Message From The Dean

Established in 2012, the School of Social Sciences of Tsinghua University has had a splendid history and profound influence. In the early days of Tsinghua University, social science disciplines were already well-established, hosting a multitude of renowned faculty and talented students who have made extensive contributions to China’s social progress and development. The study of social sciences at Tsinghua saw outstanding improvement through the early 1990s, continuing its strong social science tradition that began in the 1920s and making Tsinghua the key, dynamic academic center in China it is today.

In the pursuit of exploring modern social science theories and methods, my colleagues at the School of Social Sciences of Tsinghua University adhere to the university’s academic tradition by integrating the ancient with the modern and combine arts and science to tear down antiquated disciplinary boundaries. They have always proudly upheld the banner of Tsinghua’s social sciences and actively seek empirical, scientific solutions to the issues of human society. What sort of pursuit has been able to connect such seemingly distinct disciplines as sociology, economics, psychology, politics, science of international relations, and philosophy of science and technology? The answer is simple: scientific development and responsibility for social sciences to realize the Chinese Dream?—a prosperous, revitalized, and happy China.

What is social science? It is a field of study that examines human activities using objective, scientific methods. Society is made up of people, so the nature of people is central to societal concerns. Human thoughts and activities, such as demands, values, faith, judgment, decision making, cooperation, conflict, and playing games, make life rich yet complicated. Therefore, the scientific analysis provides us with a way to understand our social lives rationally, and leaves us with useful guidance and advice; these are the fundamental reasons for the rise of the social sciences.

Before the 18th century, human perception of society lingered at a superstitious, instinctive level guided only by hearsay or religion. However, the progress of modern science has enabled great thinkers to use methods of reason, observation, comparison, control, and experimentation to study the social issues faced by mankind. The 18th century marks the first time the concept of“social science” appeared in mankind’s knowledge base.

Moreover, bold changes in modern Chinese society have posed numerous urgent questions for Chinese social science scholars to answer. How should we govern our society? How do we promote innovation? What is the nature of the commonly shared national consciousness of the Chinese people? What is Chinese culture transmitting to future generations? In addition, other seemingly superficial yet surprisingly challenging questions bear answering, such as“are you happy”? Questions like these necessitate input from the social sciences. This is a historical responsibility placed upon the School of Social Sciences of Tsinghua University by the people of China, and we have the confidence to bear this responsibility and live up to people’s expectations.

With devotion in our hearts and scientific spirit in mind, the School of Social Sciences of Tsinghua University looks forward to your understanding, care, and support!

Prof. Peng Kaiping, Dean of School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University