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First Master's Program of Intangible Cultural Heritage Science in China

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On October 26, 2021, the Academic Degree Commission of the State Council announced that the first interdisciplinary master's degree of intangible cultural heritage science settled in Tianjin University (TJU). The formal establishment of this discipline marks a milestone in the development of the cultivation of intangible cultural heritage talents of our nation.

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The protection of intangible cultural heritage is one of the top priorities for the government and higher education. On September 22, 2020, in the experts symposium in the field of education, culture, health and sports presided by president Xi, Feng Jicai , dean of Feng Jicai Institute of Literature and Art of Tianjin University, delivered a special report under the topic of “Establishing a scientific system of national intangible cultural heritage protection” , illustrated his viewpoint that “it is fundamental for us to protect them scientifically and it is critical to cultivate talents ”, and offered a proposal of developing intangible cultural heritage science as an independent discipline, which has been highly valued in the meeting. In March 2021, the Ministry of Education listed the protection of intangible cultural heritage as a new major in the undergraduate major catalogue; in April, the office of the Academic Degree Commission issuedthe notice on promoting the pilot work of talent training; in August, it is officially proposed that "We should strengthen the construction of the intangible cultural heritage discipline in colleges and universities, and help them independently set up master's and doctoral programs." , according to theOpinions about Advancing the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Moreover, Tianjin University attaches great importance to the discipline construction of intangible cultural heritage. Therefore, officials and administrators have communicated with Professor Feng for many times to discuss the disciplinary construction agenda and provide strong support. Under strong support of relevant departments, Feng Jicai Institute of Literature and Art took the lead in launching the application for this degree. Theisdegree application program is conducted through the form of independent review, after fully considering the characteristics of multi-disciplinary integration and intersection of intangible cultural heritage science and the particularity of the research object. At present, Tianjin University has assembledset upan expert committee and drafted a postgraduate training plan, while the compilation work of a series of textbooks is also on the way.

Intangible cultural heritage science is a branch of cultural heritage research, and the research objects and content include its history, customs, aesthetic methods, value systems, inheritors, and scientific protection, inheritance and development. It is an interdisciplinary subject of humanities, social science and natural science. This discipline is dedicated to cultivating high-level professional talents who are equipped with good political quality and professional ethics, the idea of creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese traditional culture, a good grasp of the basic theories and methods of cultural heritage, relevant knowledge and skills in sociology, history, and archaeology, and can be qualified for the investigation and identification, inheritance and protection, promotion, transformation and utilization of intangible cultural heritage.

Feng Jicai Institute of Literature and Art, Tianjin University is one of the earliest institutes engaged in the discipline construction of intangible cultural heritage in China. As dean of the institute, Professor Feng has always paid much attention to the inheritance and development of cultural heritage. Over the past 20 years, Professor Feng and his academic team have devoted themselves to the survey, collation, academic research and scientific protection of cultural heritage, cultivated a group of professionals who are urgently needed in China, and achieved numerous academic research results. Also, Professor Feng has led his team to complete the National Social Science Foundation's major project "Database Construction of Chinese Woodblock New Year Pictures and Re-study of Oral History Methodology". In the meanwhile, three cultural heritage research institutions, China Woodblock New Year Pictures Research Center, China Traditional Village Protection and Development Research Center and China Inheritor Oral History Research Institute have been successively established, providing academic guarantee and scientific support for the confirmation, protection, research and inheritance of China's intangible cultural heritage.

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By: Liu Shuying

Edited by He Chenlin &Qin Mian & Yang Fan