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is an American scholar of ancient China. She is presently a Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, and of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...
; formerly she taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies
The School of Oriental and African Studies is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the University of London...
at London University. She is best known for her work on the mythological
Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition. These include creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state...
and philosophical systems of the early Chinese civilization.
In her work, Allan has presented an attempt to reconstruct the basic concepts of the mythology of China's Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...
based on evidence from a number of sources: Shang's own inscriptions (primarily on oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...
s, as well as on occasional bronze utensils); myths and stories recorded during the Zhou
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...
Dynasties that followed the Shang, which appear to be derived from Shang sources; as well as archaeological data.
Books by Sarah Allan