Mapping and Taking Academic Turns in Collection History Studies: Reflections on the Issues of the Journal of the History of Collections


Research methodology for collection history studies
Collectors’ social identities
Motive for collecting
Collection category




This paper translates and collates the contents of all the issues published by the Journal of the History of Collections, one of Oxford University Press Academic Journals, since its inception in 1989. It presents a detailed analysis of changes of article topics or themes in the Journal, based on which this paper demonstrates that the focus of research in this field has undergone three shifts on a decennial basis. By examining collectors’ social identities, motives for collecting, and changes in collection categories, this paper provides important insights into a theoretical framework that sustains the scholarship. It also provides a preliminary overview of current studies on the history of collections in both Chinese and Western academia. This paper seeks to provide some guidance for future explorations of the scholarship.


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The Committee of the Chinese Collectors Convention, 2009, Mingjia Tan Shoucang: Wenhua Pian [Master Talks on Collections: Culture]. Vol. 1, 2. Uttar Pradesh: Orient Publishing Center.

Haskell F, 1980, Patrons and Painters: A Study in the Relations between Italian Art and Society in the Age of the Baroque. Connecticut: Yale University Press.

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