.

From mid-90s, apart from her scholarly interests Dr I. Popova started a successful administrative career. For about ten years, from September 20, 1994, up to January 13, 2004, she was the academic secretary at the Dissertation Council of the St Petersburg Institute of Oriental Studies, and for more than six years, from January 8, 1997, up to April 9, 2003, was the academic secretary of the Branch. In March of 2003, Dr I. Popova stood for the post of Director with the program aimed at the preservation and development of traditions of classical Oriental studies which had been threatened with commercialization of academic studies and shallow journalistic approach to fundamental studies. On April 9, 2003, she was elected as the Director of the Branch and started to fulfill her program. She managed to avoid the temptation of indiscriminate criticism of her predecessors’ deeds but made some necessary correction of their mistakes so the quality of the Institute’s work was dramatically increased. All colleagues who worked under Dr Popova’s administration during these years know that the needs and troubles of the unique academic body, from working out of research strategies to merely economic issues, are always in the first place for her. This attitude has resulted in a number of recent achievements. The Department of Documents and Manuscripts headed by her has turned into the dynamic group mostly consisting of young scholars who get unique experience via processing of mss. She initiated the edition of documents from the Archives of the Orientalists. The number of doctoral students that was close to zero in 1990s is increasing so we can expect a new generation of Orientalists to come. Annually numerous conferences, symposia, other academic events, including international ones, are held. The Institute founded its own journal, The Written Monuments of the Orient (Письменные памятники Востока) issued twice a year. The museum of the history of Oriental Studies, first in Russia, was inaugurated, in 2010. A considerable part of the rooms held by the Institute were renovated. And, finally, the most important thing - mostly thanks to insistence of Dr I. Popova the St Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies was reorganized into the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts by the order of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, on June 19, 2007. It removed many administrative hinders and gave a lot of new perspectives of academic development. In recognition of merits of Dr Irina Popova she was elected as the Director of the IOM RAS by the overwhelming majority of the votes in May of 2009.

Although being extremely busy with current administrative work, Dr I. Popova carries on her Sinological studies. After the death of Prof Dr Lev N. Menshikov she continued the project of the study of the Dunhuang collection kept at the IOM RAS. Every year, she takes part in several international conferences. Among her recent publications the bilingual collection of papers Russian Expeditions to Central Asia at the Turn of the 20th Century [Российские экспедиции в Центральную Азию в конце XIX — начале XX века], edited by her, should be named first. This book was the contribution to the memory of Russian travelers who enriched the Institute’s collection with unique documents. The album Beijing During the Qing Dynasty: Pictures of Folklife (min-su hua) [Цинский Пекин. Картины народной жизни (миньсухуа)] (St Petersburg 2009) with her introduction, translations and notes opened the new series Untraditional Sources on the History of China [Нетрадиционные источники по истории Китая династии Цин (1644-1911)].

Prof Dr I. Popova took long academic training courses in Taiwan and the USA, she mastered both Old Chinese, wen yan, and Modern Spoken Chinese. She is a professor at St Petersburg State University, where she gives classes for the MA students aimed at the reading of old Chinese texts.

The staff of the IOM RAS sincerely congratulates Irina F. Popova with her Golden Jubilee and wishes her academic longevity, success and florescence of the Institute headed by her.

On September 28, 2011, at the House of Scholars in St Petersburg the celebration of the Jubilee of Prof Dr Irina F. Popova took place.


Prof Dr I. Popova with flowers

The Deputy Director of the IOM RAS, Dr S.M. Prozorov delivers congratulations on behalf of the staff of the IOM RAS

The Chief Academic Secretary of the St Petersburg Scientific Center, Dr E.A. Tropp delivers his speech

Guests at the House of Scholars

Photos by S.L. Shevelchinskaya

Last Updated ( 10/01/2012 )
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